The charity that preserves and promotes Belfast's authentic maritime heritage, Maritime Belfast Trust, has announced that it has been given the green light to develop a new outdoor interactive visitor experience called SoundYard on Belfast's Maritime Mile.
According to Maritime Belfast Trust, SoundYard will be a free experience that will bring part of Belfast's maritime heritage story to life through sound and help to teach people about the significance of shipyards to Belfast when it opens to the public later this year.
The all-weather structure will be located on the waterside next to Belfast's Odyssey Complex and Abercorn Marina, on a site that was once the location of a brass foundry and Kelly's Coal Yards.
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SoundYard's design and sound were inspired by the noise of striking metal emanating from Belfast's old shipyards.
The structure's design was the winning submission of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects Early Career CityPlay Design Competition in 2019. The individuals behind the submission were Hannah Wilson, Matthew Kernan and Eunan Deeney, who were inspired by the noise of striking metal from the old shipyard works as well as the sounds from repurposed metal pipework.
In response to ongoing COVID-19 guidelines, the installation will be activated by motion sensors in order to avoid people touching its apparatus.
The project has been funded by Tourism NI, Maritime Belfast Trust, JP Corry and Belfast Harbour, with collaborative partnerships with the Royal Society of Ulster Architects, Todd Architects and Odyssey Trust.
Maritime Belfast Trust chief executive Kerrie Sweeney stated, "We are delighted to have this opportunity to team up with young architects, stakeholders and former shipyard employees to develop this amazing project. The SoundYard project aims to create a new bespoke play experience along the Maritime Mile and will also attract local communities and reconnect them with the city's iconic waterfront, especially during these difficult times. The SoundYard initiative would not have been possible without investment from Tourism NI, JP Corry and Belfast Harbour, along with in-kind support from the Odyssey Trust. This project is important to our charity, as we aim to deliver, promote and protect Belfast's magnificent maritime heritage, especially within the city's COVID-19 recovery plans, and ensure that Belfast's historic waterfront plays an integral part of the Belfast experience - a destination that is alive with people and where businesses thrive. It brings the heritage and story of the former shipyard into the heart of Belfast, a community that has contributed so much to our maritime economy past and present."
"Another Exciting Addition To The Visitor Experience"
Tourism NI director of product development Rosemarie McHugh said, "This project by the Maritime Belfast Trust is another exciting addition to the visitor experience along Belfast's Maritime Mile and will bring the story of Belfast and the shipyards to life in an enjoyable way for visitors and locals alike. This innovative new experience is part funded by Tourism NI alongside over 45 other development projects across Northern Ireland, which will be important in supporting tourism recovery from the impact of COVID 19."
"A Tremendous Achievement"
Meanwhile, JP Corry product sales manager Ronnie West commented, "It has been a pleasure for JP Corry to work with the RSUA to support innovation and design in the NI construction sector. The SoundYard has been a tremendous achievement by Hannah, Matthew and Eunan, against stiff competition, to design and bring to life such a fitting and tributary concept, wonderfully situated in the historic Titanic Quarter. It is sure to be enjoyed by many for years to come."
"A Key Element"
Belfast Harbour chief executive Joe O'Neill added, "Creating an iconic waterfront for the city and vibrant inner harbour is one of Belfast Harbour's key strategic goals. Our partnership with Maritime Belfast Trust plays a vital role in helping us to deliver this ambition, and the SoundYard project is an element in a wide range of activities supporting the delivery of this goal and creating an area in which people want to work, live, invest and relax. Our vision for development of the Maritime Mile, a walking trail which connects landmarks on both sides of our waterfront, is already attracting new visitors, and we hope it will be a key element in the building back of our tourism and leisure sectors."
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