Home / Appearance of the Belfast City Hall


External Appearance

The exterior of the hall is beautiful mostly because of the materials that have been used in its making. In particular, attention needs to be given to the dome that is made of copper which gives it an amazingly royal look. The external appearance of City hall is so glamorous mostly because they have used Portland Stone in its construction. Portland stone as a material for construction has been used ever since the Roman times. It was used by the Romans mostly to give their buildings a royal feel.

This was especially used on important government buildings. Portland stone has been around for ages. It was formed during the Jurrassic Period and is obtained It is called Portland stone because it is mined in Portland, Durset. It is usually mined using the room and pillar method. It is actually a form of Limestone. The beauty of this stone has led to it being used in the making of many important buildings even in modern times.

Apart from Belfast City Hall, it is Portland Stone that was used to make the Buckhingham Palace and the St Pauls Cathedral. A third example of the use of Portland stone would be in making the United Nations headquarters in New York. Portland Cement is also made by using a Hydraulic Binder which would help it give the kind of appearance that Portland Stone has.

The hall covers a pretty large area too. It is approximately around one and a half acres. It is said to be built in the Baroque Revival style. The Baroque Revival style of architecture is also known as Neo- Baroque or Second Empire style in France. It came into existence in the late 19th century. It basically is the type of architecture that is reminiscent of the Baroque style but not exactly the same.

The original Baroque style of Architecture came into existence in the 17th and 18th centuries. Hence, it is Neo Baroque or Baroque Revival because it is an attempt to bring back that magnificent style of Architecture. Although there are a few differences between the two with the latter adding a few modern touches, this style is considered extremely important and is studied by most students of Architecture in Paris. It was only because of extensive colonialism that this style seeped into parts of England and other places in Europe such as Italy and Germany.

The City hall is a very conspicuous building in Belfast. It towers against the citys skyline. It is a structure that the people of Belfast are extremely proud of. This is with very good reason because it is a very pretty structure and very pleasing to the eye. Reviews of people who have visited the city hall say that simply standing in front of the hall and looking at it from the outside gave them a sudden imperial feel. It has four domes on all four sides that face the four different directions.

The domes are also known for their royal look. They are made of copper but do not have the actual copper colour. Instead they shine bluish green. The green colour is probably because of the patina that has formed over the domes. The main dome is 53 metres high.This patina however is good because it prevents the metal underneath fom further corrosion which means the domes will never wear out even in the case of rain.

This green colour copper coat is supposed to be a distinctive feature of most Victorian buildings. There is also a pediment sculpture. A pediment is a triangular shaped section found above a horizontal structure typically supported by columns. It is a very classic Architectural element and has been derived from the Romans who used it in most of their buildings.

The pediments usually have sculptures that may or may not depict stories or maybe even events that have taken place in the past. The pediment in the Belfast City hall also has figures sculpted on it. It was sculpted by a prominent British sculptor called Frederic William Pomeroy. He is also known for his work on the Sheffield Town hall and the Holy Trinity Church. He was assisted in his work on the Belfast City Hall by a Carver called J.Edgar Winter.

There are also figures above the door that depict Hibernia encouraging culture and Arts in the city. The pediment that is featured on the city hall is also printed on the 10 Euro, 20 Euro, 50 Euro and 100 Euro notes issued by the Northern bank. It is hence something that is very largely recognized by the people in Ireland. Similar to how Indians recognize the face of Mahatma Gandhi! Another interesting building that should be mentioned here is the Old Bailey.

The old Bailey is the Central Criminal Court in England and Wales. This building was built in 1674 and is also of a similar style although this was before the Baroque style even came into existence. The Belfast City hall is supposed to be reminiscent of the Old Bailey. This means that all those buildings that were built by people who took inspiration from the Belfast City Hall actually based their structure on the Old Bailey which was the Original! Either way, the hall has been built in a way that the external appearance is quite a stunner.

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