Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Architecture Tours at European Heritage Open Days 2013

This year during the European Heritage Open Days weekend there are a number of architecture tours (including 8 free PLACE walking tours) across Northern Ireland. The Architecture tours during EHOD 2013 are free to attend but booking is required by phoning 028 9054 3022.

Walled City Partnership Tour of Derry~Londonderry
Walled City Partnership delivers Northern Ireland's largest Townscape Heritage Initiative. Walking tours through the walled city's north eastern quarter take in over twenty five historic buildings repaired under the scheme, and tell the story behind its success.

Departs 13 Magazine Street, Derry~Londonderry. Sat 14 Sept, 11am & 2pm and Sun 15 Sept, 11am & 2pm (tour lasts 45 mins)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

PLACE at European Heritage Open Days 2013

Click image for full information and booking links.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Launch of The Place-Making Podcast

Celia Spouncer at the entrance to Awakening the Narrows, her project to bring a vacant former guest house in Portaferry back to life. Celia is the subject of the first episode of our Place-Making Podcast. Photo: David Bunting, Images-NI.

Today, we're excited to be launching a new project: The Place-Making Podcast. The podcast has been developed by the creative team here at PLACE along with a dedicated group of volunteers.

We'll be reporting on the initiatives, organisations and individuals making better places around Northern Ireland. We'll meet architects and urban designers, planners and civil servants, councillors, lobbyists, campaigners, critics, artists...

Portaferry is the setting for our first episode. Photo: David Bunting, Images-NI.

I'd like to give a huge thanks to Celia Spouncer for being our guinea pig on the podcast: her project, Awakening the Narrows, makes for an unconventional, but hopefully compelling, first episode. Her story is all about the particular place she finds herself (the lovely town of Portaferry on the Ards Peninsula) and the impact she hopes to have there.

I'd also like to thank Rebekah McCabe and David Bunting who contributed their skills and creativity to the episode. And we'd like to extend a welcome to Anna, Nadine and Andrew who are getting involved as volunteers on the podcast. (If you're interested in getting involved, check out the volunteering page on our website:

You can stream the first episode of The Place-Making Podcast below, or visit the podcast homepage for lots more background information and photography from our visit to Portaferry:

Have a listen, and tell us what you think.


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

somewhereto_ shape your place: Bangor

This summer PLACE and somewhereto_ have taken over a vacant retail unit on Bangor's Main Street to offer young people aged 16-25 a free space to showcase their talent and develop skills. The re:store project brings a flash of colour and activity to a previously empty space and demonstrates the potential alternative uses for spaces in our town centres.

North Down Mayor Andrew Muir presenting prizes to our fantastic
young people at the PLACE Urban Design Academy.

During our time in Bangor we have sought to enable young people to contribute to the shaping of their places. During the 2nd annual Urban Design Academy young people explored the various techniques used to shape the built environment. On the final day Catherine Adams of URS - one of the Landscape Architects developing Bangor's new public realm scheme - worked with the young people to develop their visions for Bangor's public spaces. Most of the participants suggested greater pedestrianisation of Main Street and an improved public realm. Other proposals involved the reinstatement of an outdoor pool and beach and a redesign of street furniture to represent Bangor’s connection to the sea.

Young people present their proposals for Bangor's public realm.

The Bangor public realm project involves the provision of new paving, kerbstones, street furniture, lighting, planting and public art from January 2014. The consultation process for you to comment on the proposals is now open until Friday 13 September 2013 and you can 'shape your place' by calling into our pop-up space on Bangor's Main Street to view the designs and leave your comments. Alternatively you can find out more and comment through North Down Borough Council's website.

An example section of the Bangor public realm proposals.

For further information on the Bangor public realm project please contact [email protected] or telephone 028 9127 0371 extn 6026.

Friday, 16 August 2013

A Review of the PLACE Urban Design Academy 2013

The PLACE Urban Design Academy 2013 took place in the first week of August. Following last year's event at the Obel in Belfast, this second edition was held in the somewhereto_ re:store venue, occupying an empty retail space on Bangor Main Street. Young people aged 14 - 19 explored the built environment through workshops, tours and talks.

PLACE Urban Design Academy participants.

PLACE appoint new Creative Director

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Corr as the new Creative Director of PLACE. Michael is an architect and urban designer and has previously worked with Design for London at the Greater London Authority. He is co-director of Pie architecture London and currently runs an architecture studio at London Metropolitan University.

PLACE Creative Director Michael Corr

As Creative Director of PLACE Michael is responsible for developing the creative vision of the organisation in conjunction with the team and the board. Michael will represent PLACE at a regional, national and international level, liaising with key clients and partners and developing future creative and cultural projects for the organisation.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

DoE Minister launches the draft Living Places Urban Design Guide at the PLACE Urban Design Academy

Department of the Environment Minister Mark H Durkan launched the consultation on an urban stewardship and design guide for Northern Ireland at the PLACE Urban Design Academy.

On Thursday 8 August the Minister visited the Academy to see how PLACE encourages young people to think creatively and explore ways to shape their local areas. Through PLACE's somewhereto_ project the Academy was able to take place in a former retail unit on Bangor’s main street. Using empty retail units in this way proves that thinking laterally can enhance the offering and environment of the high street and demonstrate alternative use of urban space.

Left - Right: Luke McMahon (Academy participant), DoE Minister Mark H Durkan,
James Hennessey (The Paul Hogarth Company) and Beth Wilson (Academy participant).

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

FAB Summer School 2013 - 'Why Are There No Trees?' | Mon 12 - Fri 16 August

This year’s Forum for Alternative Belfast Summer School considers how the greenways on the edges of the city can connect through the inner and centre city in a coherent way that helps connect city neighbourhoods. The week long study will also draw together all of FAB's previous year's work. 

On Monday morning from 9.30am invited speakers and specialists will succinctly lay out the context.

Two evening review sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, 6pm - 8pm, are open to the public to attend and openly contribute.

The week's findings will be presented publicly on Friday 16th, 4pm - 4.30pm in the City Hall, followed by open discussion that finishes before 5.30pm.

The public can visit the studio work at any time during the week. For full programme details visit

To register for Full Week Attendance (£25 unwaged and students / £50 waged) please email your interest to [email protected].

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Urban Design Academy - ready to go

As you may know, all next week we're holding the PLACE Urban Design Academy 2013 for ages 14-19 in Bangor. Thanks to support from North Down Borough Council, admission to the event is free - but you need to book online in advance: click here.

So what have we got in store? Check out the day-by-day rundown below...

Inside the former Woodsides Dept Store, 69-73 Main Street, Bangor - the venue for next week's PLACE Urban Design Academy. Photo: Conor McCafferty.