Eric Kuhne, architect of Titanic Belfast visitor centre, dies

Texas designer’s tourist attraction ‘celebrates five centuries of city’s maritime legacy’

Eric Kuhne at the launch of Titanic Belfast. He has died aged 64.  Photograph: Titanic Belfast/Flickr

Eric Kuhne at the launch of Titanic Belfast. He has died aged 64. Photograph: Titanic Belfast/Flickr

 

The chief executive of the Titanic Belfast visitor centre has paid tribute to the designer of the tourist attraction, Eric Kuhne who has died aged 64 of a suspected heart attack.

Mr Kuhne, who was born in San Antonio in Texas designed major buildings in many parts of the world. They include Cockle Bay Wharf in Sydney, Australia, the large Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent in England, the BurJuman shopping centre in Dubai and the Titanic Belfast visitor centre.

Mr Kuhne said in coming up with the idea for the Titanic centre he had “worked for seven years to conceive, design, and create an international destination in Belfast that celebrates five centuries of its maritime legacy including the building of the RMS Titanic”.

He said he and his London-based architectural company had “created an architectural icon that captures the spirit of the shipyards, ships, water crystals, ice, and the White Star Line’s logo. Its architectural form cuts a skyline silhouette that has been inspired by the very ships that were built on this hallowed ground”.

Mr Kuhne said inspiration was taken from how Belfast through the centuries was famed for its shipbuilding and ship design.

“Titanic Belfast stands today as a testimony to all these elements that has made Belfast the centre of shipbuilding around the world,” he said.

Mr Kuhne, who lectured all over the world on his architectural philosophy, argued that expertly and creatively designed retail buildings “can bring back the pageantry of civic life to cities and towns”.

Tim Husbands, chief executive of Titanic Belfast said everyone associated with the building was saddened to hear of the passing of the “renowned” architect.

“Eric paid tribute to the Titanic story through his ideas and vision for Titanic Belfast and has left a lasting legacy both within our city and across the world. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”