Belfast Telegraph

NI prisons HQ proposed for listing due to architectural and historical importance

By Andrew Madden

The building which houses the headquarters of the Northern Ireland Prison Service and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is set to get listed status.

Dundonald House on the Upper Newtownards Road in Belfast has been proposed as one of several sites in the city to be designated as a "listed building".

Listed buildings are those of historical or architectural interest that Belfast City Council's Historic Environment Division (HED) seeks to preserve.

A second survey of all of Northern Ireland's building stock is currently under way to update and improve on the first survey which began in 1974.

When considering whether to list a building, the HED takes into account the historical and architectural interest of the structure, among other factors such as the community desirability in preserving it.

Dundonald House is a large government office complex on the Stormont estate dating back to the early Sixties.

It was designed by Belfast-born architect Robert Hanna Gibson and consists of two long Portland limestone clad-overlapping blocks linked by a central, seven storey entrance cube.

"Dundonald House is a well-preserved example of now a rare early 1960s international-style building with effective massing, simple detailing, and an imposing presence within its designed open parkland landscape setting," the HED's evaluation reads.

"The curving of the northern block is unexpected and adds interest to the structure, as do the intact feature canopies and designed roofscape.

"The building is a rare, outstanding example of its kind within the Northern Ireland context, and as such a structure of considerable architectural and historical importance."

BCC's planning committee will meet next week to decide on the final selection of buildings the HED has proposed for listing.

Belfast Telegraph

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