Ulsterbus Ltd (now Translink)
Robinson McIlwaine were appointed to prepare designs for a new main central bus station in Belfast to be fitted out in the lower floor of a multi-storey car park in Central Belfast which had been completed sometime earlier. The brief required considerable research at the time on comparative models in the UK and Europe, as the Client had not previously carried out a project of this or nature previously. The brief also required consideration to be given significant technical difficulties with main underground culverts through the new building and also the incorporation of independent structure within the existing main car park structure.
The proposed design solution was a contemporary aesthetic through a two storey volume interior with isolated mezzanine flooring to create a sense of space and place and provide a full range of contemporary passenger facilities including travel centre, ticket facilities, cafe, shop, passenger information systems, toilet facilities, disabled and mothers facilities, seating as well as a major public piece of sculpture at the interior's junction with the adjoining Great Northern Retail Mall, 'The Waterfall of Souvenirs’ by Belfast Artist, John Kindness. The design had to deal with a major change in interior floor levels between the existing mall and street level with the inclusion of ramps to create a level access passenger facility and a completely enclosed and independent travel centre facility.
The contract was negotiated with McLaughlin and Harvey on behalf of Ulsterbus Ltd who carried out a substantial amount of the company’s previous work historically. The station was completed on time and to budget and included a main bus forecourt with 20 bus stands and a separate parcels building facility operation.
The project was awarded a RIBA Award, a RIAI Award and a RSUA Design Award in 1991 and at the time was considered one of the most successfully designed and completed bus stations in the UK.