Saturday, 30 April 2011

Invitation from Causeway Museum Service

Information on an arts programme as part of conservation work on Coleraine's Market Yard below.

Street sign on the Market Yard. Image via Albert Bridge.

Causeway Museum Service would like to extend an invitation to amateur artists in any medium to take part in a unique project for the Market Yard, Coleraine. 
Photographers, painters, sculptors, writers and poets are all welcome. They will have the opportunity to observe and record a major heritage development and take part in a historic exhibition. 
The Market Yard was built in Coleraine in 1829 to take the thriving agricultural trade out of the town centre. For 150 years it was a commercial hub. It was also a meeting place where people met to trade stories and ideas. 
The Market Yard has been closed off and derelict for some time, but is about to undergo a rebirth. Conservation work on the structures will commence shortly to make the Yard accessible. Council are currently awaiting a decision on major funding to build a new museum and other facilities within the soon to be restored site. 
The conservation works programme will be making a technical record. However Causeway Museum Service would love to see how artists would observe and portray any aspect of the project before the conservation works commences. 
All amateur artists are invited to join a group which will have unique access to the Yard. All work produced will be eligible for selection for a major exhibition. 
An inaugural meeting will take place at Coleraine Town Hall Council Chamber on Thursday 12th May at 7.30pm . 
This will provide a chance to learn the background to the project and discuss ideas for the programme. 
Please contact us if you are interested in the project, even if you cannot attend the meeting.
John Hamilton on 028 7034 7235 or email [email protected]

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Interchange: 29th Apr - 21st May at Golden Thread Gallery

Click the flyer to enlarge.
Interchange, a new exhibition and series of events by the Forum for Alternative Belfast, begins at the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast tonight from 6pm. The exhibition continues until 21st May.

More information: Golden Thread Gallery

Sunday, 24 April 2011

PLACE site visit to Titanic Belfast

By Gary Potter

On Tuesday 19th April 2011 PLACE caught up on the progress of the Titanic Belfast building at Titanic Quarter.

Titanic Belfast. Photo by Gary Potter.

Titanic Belfast is a mammoth project which located right beside the Drawing Offices in which the plans for Titanic where drawn up, the slipway where she was launched and the dry dock in which the Titanic tender - Nomadic - is currently being refurbished. Titanic Belfast will be the home of a "world-class" visitor attraction with nine interpretive galleries over four floors following the Titanic story from conception, through construction and launch, to the maiden voyage and tragic end. The 15,000sq m building also hosts a  banqueting suite, designed to reflect the interior of the Titanic, on the fifth and sixth floors with spectacular views of the surrounding area. As PLACE found out - This is not all the building has to offer! 

The evening started with a fantastic one hour presentation from the enthusiastic Noel Molloy (Harcourt Construction) who is Project Director of Titanic Belfast. Noel is passionate about this project and with his determination to create a world class project for Belfast we are surely in for a treat come April 2012. Our presentation covered the complex construction processes, which included Ireland's largest ever concrete pour, and the detailed and absorbing galleries which will whisk visitors back in time.

Eager to get out on site we quickly booted up - hi vis jackets and hard hats on and we were off across the construction compound to appreciate the scale of the project in person.

Starting our Hard Hat Tour of Titanic Belfast. Photo by Gary Potter.

Once inside the building the sheer scale of the structure hits you. The internal atrium of the £73m structure will host the longest escalator in Ireland when opened next year. On the ground floor will be ticketing booths, a souvenir shop, cafe and general visitor facilities.

Internal Atrium. Photo by Gary Potter.

Moving briskly along we ascended up through the first four floors as Noel pointed out what each area would eventually become when the nine interpretive galleries are opened to the public in one years time. Construction is progressing apace as plaster board and services are being installed before the building is fully water-tight. It was near 7pm and the building was still a very active building site - no one can allow for an over run on this construction project - April 2012 is a deadline that cannot be missed.

Photo by Gary Potter.
Each gallery is carefully thought out to provide an authentic experience for visitors. Replica life boats and cabins from the Titanic along with a massive replica of the ship itself will all take positions throughout the linear experience. 

And this is not just any ordinary exhibition! Visitors will move through one of the nine galleries on a six seater car which can spin 360 degrees and move up or down by eight feet as guests feel rivets fly past their head and sense the smells of the shipyard. As Noel provided more details on each gallery it was clear that this building would house something very unique for Northern Ireland.

Photo by Gary Potter.

In one corner of the building work has already begun on the theater which will take visitors to the bottom of the ocean where Robert Ballard is videoing new material of the Titanic wreckage exclusively for the Titanic Belfast exhibition. 

Titanic Belfast Theater. Photo by Gary Potter.

As we climb above the fourth floor and Noel reveals the fifth and sixth floors we realize yet again that this building is deceivingly more spacious as you ascend to higher levels due to the unique shape of the structure. The upper two floors will host a Titanic themed banqueting suite with fantastic glazed walls and roof. 

Titanic Belfast banqueting suite. Photo by Gary Potter.

On top of the building the views are spectacular across the city. The surrounding landscaping has yet to get underway but Noel promises that this will be as, if not more spectacular. The small concrete structure below the main building is one of four pavillion buildings which will provide access to the double level basement car park, servicing and commercial space.

The view from the sixth floor of Titanic Belfast. Photo by Gary Potter.
Once on the roof of the building Noel explained the landscaping around the Titanic Belfast project and the separate Slipways project which will see both slipways landscaped to provide a vast area of open space for public events.
Titanic Slipway. Photo by Gary Potter.
The views from the roof also provided yet more comparisons to highlight the scale of the building....

Harland & Wolff cranes seen from the roof of Titanic Belfast. Photo by Gary Potter.
As we finished our tour by Noel, who provided an informative and enthusiastic commentary, we exited the building and took in the view of the stunning zinc cladding. Thousands of unique pieces have been applied to the structure in recent months to provide the unique appearance of the building.

Titanic Belfast's unique zinc cladding. Photo by Gary Potter.
Titanic Belfast. Photo by Gary Potter.

The PLACE tour of Titanic Belfast concluded with everyone buzzing from a fantastic experience. Everyone was grateful to Noel for his time and the passionate manner in which he presented what is sure to be a world class venue. The scale and complexity of the project was now much more clear and everyone left with a sense of pride in what the Northern Ireland built environment profession can achieve when we aim for a 'world class' vision.

PLACE Chairman, Bill Morrison had this to say after the site visit...
A fascinating presentation given by project manager Noel Molloy of Harcourt Construction. I am rarely enthused by hype but make no mistake - this building with its four hulls and spectacular cladding is truly iconic. It gave me a huge lift to learn from the man in the hot seat about not just the structural challenges but the exciting exhibits and experiences that will be on offer in 12 months’ time. This project is really going to make a difference. It will be a visitor attraction of enormous significance to the city and to Northern Ireland in the next decade. Molloy is passionate in his belief in this turnkey project. His mission is not just to deliver it on time, but to create something that will be the best in the world.
 Never mind the London Olympics. 2012 will be a titanic year to remember - the turning point when things started looking up again in this part of the world.

All the pictures from the site visit will be online in the coming days - keep an eye out for these fascinating photos!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Irish Scottish Forum for Spatial Planning Centenary Conference at Queens University - 31 May

The Conference is free but advance registration is essential as places are limited. To register email your details to [email protected] before Monday 16 May 2011.

Conference schedule.... (Click to enlarge)

Monday, 18 April 2011

UCD School of Architecture Landscape and Civil Engineering and The Irish Landscape Institute Conference

UCD School of Architecture Landscape and Civil Engineering and The Irish Landscape Institute have organised a Conference for Friday 20 May in Dublin which will be of particular interest to anyone involved in the design, management and procurement of public realm. The conference is sponsored by the Goethe Institute and Diatec Digital.

Venue: The William Jefferson Clinton Auditorium, UCD, Dublin
Date: Friday 20 May
Time: 8.30 - 17.30

Passive House Training at South Eastern Regional College begins in May

The first ever certified course in the global leading energy efficiency standard, namely, the Passive House Standard, will be rolled out in Northern Ireland in May. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) is currently supporting two innovative Passive House schemes, one being the Dungannon scheme, (new build and retrofit) and a number of private Passive House projects are also in the pipeline. Some NIHE staff have themselves taken a course with the Passive House Academy -so this is your chance to get involved in the revolution and take a step ahead of the rest!

The course will be held at South Eastern Regional College (SERC) in their Ards Campus. It comprises an 8 Day Course on May 10th to 13th and May 31st to June 3rd, leading to the Certified European Passive House Designer qualification.

The link below provides further information:

Passive House guidelines:

(CITB registered companies are entitled to £65 per day assistance for the course)

Friday, 15 April 2011

Call for Submissions: RSUA Conservation Exhibition at PLACE

Deadline 06.05.2011

The RSUA and PLACE present an exhibition of conservation work by local practices from 5th September to 7th October 2011. This coincides with the NIEA European Heritage Open Days on 10th and 11th September, and offers the opportunity to promote conservation to a wider audience. We are seeking entries to the exhibition from those interested in exhibiting their schemes.

Click to enlarge flyer. Download PDF.

For information on submitting your scheme, download the PDF info sheet: click here.

Call for submissions: Sterile Environment

Deadline 22.04.2011

Exhibition launching Thurs 2nd June at Catalyst Arts, Belfast. A joint Catalyst Arts and PLACE exhibition exploring the vitality, heritage and character of old and new Belfast. What is the city becoming? Are we protecting heritage adequately? Are we encouraging sustainable design and quality architecture? This art and architecture crossover exhibition explores the city of the past, present and future.
Click the flyer to enlarge

Call for submissions
We want you to explore the threat of extinction of many of Belfast’s older buildings and the eradication of the heritage and character associated with the city that makes way for new buildings and a new way of living. We are seeking artists and architects to respond to the old and the new by submitting proposals by 12 noon on Friday 22nd April.

To submit your work
Please send the following to to [email protected] with "Sterile Environment" in the subject line
- CV (one A4 Page)
- Artist's/Architect’s statement
- Up to five images of your work/link to your website

A New PLACE - University of Ulster Architecture Students Final Review

For their coursework this semester at University of Ulster, first year architecture students have been set the challenge of designing a new headquarters for a mystery client. Having analysed sites across Belfast, and researched the city's urban and cultural variety, we at PLACE were revealed as the client...

For the past couple of months the students have been hard at work designing innovative, exciting and often quirky buildings to accommodate PLACE. This Thursday 14 April PLACE director Michael Hegarty visited the students to contribute to the final review process. As an established architect and expert advisor to the Ministerial Advisory Group on Architecture and the Built Environment (MAG) Michael was able to offer invaluable advice to the students. After some final amendments the students high quality work will be showcased at PLACE between 2nd - 11th June 2011. Make sure to note it in your diary! 

To give you a sneak peak at some of the work undertaken we have uploaded some pictures from Thursday...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

PLACE Study Trip to Derry-Londonderry, 5th April 2011

Oonagh Baxter, one of our volunteers at PLACE, talks about our recent visit to Derry...

PLACE Study Trip to Derry-Londonderry, 5th April 2011

A recent visit to Derry-Londonderry offered insight into the exciting opportunities presented by cultural regeneration. A walking expedition, guided by PLACE director Michael Hegarty, provided a whistle-stop tour of some of the cultural enterprises established within the city.

The walk weaved its way through the streets and walls of Derry and took in symbols of its divided past, from the churches to cathedrals, murals to graffiti and structures of protection and defence. However, clearly evident was the emergence of a new cultural identity and a recognition that city’s future should be shaped but not determined by its past. Social and economic investment in the city’s cultural capital has culminated in Derry receiving the eminent status of City of Culture 2013; an opportunity to celebrate the distinctiveness rather than the division of Derry’s culture. The tour quickly uncovered a scattering of cultural gems, from Culturlann, Void and the Museum of Free Derry, the walk led us around the walls past the first Derry Presbyterian Church, Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall and St Columb's Cathedral as well as offering views of new additions to the cultural mix including the Craft Village, Playhouse and Verbal Arts Centre. These initiatives have injected new life into historic buildings and opened alternative channels for creating connections between past and present.

Walking Tour Route: Anti-clockwise from top left
The day began with breakfast in the buzzing Irish language centre, Culturlann. Manager Donncha MacNiallais provided a tour of the building and its facilities which provides a centre for the celebration of Irish language and its cultural links to music, dance and education.

Next stop was Void, an artist-led contemporary art space in the basement of the old city factory. Excavation of the original floorspace has created a unique usable space that houses two galleries, six studios, conference room and education area. This has enabled Derry to attract and display contemporary art of international repute.

The tour was then led towards the infamous Bogside to the Museum of Free Derry, a social economy initiative which shares the area’s difficult and troubled past focussing on the civil rights era of the 1960s and the Free Derry/early troubles era of the 1970s.

We were treated to a tour of the impressive Playhouse & Context Gallery by Niall McCaughan. The building houses an array of arts and activities including gallery space, workshops, dance hall, theatre as well as the Lilliput Theatre Company, Ireland’s foremost theatre company of people with learning disabilities. The context gallery offers a vital platform for the promotion of emerging Northern Irish and Irish artists and we were fortunate to meet and chat to exhibiting artist Locky Morris.

The tension between Derry’s divided past and a shared future was strongly depicted in Antony Gormley’s contemporary sculpture which consists of two identical figures standing back to back facing opposite directions yet inextricably connected.

Lunch was provided in the Blooms café of the Verbal Arts Centre, a centre for the promotion of the written and spoken word. The centre is housed in the beautifully refurbished First Derry School located in a prime position along the city’s walls. The centre’s many initiatives seek to offer discourse for the celebration of commonality and diversity.

The tour concluded at the former Ebrington Barracks, a major development opportunity offering potential for culture-led regeneration. Caoimhin Corrigan, Cultural Broker for ILEX, outlined the opportunities and challenges facing the city as it approaches City of Culture 2013.

These developments clearly demonstrate the optimism within the city and the desire for Derry to establish its reputation as a vital space for the celebration, promotion and sharing of arts, history and culture. The forthcoming City of Culture 2013 offers a great platform for the city to transform its divided political history into a shared cultural future.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Our April - July programme has launched

We've just received delivery of our new programme, featuring exhibitions, lunchbox talks, tours, films and more. We'll be distributing it to various arts venues and cafes early next week and of course there will be lots of copies here in PLACE too. You can also view it online above. See you at a PLACE event soon.

PLACE visit to Derry

PLACE visit to Derry, a set on Flickr.
On Tuesday 5th April 2011 PLACE visited Derry to see how arts organisations are preparing for the 2013 UK City of Culture. Together with Down District Council we toured various organisations on a day long visit which culminated in a presentation by ILEX to update PLACE on progress with Ebrington Barracks.