Thursday, 24 January 2013

Realising the Value of NI's Historic Environment | Fri 1 Feb, 1pm, MBR, Belfast

Northern Ireland Environment Agency will host a lecture in the MBR, NIEA, Hill Street, Belfast on Friday 1st February, 1pm. Realising the Value of Northern Ireland's Historic Environment will be hosted by Dr Brian Williams of NIEA's Strategy Group. 

For more information phone NIEA on 02890 543159.

NIEA MBR, Hill Street, Belfast.

Talk: Urban Houses | Mon 28 Jan, 6pm, MBC, Lisburn Rd

Forum for Alternative Belfast present a talk by Jan Kleihues of Kleihues + Kleihues, Berlin on Monday 28th January, 6pm at the Medical Biology Centre, Lisburn Road, Belfast.

Image by Stefan Muller.

Jan Kleihues will talk about his practice and the work of his father Josep Paul Kleihues who was the director of the IBA87neu. The IBA (Internationale Bauausstellung) was a housing exhibition running from 1979 until 1987 and beyond, international architects were invited to build innovative housing that also repaired shattered Berlin.

Prof. Michael McGarry who worked in the office of JP Kleihues during the time of the IBA87 will join the discussion afterwards.

Date: Monday 28th January 2013
Time: 6pm
Location: Medical Biology Centre Teaching Centre, Lecture Theatre 2, Lisburn Road

Event supported by the British Council.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Big Bang Conference Series: Countdown to Planning Reform 2015 | Assembly Buildings, Belfast | Fri 1st Feb

RTPI Northern Ireland and the Irish Planning Institute present The Big Bang Conference Series: Countdown to Planning Reform 2015. The first in a series of conferences takes place at The Assembly Buildings Conference Centre (Spires), Fisherwick Place, Belfast on Friday 1st February at 9.15am.

"The Planning System in Northern Ireland is on course for a root and branch transformation that will see the vast majority of its statutory planning functions devolved from central government departments to eleven new Councils in 2015. The transfer of most planning functions to new district councils effectively involves the creation of a completely new planning system for Northern Ireland - a system which requires new roles, responsibilities and relationships for all participants in the planning process. The process of transformation is already underway and structures are currently being put in place to facilitate the new dispensation."

My View: Titanic Quarter - Part 2 out of 2 | Jamie Stirrat

During one week in January at PLACE we hosted Belfast High student Jamie Stirrat as he completed his week of school work experience. At the time Jamie was studying for his A-Levels with a view to studying Architecture at University. During the week on the PLACE Blog Jamie presented his thoughts on our local built environment.

In Jamie's second article he examined the Titanic Quarter to assess how successful it has been as a tourist destination.

Jamie Stirrat

The Titanic quarter has certainly provided a facelift for this area of Belfast, but is it a good tourist destination? In this blog post I will the Titanic Quarter as a tourist destination.

Monday, 14 January 2013

This is the Place | announcement of prize winners

At the end of October last year, PLACE, somewhereto_NI, and Belfast Exposed put out a call for submissions for a competition called This is the Place | Photography from the Ground Up. We invited young people from across Northern Ireland to show us their places as they see and experience them. We had a fantastic response representing a broad interpretation of the brief and displaying a high standard of young talent.  

Just before we broke for Christmas we got together to select the winners with our panel of esteemed judges - Pauline Hadaway, director of Belfast Exposed; Damien Duffy, artist-in-residence and education programme co-ordinator at Void Derry; and Brian J Morrison, Belfast-based artist and lecturer in photography at the University of Central Lancashire.

Pauline, Damien, and Brian skillfully went through each submission, evaluating the image on a range of criteria, including interpretation of the brief, subject matter, and composition, before coming to a unanimous decision on first, second, and third places.

We are delighted to announce that the winners are...

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

My View: Titanic Quarter - Part 1 of 2 | Jamie Stirrat

During one week in January at PLACE we hosted Belfast High student Jamie Stirrat as he completed his week of school work experience. At the time Jamie was studying for his A-Levels with a view to studying Architecture at University. During the week on the PLACE Blog Jamie presented his thoughts on our local built environment.

In Jamie's first article he examined the Titanic Quarter to assess how successful it has been as a regeneration project.

Jamie Stirrat

I believe Titanic Quarter is one of the most modern, urban and uplifting places in Belfast. Going there you can find Belfast Met, apartments and hotels and many worldwide businesses such as Microsoft, Citi and IBM. This alone means the Titanic Quarter is already one of the most interesting and ideal places to live and work in Northern Ireland, and it is located in the centre of Belfast.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Inner North Belfast Campus Development Group Launch Event | Fri 18 Jan, 9am, Clifton House

During 2012 representatives from community organisations in the Inner North Belfast area have held a series of discussions to develop an engagement process in relation to the new University of Ulster development. 

As a result of these discussions they have agreed a short charter that they believe will maximise benefits for the community and for the University.

The Campus Development Group (CDG) will be formally launched at Clifton House, Belfast on Friday 18th January at 9am. Forum for Alternative Belfast and Community Places will provide technical advice and support. 

The following is the charter developed by the Campus Development Group...

Monday, 7 January 2013

Belfast Civic Trust AGM and Talk | Mon 21 Jan, 5.30pm at Christchurch

Belfast Civic Trust's Annual General Meeting will take place at 5.30pm on Monday 21st January at Christchurch, INST, Belfast.

Belfast Civic Trust AGM: Mon 21 Jan, 5.30pm.

The meeting will include guest speaker Joe Jordan, President of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce who will lead a talk titled 'The Regeneration of Belfast City Centre'.

Lorraine Robinson from the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society will also lead a talk titled ' Reuse of Heritage Buildings'.

Music and Refreshments will be provided. For more information visit

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

2012 Highlights on the PLACE Blog

2012 was yet another busy year for the PLACE Blog with so many highlights to chose from.  Here are just a few of the posts that caught our followers attention during 2012:

PLACE site visit to the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre in early 2012.

Connecting Places Series: Bicycling Belfast
- " In a country where 65% of all trips taken are under 5 miles in distance, and in a city where up to 70% of inhabitants in some inner city areas do not have access to a car, can we really say that cycling should have no significant future in Belfast?"
- Aaron Coulter curated a series of articles exploring cycling in Belfast with the aim of generating critical debate. He certainly achieved that! Twitter was abuzz with activity during this series and it even caught the attention of the Dublin Mayor Andrew Montague - a cycling enthusiast himself. 

Creating a Giant Experience
- "The Giant’s Causeway now has an architecturally stunning and sustainable venue that combines impressive design, innovation, precision and craftsmanship to create a building that sits (quite literally) within the beautiful north Antrim landscape."
- Gary Potter detailed the lengthy planning and design process, and documented the challenges of delivering a "world class visitor attraction" and "architectural masterpiece" at the Giant's Causeway. This blog post also documented the PLACE site visit to the new Causeway Centre a few months before completion.

Titanic: An Emerging Urban Quarter
- "Queen’s Island is a fascinating man made peninsula with a titanic history stretching back to the mid nineteenth century. The land, formed by spoil from excavating the River Lagan later became the site of one of the greatest shipyards in the world, and now in the 21st century possibly a new urban quarter for Belfast."
- As Titanic took over Belfast early in 2012 Gary Potter opened this blog post in 1613 and traveled through an absorbing near 400-year voyage to 2001 and the beginnings of the modern Titanic Quarter.
The Olympic Torch on the North Coast
- "...great snaps of the Olympic Flame among some of the iconic scenery of the north coast... [and]...some of the architectural sights of the area."
- As the Olympic Torch travelled around Northern Ireland our photo-blogger David Bunting captured the flame at the picturesque north Antrim coast.

Ireland's First Motorway Turns 50
- "When it opened at 6am on 10 July 1962 it was celebrated as a futuristic super-highway designed to facilitate fast, modern travel in an era when cars were in the ascendancy."
- Local road enthusiast Wesley Johnston made a guest appearance on the PLACE Blog to mark the 50th anniversary of the M1 Motorway.

What I learned from the FAB Summer School 2012
- "What is clear to me is the need for a comprehensive city plan that looks at Belfast as a whole. Where does Belfast wants to be in 50 years? There seems to be much potential, but sadly no collective vision. Only after the vision is clear can challenges posed in different areas be properly dealt with."
- Anna Skoura reported on the Forum for Alternative Belfast's "Re-stitching the city" Summer School held at Belfast City Hall and shared her thoughts on the week.

PLACE Urban Design Summer School Series
- "Of course we've had fun - memories of three teenagers acting out The Sydney Opera House in architectural charades will never leave me - but we've done some hard work too. We've looked at public art and real planning issues as well as architecture, and we've done a lot of drawing and writing."
- Gary Potter documented each of the five days of the PLACE Urban Design Summer School. The week long event for 14 - 20 years olds explored architecture, design, public art, sketching, photography, urban history and more! The week offered the 27 young people registered a chance to learn about the built environment through workshops, tours and more!

A Review of Chris Ware's 'Building Stories'
- "The medium of the comic book has long been derided as a medium for children, the ‘nerd,’ or the intellectually impaired.... A new epic graphic novel by Chris Ware stands in direct opposition to this."
- Andrew Molloy provided an excellent review of Chris Ware's new book earlier in the year as PLACE prepared to launch the Urban Library Series. 

City Shapers: Dr Callie Persic
- "I really believe in Belfast. I believe in the greatness of Belfast. I would like to see Belfast thrive and be its own thing and not become just another city that you could find anywhere. My vision for Belfast is to have a better connected city in every way - that people feel connected to each other and the city and that there is a better sense of collective ownership."
- Ailish Killilea interviewed Callie, who works for the West Belfast Partnership Board, as part of PLACE's City Shapers series in which we meet the people making a difference to our built environment.

What to do with an Architecture Degree
- "Those who have completed a degree in architecture owe it to themselves to reassess their career decisions."
- Emma Campbell blogged about the opportunities for Architecture graduates outside of traditional Architecture and highlighted the many skills that graduates can apply to their design-related careers.

Cities as Living Labs
- "As cities and other urban environments quickly become the home of the majority of the human population the potential for Living Labs to be the ground for innovation grows."
- Tiago Picão explained the European Living Labs initiative and highlighted the significance for the built environment.

Defining Architecture... So Far
- "It is an entity of controversy and unity; people are divided and brought together through the built environment that is architecture."
- Eve Russell attempted to offer a definition of Architecture and explored the journey that architects, clients, people and buildings take.

The Past in the Present: The Legacy of the Cathedral Quarter
- "It is this distinctive character that attracts new public and private investment every year, with adrive to support the cultural quarter's engaging beauty and vitality."
Ailish Killilea and Anna Skoura explored some of the recognisable buildings of the Cathedral Quarter and attempted to create debate around issues of conservation and heritage in our built environment.


We hope you've enjoyed following the blog during 2012. We'll be posting again very shortly and hope to produce even more exciting new content during 2013. 

If you would like to get involved with the PLACE Blog during 2013 contact Gary on 028 9023 2524 or email [email protected]