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Video: Former Bank of Ireland building opened for architecture and design festival

SOME of Belfast’s most iconic historical buildings have been opened up to the public as part of an architecture project.

The Open House Festival is organised by PLACE, a body which promotes architecture, design and planning, and is now in its third year in Belfast.

One landmark which opened its doors was the eye-catching former Bank of Ireland building, situated at the corner of Royal Avenue and North Street.

It has been vacant since 2005 but was occupied for a time by anti-capitalist protesters who vowed to stay until the building is opened up for use.

Built in the Art Deco style it was designed as a homage to Empire State Building in New York some 90 years ago.

St Joseph's Church in Sailortown was also opened as part of the festival. The two-storey church was designed in Italian-Romanesque style, with early French gothic detail by Belfast architect Timothy Hevey.

The church was closed almost two decades ago due to falling attendance and the Sailortown Cultural and Historical Society (SCHS) are currently raising funds to save the building.

Other buildings featured in the project included a former Synagogue on Annesley Street, off the Antrim Road, and the Sail Loft on Donegall Quay, which housed Tedford's Ship Chandlers, Sail & Tentmakers and was established by James Tedford in the 1850s.

A view from the Art Deco style Bank of Ireland building in Royal Avenue Belfast which was opened up as part of the Open house Architecture Festival.Picture Mal McCann.

St Josephs Sailor Town opens its doors as part of the Open house Architecture Festival Picture Mal McCann.

Dawson Stelfox leads a tour of the former Art Deco style Bank of Ireland building in Royal Avenue Belfast as part of the Open house Architecture Festival Picture Mal McCann.

Dawson Stelfox leads a tour of the former Art Deco style Bank of Ireland building in Royal Avenue Belfast as part of the Open house Architecture Festival Picture Mal McCann.

St Josephs Sailor Town opens its doors as part of the Open house Architecture Festival Picture Mal McCann.

St Josephs Sailor Town opens its doors as part of the Open house Architecture Festival Picture Mal McCann.

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