Northern Ireland

Libeskind to judge redesign of former PSNI site

Daniel Libeskind
Image caption Daniel Libeskind will preside over the judging panel for the design competition

The architect behind the reconstruction of New York's World Trade Centre site is to judge a design competition aimed at revitalising an area of west Belfast once occupied by a police station.

Social Development minister Alex Attwood launched the project to transform the former Andersonstown PSNI base on Wednesday.

Daniel Libeskind will be in charge of the judging panel for the competition.

It is being run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) on behalf of the Department for Social Development (DSD).

Earlier this year, a design brief was drawn up for a building on the site that could facilitate "regeneration, arts and cultural activity".

Mr Attwood said west Belfast needed a landmark building and "this could be the opportunity".

"I gave a commitment in August this year that I would champion this project during my time as Minister for Social Development, and the competition that begins today is a key milestone," he said.

"I am confident that the competition will stimulate the thinking of the world's most creative architects and produce some striking and practical designs.

"At the same time, the local community must be at the heart of the process."

Expressions of interest are being sought for the competition and these will be shortlisted by a panel of judges in the new year.

The shortlist of five design teams will then be asked to produce detailed proposals over a five month period, with the leading design selected in the summer of 2011.

The closure of Andersonstown PSNI station was endorsed by the Policing Board in December 2004 and the building was subsequently demolished.

In May 1983, a 1,000lb IRA car bomb exploded causing an estimated £1m of damage at the station.

In 2001, an 11-week-old girl was injured after the car she was travelling in was hit by shrapnel during an attack on the station by the dissident republican Real IRA.