Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Magic Jug on Fountain Street

Above: Artist's rendering of the Magic Jug

New public art for Fountain Street has been announced in the form of a 5.5m tall polished granite jug.

BBC News: Jug 'links ancient and modern Ireland'

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Day or Night photoblog

Above: Signage on Telephone House, May St, Belfast (via

Just launched this week, visit Day or Night for photos of old and classic signs in and around Belfast.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Arts Extra: Public art and public spaces

Above: Artists rendering of the Mute Meadow public art installation at the Ebrington Barracks in Derry.

Marie Louise Muir talked to three of yesterday's Lives and Spaces panel on last night's Arts Extra: Head of sculpture at NCAD, Philip Napier; Michael Hegarty, PLACE Director; and Ciaran Mackel of ARD Ciaran Mackel Architects.

The discussion centred mostly on what public art and "iconic buildings" Northern Ireland wanted to see - Ciaran and Michael were keen to argue that the starting point must be the quality of our ordinary buildings and public space.

The segment begins at around 18:30.

BBC iPlayer: Arts Extra, 25/03/2010 (available until Thurs 1st April)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Lives and Spaces Symposium tomorrow!

Above: Image of Ormeau Baths Building via John D McDonald on Flickr

Lives and Spaces: Art, Architecture and the Public
Thursday 25th March 2010, 9.45am - 3.30pm
Ormeau Baths Gallery, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast
Admission: £5 (lunch included)

‘The Lives of Spaces’ was Ireland’s entry to the 11th Architecture Biennale in Venice 2008. To coincide with the exhibition in Belfast, OBG and PLACE present this major symposium which will look at the intersection of art, architecture and curating within the public realm, through exhibitions, public art and the built environment.

A range of speakers from backgrounds in art, architecture, curating and commissioning will come together to address overlapping issues facing these professions. The symposium aims to initiate dialogues which support healthy local collaboration and communication between these areas.

Schedule below:

// 9.45am Registration and Coffee

// 10.15am Curating Architecture
Curating Architecture will examine the role of a Curator and the potential for architecture in an exhibition context. The discussion will explore how best to communicate architectural practice and ideas beyond the architecture itself.

Chair: Professor Hugh Campbell: Professor of Architecture (UCD) and Co-Curator of ‘The Lives of Spaces'
John Reid: Partner, Robinson McIlwaine Architects
Nathalie Weadick: Director of Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF) and Co-Curator of ‘The Lives of Spaces'
Denis Byrne: Architect and Curator of Darcspace Architecture Gallery
Jo Anne Butler and Tara Kennedy: Culturstruction

// 11.15am Coffee Break

// 11.30am Creating Public Spaces
Creating Public Spaces will examine how the public realm is developed in Northern Ireland. The discussion will explore how streets, squares, parks and riverfronts etc are created using architecture and landscape. It will examine the role of building uses, finishes and public use of the spaces. It will also lead to the afternoon discussion on public art.

Chair: Michael Hegarty: Director PLACE
Barrie Todd: Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG)
Robert Kidd: DSD
Doug Elliott: 22 over 7 architects
Ailbhe Murphy: Dublin-based Visual Artist and co-founder of Vagabond Reviews

// 12.45pm Lunch Break and Lives of Spaces Tour

Nathalie Weadick and Professor Hugh Campbell will give a short tour of ‘The Lives of Spaces’ exhibition at 1pm

// 1.45pm: Commissioning Public Art
Commissioning Public Art will examine how and why public art is commissioned. The discussion will explore the nature and quality of art in the public realm and explore why some artists undertake this work while others do not.

Chair: Marie Louise Muir: BBC
Noirin McKinney: Director of Arts Development, Arts Council Northern Ireland
Philip Napier: Visual Artist and Head of Fine Art/ Sculpture at NCAD
Annette Moloney: Curator + Collaborator and ex-Public Art Specialist with Arts Council of Ireland.
Ciaran Mackel: ARD Ciaran Mackel Architects

// 3pm Closing Comments

You can still register now by contacting Ciara Hickey at OBG via email CHickey AT or phone 028 90321402. You can also buy tickets on the door.

We hope to see you there; otherwise we'll be tweeting and blogging about the symposium tomorrow!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

QUB ARCSOC Lecture - David Kohn - this Thurs 25th March

Click the poster to enlarge

- David Kohn (David Kohn Architects - Young Architect of the Year 2009)
- "The Fox and the Hedgehog"
- Thurs 25th March, 7pm
- LG024 - David Keir Building, Malone/Stranmillis

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Bill Drummond on his connections to Belfast

Above: Bill Drummond with his Belfast twin city sign - via Moochin Photoman on Flickr

Having been visiting Belfast for 50 years, Bill Drummond goes on a "re-imaginative" tour of the city, discussing architectural heritage with Marcus Patton, the docks with Glenn Patterson, the city's acoustics (including Fountain Street) with Florian Hollerweger and Victoria Square and the Cathedral Quarter with Marie-Louise Muir.

"For me, Belfast will always be a place where the imagination can take flight," says Drummond.

(Thanks to Alan in Belfast for the link.)

New in the bookshop

Above: The new QUB Architecture studio at Chlorine Gardens. Image via QUB Architecture blog

The March/April edition of Perspective, the journal of the RSUA, is now on sale in the bookshop. Featured buildings are the revamped QUB Architecture studios on Chlorine Gardens and the All Saints Parish Centre in Ballymena, along with reports on recent events with Juhani Pallasmaa and Max Clendinning.
// £4.00
// Back issues are also available, priced at £2 each

ARD + 500 Days
ARD + 500 Days chronicles the first year-and-a-half of projects and research by Ciaran Mackel's ARD firm.
// £15.00
// Special offer: student price of £10.00 with a valid student card

Stone by Stone
Just in stock today:
"This fascinating book is an introduction to understanding how stone is used in buildings, how to identify the stone, nature of stone weathering, mapping stone decay, and the current advice on stone repair in buildings.

"Countless generations have used stone to create shelter, symbols and monuments, hewn from the ground, carefully selected, shaped and carved with an evolved understanding of geology, properties and characteristics, each stone representing a distinctive sense of place. However, over the last century we have lost much of that instinctive understanding of how best to use natural stone. As a result our rich masonry heritage has not been cared for as well as it deserves and local resources have been ignored in favour of imported stone.

"This book is based on the experience of academic research, practical testing and live restoration projects and is intended to disseminate good practice and lessons learnt over the last 15 years."


A few new titles from the UAHS are now in stock, including Paul Larmour's Belfast City Hall: An Architectural History (£15.00 p/back, £20.00 h/back) and Bendhu and its builders by Andrew Cowser (£18.00).

The current issue of Building Material is back in stock - no. 19 in the series looks at crossovers between art and architecture. £10.00

Job vacancy at the UAHS

Our colleagues at the UAHS seek a Heritage Projects Officer:


(Initially 3 years, 36¼ hours per week)
Salary £20,000-£22,000

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS), Ulster’s leading built heritage charity, is seeking a person with a deep interest in, and commitment to, the protection of the built heritage of Northern Ireland.

This post is designed to develop opportunities created by a partnership agreement between the UAHS and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. The post holder will manage and update the online Built Heritage at Risk Northern Ireland register. A core task will be to broker the successful conservation of listed buildings at risk using a range of mechanisms tailored to individual cases. The post holder will also undertake supplementary activities aimed at encouraging owners to conserve and re-use built heritage at risk.

Applicants should possess an honours degree in architecture, history of art or architecture, or an equivalent or higher qualification in a relevant subject, such as building conservation, or show evidence of significant relevant experience.

A knowledge of Ulster’s architectural history and a familiarity with legislation, policy and practice relating to historic buildings and conservation areas will be desirable. Applicants should have excellent oral and written communication skills and must possess a high level of competence in IT applications and be able to work on their own initiative.

Further details including an application form and job description are available to download from the Society’s website or
contact the Administrator at [email protected] or tel. 028 9055 0213

Completed application forms must be returned to
UAHS, 66 Donegal Pass, Belfast, BT7 1BU
to arrive no later than 5pm on Friday 9th April 2010.

More info:

The Prisoner and Change of Address at the 10th Belfast Film Festival

News from the Belfast Film Festival:

10th Belfast Film Festival in Partnership with Ulster Architectural Heritage Society & the Forum for Alternative Belfast present...

The Prisoner
First Church of Christ, Scientist
2 - 4 University Avenue, Belfast
Thursday 29 April
Doors 8.00pm - event starts at 8.30pm

So you might ask yourself, why are we screening the classic TV show The Prisoner in a Church in Belfast?

The architect Clough Williams-Ellis designed the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Belfast, which was built in 1936-7. But his work in the village of Portmeirion in Wales is well known in popular culture as it was used as the set for the cult 1960’s TV show The Prisoner.

We will be showing a classic episode of the series and afterwards there will be a talk about Clough Williams-Ellis’ work and the importance of architectural heritage in Belfast.

Book tickets online here.

Change of Address
The Spectrum Centre - Shankill Road
Thursday 22 April
£4.50 & £4.00

This documentary made in 1975 by BBC Northern Ireland follows the housing problems in Belfast and the proposed development of the Belfast Urban Motorway. The Belfast Urban Motorway was the name given to an ambitious scheme to build a continuous free-flow motorway around the city centre. For various reasons the scheme never went ahead.

The Documentary looks at the problems of the Divis flats development on the Falls Road and the difficulty of the living environment. It also looks at the depopulation of the Shankill Road as people moved to the outskirts of the city to housing schemes such as Springmartin. People talk about the difficulty of this move because of the poor conditions and isolation from their original communities.

Following the screening, Jackie Redpath alongside Declan Hill and Mark Hackett (Forum for Alternative Belfast) will talk about the issues raised in the film.

Book tickets online here.

More on the festival:

Monday, 15 March 2010

QUB ARCSOC Lecture - Dawson Stelfox - this Thurs

Click the poster to enlarge

Dawson Stelfox: "Can old buildings be green buildings?"
Thursday 18th March 2010, 6pm
LG024, David Keir Building, Stranmillis/Malone Rd

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Street View comes to Derry

Following the launch of Street View for Belfast last March, you can now take a virtual drive around Derry in your Google Car, too.

Google Maps

Update: in fact, it looks like the whole of Northern Ireland has got the Street View treatment, from towns to villages and motorways to back roads.

"We un-built the city"

Above: Image of Berry Street by Michael Comiskey on Flickr

From yesterday's Irish Times, Fionola Meredith talks to Mark Hackett and Declan Hill about the work of the Forum for Alternative Belfast.

Irish Times: Another Belfast is imagined (13/03/2010)

You can pick up a copy of The Missing City map for free at PLACE.

Read more:
Forum for Alternative Belfast
PLACE: Happy to Live Here?
Slugger O'Toole: May the Lord in his mercy be kind to Belfast

Meanwhile, Alan in Belfast talks to Niall McCullough, whose work is part of the Lives of Spaces at OBG: "McCullough pointed out that it was unusual for him as an architect to return to a building once it was in use. By having to sit in the library to think about the project, he’d discovered and come to terms with elements of his design that had worked, and elements that had been less successful".

Friday, 12 March 2010

Belfast architecture special on Arts Extra last night

Above: The Forum for Alternative Belfast's map of the "missing city" of Belfast - you can pick up a copy at PLACE

Last night's Arts Extra on BBC Radio Ulster featured three Belfast voices in architecture and regeneration.

One of the major problems with the current model of development is that "vast swathes of our local community...are unable to raise adequate criticism", says Doug Elliott. He objects particularly to the redevelopment of the Ulster Museum, and says the design of Victoria Square has a similarly detrimental effect on the city to that of the Castle Court shopping centre.

Mark Hackett also has his sights set on the area around CastleCourt, with the reopening of Berry Street and the redevelopment of Bank Square two of the key items on the agenda for the Forum for Alternative Belfast.

Meanwhile, Patricia Freedman discusses the work of the Cathedral Quarter Steering Group and some of the issues raised at Tuesday's panel discussion.

BBC iPlayer: Arts Extra 11/03/2010 (available for 6 more days)

Read more:
- BD Online: Final bid to halt Ulster Museum extension plan
- Belfast City of Quarters Conference - 25th & 26th March
- Forum for Alternative Belfast

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Lecture at OBG - Thurs @ 1pm

Lunchtime Lecture at OBG
Thursday 11th March, 1pm - 1.45pm: The architect Niall McCullough from McCullough Mulvin Architects (Dublin) will discuss his practice and his work in the Lives of Spaces exhibition at OBG

Ormeau Baths Gallery
18a Ormeau Avenue


And don't forget that the Lives and Spaces symposium takes place at OBG on Thurs 25th March, starting at 9am...

Thursday 25th March/ Registration 9am/ Admittance Charge: £5 / Lunch will be provided

OBG and PLACE present a major symposium: Lives and Spaces: Art, Architecture and the Public.

This will look at the intersection of art, architecture and curating in the public realm, through exhibitions, public art and the built environment.

A range of speakers from backgrounds in art, architecture, curating and commissioning will come together to address overlapping issues facing these professions including Nathalie Weadick (IAF), Noirin McKinney (ACNI), Artist Phillip Napier, Architect Ciaran Mackel to name a few. The symposium aims to initiate dialogues to better support healthy collaboration and communication between these areas.

To register your interest or for more information please contact OBG on E: [email protected] or T: 02890 321402

Photos from yesterday's Panel Discussion

Photos above by Amberlea Neely.

Thanks to everyone who attended yesterday's Perspectives on Design in Cathedral Quarter event, which we thought was extremely positive. Thanks of course to all the speakers, and to Belfast Exposed's Exchange Mechanism, which made it happen.

A report on some of the issues raised is coming soon...

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Jo Wright (Fielden Clegg Bradley) - ARCSOC Lecture this Thursday

Click above to enlarge

LG024, David Keir Building, QUB
Thursday 11th March 18:30

PLACE Library blog has moved

The PLACE Library project nears completion, and our blogging volunteer has moved to a new home. You can find the full archive of posts relating to the PLACE Library here.

Friday, 5 March 2010

SCALE: AHRA Conference November 2010 - University of Kent

Click the flyer above to enlarge

Scale is a word which underlies much of architectural and urban design practice, its history and theory, and its technology. Its connotations have traditionally been linked with the humanities, in the sense of relating to human societies and to human form. To build in scale goes virtually without saying in the world of ‘polite’ architecture, but this is a precept observed more often in the breach when it comes to vast swathes of commercial and institutional design. The older, more particular, meaning in the humanities, pertaining to classical western culture, is where the sense of scale often resides in cultural production. Scale may be traced back, ultimately, to the discovery of musical harmonies, or it may reside in the arithmetic proportional relationship of the building to its parts. One might question the continued relevance of this understanding of scale in the global world of today. What, in other words, is culturally specific about scale? And what does scale mean in a world where an intuitive, visual understanding is often undermined or superseded by other senses, or by hyper-reality?

Papers are invited from architects, urban designers, artists, landscape designers and other thinkers and makers who look at scale in its various manifestations. Please send your 300 words abstracts for papers to: [email protected] by 1 April 2010. Selected papers will be published as an edited book as part of the AHRA series.

The conference organisers also welcome poster submissions which explore questions of scale.

1 April 2010: submission of abstracts (300 words)
April 2010: selection by reviewing committee
May 2010: notification of selection
1 October 2010: full papers submitted

Conference: University of Kent
Friday 19 November - Saturday 20 November 2010:
University of Kent, Canterbury

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

QUB ARCSOC lecture - Seamus Lennon - this Thursday

Click the poster above to enlarge.

Seamus Lennon, whose sketchbooks are on show in the current PLACE exhibition, gives a lecture this Thursday as part of the QUB ARCSOC lecture series. Thursday 4th March, 18:30; David Keir Building, LG_024 (map here).