Daniel Libeskind, noted (pseudo?) architect and prolific mason of controversial contemporary constructions—many of which are memorial museums with a jagged, broken pottery appeal—has unveiled these angular plans for Northern Ireland's Maze Long Kesh Peace building and Conflict Resolution Center, a project funded by a $27.6M European Union peace grant. The project is also incredibly controversial—and for once it has little, if anything, to do with Libeskind's less-than-beloved aesthetic. See, the center will be built on the site of Her Majesty's Prison Maze, the detention facility that housed paramilitary prisoners during Northern Ireland's The Troubles, the ethno-nationalist conflict that roiled here from the late '60s to early '00s.
The country's Orange Order, a Protestant political organization, has called on the Democratic Unionist Party to halt plans for the center, calling it "deeply flawed and ill conceived," with the potential to traumatize Troubles victims and "further the efforts of those who ... wish to rewrite history." (The Maze became infamous for the hunger strikes of 1981, during which 10 prisoners died.)
When his plans, which call for a "glass curtain wall," a green roof, and lots of architectural concrete, were approved back in April, Libeskind said in a statement: "It is truly meaningful to build a hope filled common ground; to tell individual stories and to do so in Maze Long Kesh." Construction on Libeskind's center—which he designed with Belfast architects McAdam Design—will theoretically wrap by 2015.
· Untangling the Maze: Libeskind designs a peace center in Northern Ireland. [Architects' Newspaper]
· DUP 'mystified' by Orange Order's appeal to halt Maze centre. [Belfast Telegraph]