Northern Ireland

This website contains profiles of Modernist buildings in Britain. Each profile contains a description and history of the building, photographs and a location information. The following list of sites are Modernist buildings are Northern Ireland. Click the building name or the "read more" link to view the building profile.

Bank of Ireland Building, Belfast

Bank Of Ireland Building

92-94 Royal Avenue, Belfast, County Antrim, BT1 1DL

Standing on the corner of Royal Parade and North Street in the centre of Belfast (less than half a mile north of Donegall Square and the City Hall) the former Bank of Ireland Building is one of the finest Modernist buildings in Ireland. The building was constructed during 1929 and 1930 to designs by Joseph Vincent Downes. Born in 1891, Downes studied architecture at University College Dublin before graduating in 1920. During his studies Downes worked an apprenticeship at the architectural practice of Lucius O'Callaghan (1877 - 1954) and James Henry Webb (1873 - 1955). After graduation Downes initially worked in London for Sir Herbert Baker (1862 - 1946) before moving to work for the practice of Robert Atkinson (1883 - 1952). Notably, Atkinson worked on the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, which was rebuilt between 1925 and 1927 following damage sustained during the Irish Civil War. In 1928 Downes joined the practice of McDonnell and Dixon (Laurence Aloysius McDonnell, d 1925; William Albert Dixon, 1892 - 1970), for whom he designed the Bank of Ireland Building. He set up his own practice in 1935, subsequently expanding the partnership. In 1943 Downes became Professor of Architecture at University College Dublin, before returning to practice in 1950. He died at the age of 76 on 23 November 1967. Built of Portland Limestone, the Bank of Ireland Building occupies a corner plot and is five storeys tall, with a shallow ground floor storey beneath a piano nobile (main) first floor. The building comprises three bays along... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Commercial

Sinclair's Department Store, Belfast

Sinclairs Department Store

89-101 Royal Avenue, Belfast, County Antrim, BT1 1FE

Standing on the corner of Royal Parade and North Street in the centre of Belfast (less than half a mile north of Donegall Square and the City Hall) the former Sinclair's Department Store is a fine example of Modernist architecture in Ireland, in the Art Deco style. Sinclair's was once one of Belfast's most prestigious department stores. The store on Royal Avenue as seen today was built in 1926 in the classical style. By 1935, Sinclair's was extended with an Art Deco-style addition by Belfast-born architect James Scott, who had previously designed the 1926 building. At its height the store had premises had on North Street, Lower Garfield Street and Royal Avenue. The three streets form a triangle with Royal Avenue to the west, North Street to the east, Lower Garfield Street to the south and with the 1935 addition to the north, at the 'point' of the triangle. According to the Irish Architectural Archive James Scott was born in 1875/76 and died in 1949/50. He designed a number of building in Belfast, but the Sinclair's Department Store commissions were arguably his most significant works. For the 1935 addition to the department store, Scott used a corner site on Royal Avenue and North Street, opposite the Art Deco-style Bank of Ireland building. By occupying a corner site, Scott was able to produce a dramatic, expansive scheme, with facades on North Street and Royal Avenue, and the main facade on the corner of North Street and Royal Avenue. The building extends over five storeys,... Read more »
Tags: Art Deco, Commercial

A celebration of Modernist architecture in Britain