The Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) forms part of the Saint Anne’s Square development and replaced the Old Museum Arts Centre (OMAC) at College Square North. The £17.9m building comprises 5,500m2 of facilities including 2 theatres (350 & 120 seats), 3 art galleries, 1 rehearsal space, 1 dance studio, 3 education and workshop rooms, 4 offices for resident art groups, 1 cafe and bar and 1 artist in residence studio. The MAC was designed by Hackett Hall McKnight and built by Bowen Mascott JV between December 2009 – February 2012. The official opening was on 20th April 2012.
Design & Construction
Hackett Hall McKnight Architects were appointed following an International Open Design Competition in association with the Royal Institute of British Architects. The design creates spaces that “recall the tight streetscape of the neighbourhood – a compressed urban environment characterised by top-light”. One of the main external features is the stone and bronze anodised glazing that forms a beacon to “locate the building, a major new cultural institution for Belfast, within the milieu of the Cathedral Quarter”. The illuminated ‘lantern’ reaches a height of 105 feet / 32 metres.