Project Description

Design: Co – Op Building


This summer the Co – op building in York Street, completed in 1932, will be demolished (see here). To make way for the new Ulster University campus building. When this happens the structure,  character, mood and activities of this landmark site,  and the past 83 years, will be lost.
In the 1950’s the Orpheus ballroom and restaurant (now the Fine Art studio space) gave Belfast people a taste of elegance, glamour and sophistication.  Older people fondly remember going there for high tea and weddings. The evening dances (strictly ballroom) and live bands that were popular at the time.
In  1981/2 the University of Ulster took over the co – op building  to provide extra studio space for students. The co – op building was quickly adapted to become home for art environments. making, displaying, discussing, interacting, generating ideas and sharing.


We were tasked with creating a temporary, multifunctional, reminiscence space for the Co – op Building. This space located in the current student union that celebrates the life of the building. The aim is to transform the space over its final few weeks.  It will be a farewell to the building to mark the end of an era.


I think is important to add some photos and details from the Co – Op building, as by now the demolition is probably completed.  (see here)


Co – Op Building, Orpheus Ballroom, Conceptual Design

The purpose of my design is to provide a multifunctional space for the Co – Op building. To achieve this I chose to use chain curtains which can move. In order to alter the space to serve different activities. By day the curtains are closed to separate the different spaces – galleries.  By night the curtains are opened to provide more space for dancing and other social activities. The lighting inside the space is mainly around the three columns and enclosed by the chain curtains. This is an interesting part of the design. The relation and interaction between the chains and the lighting that creates shadows or rays of light on the floor and the walls.

Α2 day

Α2 night