Peace Spine: Unifying Walls within Belfast

Master Thesis by: Tara Abedini Tafreshi / Thesis Advisor: Mark Mueckenheim

A contested boundary in Belfast, Ireland, becomes a new kind of public space in this careful and conscientious thesis project. All along the boundary spine, five programs knit communities together with overlapping and visible activities, common grounds, and a quasi-labyrinth of spaces that invite a lessening of intensity. Nearly familiar form-making, holistic in plan, but sheared in section create a contemporary update to Roman Classicism. A bold formal experiment of spaces and voids is gently humanized in elevations and perspectives, allowing viewers to glimpse a non-violent, and uniquely architectural, future of repair.

There are always two sides to a wall. In this case, Loyalists (Protestants) and Nationalists (Catholics). The public spine is a third entity which absorbs both sides. In this third entity, everyone is treated the same regardless of their beliefs. The inserted public programs will provide for the needs of the city and host public activities. The Market area answers to the everyday needs of the residents and provides an exchange of goods from both sides. The school of transition is where the children will learn how to co-exist in an atmosphere far from the troubled sides. Despite the conflict and the hatred on each side, the spine is a place for peace.