Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Past and Present Views of Belfast at PLACE

Drawing of a bomb-damaged building in Belfast by David Turner, part of his exhibition Cross Section and Scale which launches at PLACE next Thursday 6th August

This August, PLACE presents exhibitions by David Turner and Henrietta Williams, exploring issues from the past and present of Belfast’s built environment.

Download the press release from the PLACE website.

The 2nd Catalyst Arts Sandcastle Competition

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

100 Years of Design Manifestos

The Repair Manifesto from Platform 21

From the Futurists in 1909 to the Bauhaus in 1919 to Dieter Rams' Ten Rules of Good Design in 1987, through to Platform 21's Repair Manifesto from this year, the Social Design Notes blog collects 100 Years of Design Manifestos.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Rock & Roll on Fountain Street!

Geoff Gatt and friends are rocking it out on Fountain Street as the last day of PLACE's Garden gets into full swing!

Still to come, Picnics and Herb Heads, the Tango Ceili, plus the Guerrilla Gardeners finish their green extravaganza. Come on down!

Friday, 24 July 2009

RSPB Nature's Hotspots Photography Competition

Ballymacormick Point - image by rjcobain on flickr

RSPB Northern Ireland has launched a brand new photographic competition to capture images of Northern Ireland’s wildlife, habitats and fantastic scenery.

‘Nature’s Hotspots’ will run from the Summer through to the beginning of November ’09 and culminate with a Photo Exhibition at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on 23 November. The competition signals a re-launch of the RSPB’s ‘Safe and Sound’ campaign, to ensure that Northern Ireland’s most special natural places - Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) are protected and maintained.

Categories include Best Bird Photo, Best Wildlife Photo (excluding birds), Best Landscape/Habitat photo, Under 16s category - any image taken on an ASSI; Our panel of judges will also choose an overall winner.

Speaking today, RSPB Spokesperson Colum Delaney said:

“This competition is open to young and old, amateur and professional. It is so easy to take our environment for granted and ‘Nature’s Hotspots’ is about providing a better understanding and appreciation of the fantastic wildlife, flora and breath-taking landscapes all around us.

“Nature’s Hotspots’ is about celebrating our natural heritage and connecting people with the local environment. The photo competition signals the re-launch of the RSPB’s Safe and Sound campaign, which is designed to ensure that our local Areas of Special Scientific Interest are in favourable condition.”

RSPB’s ‘Nature’s Hotspots’ Photography Competition encourages the public to take a photo on their local ASSI (access permitting), and submit the image to the RSPB. We are also encouraging people to submit some text with the image, to describe what the photo means to them (text is optional). For full details on how to enter the competition, terms and conditions and a map of Northern Ireland’s ASSIs, please go to

The closing date of the competition is 1 November 2009, and an exhibition and a selection of entries (as well as the announcement of winners) will be on display at a launch in Parliament Buildings, Stormont on the 23 November 2009.

List of ASSIs in Northern Ireland: NIEA ASSIs List
RSPB Homepage:

2020 City Living at Golden Thread Gallery

The built environment debates at Golden Thread continue this Saturday at 2pm!

Saturday 25th July 2009, 2pm
Declan Hill & Mark Hackett
2020 City Living - Where do I get my pint of milk?
A debate looking at urban planning and discussing possibilities for city-centre Belfast.

Venue: Golden Thread Gallery, 84-94 Great Patrick Street Belfast, BT1 2LU
Tel: 028 90330920
Email: [email protected]


Image from PS2

Installation and documentation of a creative community initiative in Ballykinler, Co. Down
Opening: Friday, 24 July 2009, 6-8pm

With its seaside location and the Mourne Mountains as a backdrop, the small village of Ballykinler in Co. Down seems idyllic. Unless you take a wrong turn and end up at the gated compounds of a long established British Army site? A complex situation, not just for the two different spellings of its name on road signs.

How do you live there as a young person? How do you make changes or at least influence the social infrastructure? And where does art fit into all of this? Anne-Marie Dillon, artist and co-founder of the Ballykinler Creative Forum and the initiator of many activities in her home village, brought together a group of young people to work on small projects, to have fun and to kickstart a process of creative engagement with the social and built environment.

Bus stop was originally built outside a disused school in the centre of the village. The Creative Forum has argued for years that this should be used as a community arts centre- a recent request was again refused. The installation highlighted the fact that there isn’t a sheltered bus stop and the direct action revealed the lack of social provision, the divisions in the village and the opposition to a proper bus stop from parts of the community in fear of anticipated vandalism.

For PS², the bus stop is re-assembled together with a personal documentation of the history of the Creative Forum; its past projects, the community structures, stakeholders and fractions, struggles, achievements and set backs. A history of an initiative which set out to provide social and creative activities for the small village in the past ten years; from ad hoc child care to youth disco’s, from shopping tours for elderly people to water sports for the youth. What distinguishes these social activities from other initiatives, is the strong artistic element which makes these events into happenings or performances.

This project is seen in connection with an ongoing programme by PS² of art initiatives in a rural context. How difficult it is to introduce art and creativity into a smaller town or village in Northern Ireland, is exemplified with this initiative by the Creative Forum in Ballykinler. It shows the wide gap between urban and rural conditions in terms of cultural provision, desires and political preconceptions.

Exhibition continuous till 9 August 2009
Opening hours: Wed-Sat 1-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm, Late Night Art 1-9pm

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Get gardening!

Photo by Amberlea Trainor

Our team of guerrillas led by Sinéad Breathnach-Cashell and Colm Clarke (above, L & R) have started on the week's mission of creating green interventions in Fountain Street, with moss graffiti, vertical gardens and much more. Today they've got started with a plan of action.

The workshop is open to all, and will start at 12pm on Thurs 23rd, Fri 24th and Sat 25th, lasting through the afternoon - it's open to everyone and you can drop in for the whole day or as long as you like to contribute ideas or just soak up the colourful atmosphere! And there's artwork by Aisling O'Beirn, Catherine Roberts and Eva Maher hanging on the wall, from the ceiling and in the weePLACE cabinet. Come on down!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

PLACE Update - July 2009

PLACE's Garden - Wed 22nd - Sat 25th July

Next week sees Fountain Street in Belfast transformed with art, guerrilla gardening, film, music, tango, BBQ and more! Check out the full event listing here - also look out for the booklets in various venues across the city. Come join us at PLACE for the special launch event on Wed 22nd July from 6pm-8pm, where we'll introduce the week's activities - all welcome; refreshments will be served!

Please note there are limited places for each event - BOOK NOW by calling (028) 9023 2524 (you can leave a message while we are closed!) or email [email protected]

If you are interested in volunteering to help us out at the events next week, get in touch in the same way!

[PLACE's Garden has been developed in association with Brown & Bri, the Landscape Institute of Northern Ireland, La Boca Restaurant and with funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.]

MAG - Raising Standards

Published last week, Raising Standards is the first report on the work of MAG (the Ministerial Advisory Group on Architecture and the Built Environment).

Download it here [PDF, 419kb]

weePLACE - Eva Maher and Henrietta Williams
The weePLACE exhibition cabinet continues to display interpretations of the built environment from all walks of life.

weePLACE004 - Eva Maher
Coinciding with PLACE's Garden, Dublin-based Eva Maher presents her 2D and 3D works based on "the arduous experience that is moving house". Launching Wed 22nd July at 6pm.

weePLACE005 - Henrietta Williams
And in August, alongside David Turner in the Main Gallery, Henrietta Williams presents On the Threshold, a collection of photographs exploring the regeneration of the land that lies alongside interfaces in Belfast.

Upcoming in August - David Turner's Cross-Section and Scale
After a six-month residency at QUB School of Architecture in 2008, fine artist David Turner has developed an exhibition exclusively for PLACE.

The pencil drawings show physical cross-sections of buildings throughout Belfast City Centre which have been deconstructed by attacks during the Troubles.

Now available in the RIBA Bookshop at PLACE
AAI Awards 2009 - New Irish Architecture 24
The latest edition in this ever-popular series is now available, with profiles, illustrations, drawings, photography and in-depth analysis of the best new Irish architecture of the past year, as selected by the Architecture Association of Ireland.

The July/August issue of Perspective is now available, featuring the new Derry Playhouse, plus a special feature from the PLACE staff and a report on the UU students' intervention in Belfast's Holylands £4.00

Also now available at PLACE: Architectural Review (£9, monthly) and Architectural Record (£10.95, monthly)

Discount vouchers
Until the end of August, when you spend £30 or more you will receive a £5 discount voucher for use in RIBA Bookshops (including PLACE and the RSUA in Belfast).
Terms and conditions apply.

Keep up-to-date with the latest titles in the bookshop on the PLACE Homepage and on the blog:

PLACE Online
PLACE Homepage
News on our upcoming exhibitions and events, plus PLACE publications and archives.

Recently on the blog:
From YouTube, a film about Best Products Co stores designed by SITE in the 1970s - click here to check it out.

Stay in touch with us on the blog for up-to-date news and thoughts about the built environment in Northern Ireland and further afield. Comments welcome!

PLACE Library Blog
Our team of voluntary librarians are moving on to the classification stage of our new library at PLACE. Keep up with them on their blog!

PLACE Facebook Group
Join us on Facebook for news and invites to upcoming events!

Contact Us

PLACE will be closed from 15th - 20th July, reopening on Tuesday 21st July.

To book for any of the upcoming PLACE's Garden events, simply email us at [email protected] or call (028) 9023 2524 and leave a message.


To subscribe to the PLACE Mailing List, email [email protected] with SUBSCRIBE in the title

Monday, 13 July 2009

MAG - Raising Expectations

Published last week, Raising Expectations is the first report on the activities of MAG (the Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture and the Built Environment for Northern Ireland).
The main role of the MAG is to:

  • Advise the Minister on the development and implementation of the Architecture and Built Environment Policy
  • Review progress on key priorities identi?ed by MAG
  • Advise Government on policy implementation
  • Conduct Design Reviews of pre and post planning applications
  • Implement those actions set out in the Policy

The MAG also contributes its expertise in the areas of advocacy, communication, and education.

Download Raising Expectations here [PDF, 419kb]

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Irish Architecture Foundation seeks Education Curator

Image from the IAF

Our colleagues in Dublin, The Irish Architecture Foundation, are seeking an Education Curator.
We are seeking a dynamic and experienced Education Curator who will expand and initiate a new education and community outreach programme, to develop a greater understanding and participation in architecture, design and public space for all ages.

For more info and to find out how to apply, click here (closing date 27th July 2009).

Golden Thread Gallery hosts built environment debates

To accompany their current exhibition Unbuilt, Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast present two discussions on built environment themes in the community, the first of which is tonight at 6pm!
Thursday 9th July 2008, 6pm
John Reid (Robinson McIllwaine Architects), Dessie Donnelly (People's Participation & Rights Project) & Manus Maguire (Cliftonville Community Regeneration Forum)
A discussion examining local residents’ participation in social housing and redevelopment schemes and asking whether they can influence planning and policy.

Saturday 25th July 2009, 2pm
Declan Hill & Mark Hackett
2020 City Living - Where do I get my pint of milk?
A debate looking at urban planning and discussing possibilities for city-centre Belfast.

Venue: Golden Thread Gallery, 84-94 Great Patrick Street Belfast, BT1 2LU
Tel: 028 90330920
Email: [email protected]

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

New RSUA website

The website for the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) has been updated and expanded, with lots of new features including advice for the public on working with architects, a database of some of Northern Ireland's best buildings, and an events calendar.

Website: RSUA

CARDI Research Grants Programme: PLACE to work with QUB, TCD and Irish National Disability Authority

CARDI (The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland) yesterday announced the successful applicants for Call 1 of its research grants programme.

As part of this programme, PLACE, Trinity College Dublin, Queen’s and the National Disability Authority plan to build a larger partnership that will study how the urban environment, not just housing, can be accessed and used to the greatest possible extent by people of all ages.

Professor Bob Stout, Queen’s University Belfast, Co-chair of the grants panel, said:
“We were delighted to receive a very large number of applications. Clearly a lot of new contacts have been made between academics and representatives of the voluntary, public and private sectors on both sides of the border. These grants, worth almost €90,000, will serve as pump-priming money. This fits well with CARDI’s wish to get all the partners together and stimulate research that will bring benefits to the daily lives of older people and ensure that both parts of Ireland are geared up to meet the needs of an ageing society.”

More info: Press release from PLACE website

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Coming soon - PLACE's Garden!

From Wednesday 22nd - Saturday 25th July, PLACE’s Garden will bring life to Fountain Street in Belfast with guerrilla gardening, family workshops, tango dancing and much more!

View the press release here.

Full event list coming soon! For more information contact us at PLACE on (028) 9023 2524 or email [email protected]

'Public Places' - Best Product stores by SITE

Image via ounodesign

Public Places is a film from the early 1980s about the stores designed for now-defunct American retailers Best Products Co. by SITE (Sculpture in the Environment). The old footage is great, and some of the responses from the public show the often polarising effect of modern architectural ideas. Andrew Lewis, president of Best at the time, discusses this effect:
"If someone takes the time to write me a letter telling me that he doesn't like our building then that someone has done something very unusual in the course of his day - I mean, he's thought about architecture, he's thought about form and function and what our expectations are about commercial buildings, and I take that as our contribution to the community. If it were an easy sales gimmick a whole bunch of people would be doing it - you know, there's a lot of risk in it and there are a lot of less risky ways of promoting sales." - Andrew Lewis, President, Best Products Co.

Part one below:

Parts two, three and four.

Magellan's Log: Bye-bye Best Products - An architecture Fairy Tale
Metropolis Mag: Best Thing Going
ounodesign: Still-unsurpassed box store architecture - SITE
Website: SITE Architecture and Design