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Journals - May 5, 2022
RMI are delighted to announce that our project, The Kelvin, is a finalist for two prestigious awards, the RICS UK Awards 2022 and the Irish based Building and Architect of the Year Award 2022.
‘The Kelvin’ in Belfast City Centre involved the internal re-organisation of Stokes House, a six-storey building in Belfast City centre to create 36,000ft2 of modern Grade A office accommodation. It also involved major external remodelling to replace the red brick façade with a softer ‘stock’ brick to be more sympathetic with the adjacent listed Assembly Buildings.
Designed by Barrie Todd, founder of Todd Architects and built at the height of the troubles in the early 1980’s, Stokes House was a formidable reinforced concrete structure with horizontal strip windows and a projecting four-storey corner with high level slot windows. The building was fortified in character and spoke a lot about Belfast in the 1980’s and the regular occurrence of bombs going off in the city centre. However, as an office environment in 2019 the building was vacant and no longer met the needs of modern office tenants.
The corner location on College Square East and Wellington Street presented RMI with an opportunity to design something special and offer attractive interior spaces with long views towards Great Victoria Street. The conversion works involved upgrading the building envelope and improvements to bring it up to modern office standards for thermal performance, comfort, light and services. The most significant design moves were the replacement of the original brickwork to something more sensitive and complementary to the adjacent listed building and the opening-up of the corner to create a visual marker in the streetscape and provide meeting rooms with fantastic views out to the city.
A ‘bonus’ mezzanine floor was also created when early-stage opening-up works revealed a high lofted roof on the 5th floor. Although the existing structural grid did not align with the proposed mezzanine we devised, with the structural engineer, an innovative solution to hang the floor from the steel roof structure with discreet steel sections and create a new ‘floating’ mezzanine.
The refurbishment was a successful collaboration of design team and contractor and provides prime Grade A office accommodation in a thriving city centre location. Congratulations to the Client, J&E Properties, contracting team MSM contracts and to our design team colleagues.
We look forward to the announcement of the winning projects in May & June 2022.