Tesco Metro in Belfast, Northern Ireland
With its impressive archways and bright blue-green ceiling, this building doesn’t look like the kind of place you’d typically visit when shopping for deodorant or frozen peas.
William J. Barre designed the building at 2 Royal Ave in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as a branch of the Provincial Bank of Ireland in the second half of the 19th century. He included elaborate details and frescos that were scrapped after he overspent the budget and died, leaving architecture firm Turner and Williamson to complete the job.
The result is a gorgeous building that’s missing some of its intended glamour, such as an exquisite seven-bay facade that lacks the elaborate sculpture that was intended for the pediment. But these missing details don't make the building any less impressive.
In the 1990s, the building was converted into a Tesco Metro store. Architects from the firm WDR & RT Taggart restored its elaborate facade, transforming the space into an unbelievably palatial grocery store. Shelves of food fill the colorful, ornate space. Stand in line at the cashier station, and you'll find yourself beneath a beautiful, airy dome supported by corbelled columns that lead up to a Gothic gallery.