Tuesday, 27 November 2012

DSD Launch BT1 Gateway Belfast Development Proposal

The Department for Social Development is seeking public comment for a key gateway site to Belfast city centre - BT1 Gateway. The 1.2 acre site is located at the junction of Carrick Hill and North Street and entirely within public ownership.

BT1 Gateway. Credit: DSD.

Library Square, Belfast Public Realm Consultation

The Department for Social Development, Benoy, Peter Brett Associates and Drivers Jonas Deloitte have developed a public realm scheme over the past six months with key stakeholders for Library Square, Belfast. 

The space is located at the junction of Library Street and Royal Avenue near Central Library and the University of Ulster. With proximity to these civic buildings in mind the designers intends to reflect a communications and learning theme. The team intend to promote the use of media and social connectivity by providing public access to wireless internet and installing a media wall to the side of Central Library. 

Library Square Public Realm Scheme. Credit: DSD.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

PLACE Movement Map - Plot Your Route

As part of an upcoming exhibition at PLACE during December and January we are carrying out a research project, with PLACE Volunteer Andrew Molloy, into movement around Belfast.

Click Here to Plot Your Route.

Contributing is easy and takes just 2 - 3 minutes. Instructions and the map are available at this link:

The Citizen Urbanists Exhibition will launch Thursday 6th December, 6pm at PLACE. All welcome.

Friday, 23 November 2012

ARCSOC Movie Night: The Pruitt-Igoe Myth | Tues 27 Nov, 6pm, QUB

Queen's University's Architecture Society host their 3rd movie night at the Peter Froggart Centre, QUB on Tuesday 27th November at 6pm. For details click the below flyer to enlarge...

Click to Enlarge.

PING talk: Rory Hyde in Conversation with Northern Irish Practitioners

G-ate is a group meal and talk about the challenges faced and opportunities available by creative practices in Northern Ireland and further afield.

The event will take place from 6.30 - 7.30pm, Monday 10th December at PS² Belfast. Architect, researcher and writer Rory Hyde will lead the conversation with Northern Irish practitioners. 

G-ate, 10 Dec, 6.30 - 7.30pm, PS², 18 Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2GP

It was recently announced that Northern Ireland will host the next G8 Summit. G-ate is PS²'s very own summit as part of its PING talk series. The informal group meal and conversation will be set around the PS² ping-pong table and the agenda will centre on the future of the creative process in post-conflict places. The challenges and opportunities faced by an invited audience of Northern Irish creative practitioners (architects & non-architects) working in contested sites, will be expressed in order to gauge the perspective from a relative 'outsider' who will frame the discussion through conversations of 'future practice' elsewhere.

Places are limited so confirmation of attendance is required by emailing [email protected]. Please include your name and occupation.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

NI Executive agree to proceed with £98.5m Belfast Rapid Transit system

The Northern Ireland Executive has today endorsed the Department for Regional Development’s Outline Business Case for the Belfast Rapid Transit system. The document identifies the recommended network routes, procurement strategy and business model for Belfast Rapid Transit.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Cities as Living Labs

PLACE Volunteer Tiago Picão explains the European Living Labs initiative...

A new concept has been gaining strength since 2006, supported by the European Commission’s plan for a European Innovation System. On that year, under the auspices of the Finnish European Presidency, ENoLL, the European Network of Living Labs (, was founded. This blog entry will introduce Living Labs and highlight how the project directly relates to the built environment and particularly cities.

A Living Lab, as defined by ENoLL, is a real-life test and experimentation environment where users and producers co-create innovations. Living Labs have been characterized by the European Commission as Public-Private-People Partnerships (PPPP) for user-driven open innovation.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Free photography workshops | Sign up by 5pm on 15th November

Are you aged 16-25 and interested in learning about photography?

As part of our somewhereto_ pop-up in Derry~Londonderry, we're offering two great workshops that will introduce you to photographic techniques that capture the built environment in a unique way.

Attendance is free and all materials will be provided, but spaces are strictly limited.
For more information and to register, click here
The deadline for registration is 5pm on Thursday 15th November. 

Image by Denzil Browne

Pinhole camera workshop 
Session 1 
Wednesday 21st Nov, 11am-1pm
Session 2
Thursday 22nd Nov, 11am-12:30pm


Image by Phillip McCrilly


Point-and-shoot disposable camera workshop
Session 1
Saturday 17th Nov, 1-3pm
Session 2
Thursday 22nd Nov, 5:30-7:30

Friday, 9 November 2012

University of Ulster launch new Masters courses in Marine Spatial Planning & Coastal and Marine Tourism

The University of Ulster has launched two new distance learning Masters courses on Marine Spatial Planning and Coastal and Marine Tourism.

MSc Marine Spatial Planning. Click to Enlarge.

Building the Future: Using Modern Media to Facilitate Connections Across the Built Environment

Building the Future: Using modern media to facilitate connections across the built environment is a free lecture by Professor Anna Scothern on Tuesday 4th December 2012 at University of Ulster, Jordanstown.

Using modern media to facilitate connections across the built environment.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Connecting Territories Exhibition | 30 Nov - 9 Dec, Obel

Connecting Territories is an exhibition illustrating the works of ten innovative architecture practices from across the UK and Ireland exploring the essence of dwelling.

Each practice will be showcasing three projects from their portfolio of built and unbuilt works.

Connecting Territories

East Belfast Connections Research

The University of Ulster has selected Inner-East Belfast for a research project that looks into how the streets used to be before the 1980s redevelopment and how these streets are today. In collaboration with the East Belfast Partnership they want to find out if the redevelopment has changed the area for the better or for the worse.

Comparison of 1964 and 2000 street layout. East Belfast.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Defining architecture ... so far

By PLACE Volunteer Eve Russell (Stage II BSc Architecture Student)

It is a long asked question by the public, architecture students and even architects themselves as to what architecture is. Something that is designed by trained professionals, critiqued by the experts and non-experts and experienced by everyone. It is accessible in its physical qualities, yet the concepts and form of the building may often only be visible to the trained eye. Architecture spans beyond its built state, it attempts to stand out, blend in, and work for the client, the user and the designer. It is an entity of controversy and unity; people are divided and brought together through the built environment that is architecture.

While dictionaries attempt to define architecture as: 
“the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings. The style in which a building is designed or constructed, especially with regard to a specific period, place or culture.”
(Oxford English Dictionary 2012)

Art Gallery, Berlin. A space unoccupied by people.
Photo by Eve Russell.

I feel that it is something that stretches beyond a dictionary definition, in many ways architecture is indefinable, while the product itself has physical boundaries, the ideas, atmosphere and impact upon people socially, economically and psychologically can be infinite. It plays with scale, the necessity to work your way up in scale, from the greater context to the immediate context, to the building itself and the spaces it creates.

Architecture predominantly centres itself around the difference between a space and place. This really defines what architecture is in my opinion. The main difference between a space and place is people. A space is a created area, a defined area, an area with the potential to be used and explored. However, a place is somewhere used, with purpose and occupied. It has a user, and has gained purpose in its design, through its use it has been developed and explored; it has improved as a functional space.

The MAC, Belfast. A space occupied by people.
Photo by Eve Russell.
So, while I am an architecture student still exploring the answer to that question from friends, lecturers, and the public...what is architecture? I am drawing the conclusion that it is a journey. It is a journey for the architect, client, user and building. The architect ventures on a journey to achieve a building; the client embarks on a journey to achieve their aims; the user experiences the journey through the building and its interior and exterior impact; and the building?... it provides the journey itself, yet it comes on a journey with the architect through design development and changes, some are driven forward and some are left behind. Many buildings with potential have not yet been constructed, or have been discarded within the early stages of a project. It is bizarre to think that after a world full of buildings and designed spaces that there are still new experiences to have in buildings, that there are more and more designs coming through, therefore, the journey of architecture continues...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

North Belfast: Loughside Area Redevelopment Latest

By PLACE Volunteer Jack Corcoran.

Supermarket franchise Asda has cancelled plans for a redevelopment of the Loughside area of North Belfast. The proposed mixed use development was to include an Asda superstore and filling station along with retail warehouses, a residential development and a number of community-based facilities to compensate for the loss of a park and playing fields. The planning application, received in November 2009, has yet to be decided upon which has likely led to Asda's decision to withdraw plans. In a statement from the Department of the Environment it is noted that the applicants (Belfast City Council/Bayshore Developments) “have indicated their desire that the application continue to be determined”. The Department of the Environment have emphasised that the Minister, Alex Attwood, would like all major developments to be processed in a timely manner, and in particular those which will create jobs. The statement also notes that the decision on the application is expected before Christmas.

Proposed Loughside Supermarket.

The redevelopment proposal had not been broadly welcomed but a petition with over 1,000 names indicated substantial support. Many who signed the petition argue that the project is vital for job creation and ensuring much needed investment for North Belfast. However an even more substantial campaign opposing the plans was established and 1737 individual letters of objections were received by Planning NI. Many of the letters are opposed to the loss of a local park.

The project now looks unlikely as ASDA state that the project is no longer viable and it is unclear if the proposed sale of land from Belfast City Council to the developer will go ahead. Planning permission could still be approved but without the support of ASDA the project appears unviable for a developer.

In the community benefits statement, developed around the project, “significant recreational and sports facilities” were promised. These include a floodlit 3G pitch, changing facilities, a children’s play and activity area and a community meeting area. The statement also suggests the development of affordable housing, the planting of an additional 566 trees and a promise to target local job seekers. With the development now unlikely there are some in the local community who question if these projects should still go ahead, particularly as the supermarket has been located in the community for some years.

Loughside Park.

Whilst it seems likely that the community benefits have been lost, the campaigning residents are content that the park will not be lost and there will be no significant increase in traffic.  While jobs are the priority for many of the local residents and local representatives there must also be regard to other significant issues as highlighted in the community campaign. Through a lack of engagement between the developer, planning and communities there was a lack of understanding by all parties and in the end any potential development has been lost. 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Job Opportunity | Forum for Alternative Belfast

Forum for Alternative Belfast, are looking for an architect / graduate, part or full time, for a temporary contract to work on a specific project. 

Forum for Alternative Belfast's Missing City Map. 

The project will require good AutoCad 2D and Sketch-up skills. A methodical approach and a love of accuracy will be needed. Short term contract, flexibility on hours possible.

To apply send your CV to [email protected]