Belfast, Northern Ireland


Consequences of climate change include flooding, temperature change and a demographic shift, the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Hieronymus Bosch reminds us of such apocalyptic impressions.

When researching the term ‘apocalypse’ I realised it doesn’t mean ‘the end’. It is a synonym for revelation.
I believe the apocalypse in Belfast will cause a new way of thinking for society, new possibilities will
force us into radical thinking.


For the future revelation of Belfast, I propose that we migrate into the flood. We will re-purpose
disused oil-rigs as a new typology for the built environment. The rigs will be decommissioned and
arranged by the contouring depths of the Victoria Channel.

It’s somewhere between Superstudio and the notions of a Ballardian novel. The city strategy is somewhat reminiscent of High Rise, with the formal city above and an informal city below with fish farms and coral reefs. The site strategy is an extendable spined linear city, with city zones. Its
phenotype reacts to climate, the rigs are modular with shaded spaces, new technologies and biophilic eco-gardens.

It is a walking city, with a foot bridge as the spine and a suspended rail
beneath – the rigs clustering at each station. As the flood surges, the city breeds.

Text by Professor Gary Boyd:

The Belfast of Earthly Delights by Rebecca McConnell looks at the Northern Irish city of the future beset by climate-change induced flooding and accelerated immigration. 

Drawing on the concept of
apocalypse as meaning both ending and beginning, and channelling the near eponymous painting by
Hieronymus Bosch, the project reuses oil-rigs salvaged from post peak production to imagine a city
floating above the inundation. 

Simultaneously metaphorical and the result of realistic projections of
climatic events, McConnell’s work straddles not only the underwater contours of Belfast lough but also a space between medieval millenarianism and the near future.