Monday, 24 November 2014

Titanic Foundation propose to ‘build a beach’ for Belfast

Titanic Foundation's proposal to build a beach in the heart of Titanic Quarter has been shortlisted for a potential £50,000 prize in the People’s Millions competition. 

The competition, which will be showcased on UTV evening news from Monday 24th November to Wednesday 26th November, will see community groups go head-to-head in a bid to win a Big Lottery Fund award for life-changing projects. Two groups each night will make their cases for viewers’ support to take home up to £50,000, with the public voting by phone to help decide who wins the prize. 

Titanic Foundation’s innovative ‘Build a Beach’ project is up for public vote today (Monday 24th November) and Titanic Foundation is encouraging people to pick up the phone and vote. From mobiles simply call 6228214 and from land-lines call 09015 228214.

If successful, the man made beach will be placed beside Titanic Belfast and will not only be a shared space for Belfast and the people of NI but also a fantastic venue for sporting, cultural and educational events and activities. From beach volleyball to building giant sand castles and playing life size board games, there will be something for all to enjoy. Beach huts will be erected, a must for Belfast’s climate, and it will provide the perfect location to welcome the arrival of the Tall Ships in July 2015.

Titanic Foundation Destination Manager, Maeve Curran, said; ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for Belfast and Northern Ireland. In the UK and Europe, urban beaches are fast becoming established and increasingly attractive. We want to bring a little bit of seaside to the city and have positioned the beach next to our World Class Visitor attraction, Titanic Belfast, to add to the visitor experience.'

In 2013 Paris Plage attracted 3 million people and many beaches are popping up in cities across the UK including Southbank in London, Cardiff, Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol.

Maeve added, ‘We intend to work with local primary schools across Belfast in the design process and we hope to recruit, train and work with a team of volunteers to help with regular beach maintenance and assist with the organisation of beach events and activities. Our aim is to create a place that will engage with and attract local communities, providing a space that belongs to everyone. Within easy reach anyone can walk, cycle, or hop on public transport and be on our beach within minutes. First we need to secure the funding. If you would use our beach, please pick up the phone and vote today (Monday 24th November). Anyone can vote up to ten times! We need your support.’

For full details on voting please visit

Friday, 21 November 2014

RSUA Conservation Site Visit: Sion Mills Stables - 3 December 2014

The Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) Conservation Committee invite you to visit the Stables at Sion Mills. The site visit will take place on 3rd December 2014, meeting in the Classroom at the Stables at 11am.

The Stables is a B+ listed building which had deteriorated over many years and became the subject of a historic buildings Repairs Notice. When that proved ineffective and the building was at risk of complete loss the NIEA stepped in and vested the Stables. This is the first time compulsory purchase powers have been employed in Northern Ireland to rescue a historic building.

Hearth Revolving Fund, which is the longest-established building preservation trust in the province, had agreed to take the building over in a back-to-back agreement with the DoE, and it then set about raising finance for the restoration of the Stables, which took place in two phases. Despite the severe deterioration of the building it was possible to retain and restore significant elements of historic fabric, but decisions also had to be made about the extent of intervention possible, and the approach to incorporating new elements. The building opened for business in September.

The visit will start with a short history of the project and description of the works, followed by a walk round the building. Coffee will be provided on arrival, and lunch will be available in the restaurant at the Stables.

Please confirm attendance before 28th November by emailing Marcus Patton at [email protected] There will be a charge of £5 payable on arrival. Lunch will be available at the Stables Restaurant afterwards, but booking is advisable as it can be very busy; a menu is available on request.

Job Opportunity: RSUA Director

The Royal Society of Ulster Architects welcomes applications for the role of RSUA Director. This strategic role will ensure the advancement of architecture and the promotion of high standards in the industry through delivery of our strategic plan, networking and liaison with key stakeholders, management of budgets, event management, development of services and managing operations and finance in close partnership with the RSUA Council and President / Honorary Officers.

The role will appeal to individuals who have a passion for design in the built environment, a desire to see standards upheld through knowledge impartation and service development, and the ability to implement plans which will extend the influence of this important work in NI and beyond.

For an application pack, please email [email protected] Closing Date: 5pm, Friday 12 December 2014. For any further information pleas email [email protected]

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Everything an Architect needs to know about Marketing - Mon 24 Nov, 6pm

Everything an architect needs to know about marketing is a public lecture and discussion led by architect Paul Iddon on Monday 24 November 2014. The talk begins at 6pm in Room LG/024, David Keir Building, Queen's University Belfast, Stranmillis Road.

Paul Iddon is an architect and current Managing Director of Spring UK Ltd - A Strategic brand and communication agency specialising in the built environment sector.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Undocumented - The Architecture of Migrant Detention / Wed 17 Dec 2014, 12noon at PLACE

Undocumented: The Architecture of Migrant Detention (The Architecture Observer, 2014) is graphic novel that documents the invisibilized architectures of incarceration. Situated in Canada, this book explores the growing global industry of immigration detention, and questions the role of architectural design in the control of migrant bodies in such spaces. Using the conventional architectural tools of representation, we spatialize and confront the silenced voices of those who are detained and the anonymous individuals who design spaces of confinement.

A presentation and conversation led by Tings Chak will focus on questions of architectural ethics in the design of spaces of confinement such as prisons and detention centres, and place it in a larger context of global migration and displacement.

Tings Chak is a multidisciplinary artist and architect whose work draws inspiration from anti-colonial, migrant justice, prison abolition, and spatial justice struggles. She is an organizer with No One Is Illegal - Toronto and the End Immigration Detention Network.

Books will be available for sale. For more information please visit:

Date: Wednesday 17 December 2014
Time: 12noon - 1pm
Venue: PLACE, 7 - 9 Lower Garfield Street, Belfast
Registration: Free to attend, but spaces are limited so booking is advised at this link:

Monday, 10 November 2014

Local Government & Planning Seminar - Wednesday 3 December 2014, 1.30pm

The NI Assembly will host a seminar on Local Government & Planning on Wednesday 3 December 2014, 1.30pm - 3.30pm. The event is free to attend; anyone wishing to register should email [email protected].

The seminar is part of the Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS). KESS aims to promote evidence-led policy and law-making within Northern Ireland and is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, formally partnering a legislative arm of government - the Assembly - with academia. Aiming to encourage debate and improve understanding, KESS provides a forum to present and disseminate research findings in a straightforward format, across the Programme for Government; making those findings easily accessible to decision-makers such as MLAs and Assembly committees, as well as the wider public sector.

KESS is jointly delivered by the Research and Information Service of the Assembly (RaISe), in partnership with Queen’s University, Ulster University and the Open University. For more information please visit:

Local Government & Planning
Wednesday 3 December, 2014, 1.30pm - 3.30pm
The Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont Estate

1.30pm: RaISe - Welcome
1.35pm: Assembly Committee Chair - Opening Remarks

1.45pm: Prof Colin Knox (Ulster) - Community Planning in Local Government - how do we do it?

One of the key reforms in local government reorganisation is the statutory power of community planning, which has been described as the equivalent of Delivering Social Change (OFMDFM) at council level. There is however a dearth of information on how to take the principles of community planning from concept to practical implementation in Northern Ireland. This presentation draws on a pilot study and sets out one approach to the outworking of community planning in local government. It will highlight potential tensions between community planning partners in relation to the issue of accountability: vertical accountability to the Minister, and Assembly and horizon accountability to the community planning partnership. It also offers insights into emerging central-local government relations and whether community planning could rebalance a devolved administration which has been centripetal in nature.

2.05pm: Mr Gavan Rafferty and Prof Greg Lloyd (Ulster) - Community Planning and Land Use Planning in Ireland’s Border Area

The convergence of local government reform in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is occurring at a unique moment in the island’s history, allowing further consideration on how an inter-jurisdictional co-operative framework can foster collaborative decision making on cross boundary community planning issues. In Northern Ireland, the proposal to introduce community planning will herald the reorganisation of local government, together with the transfer of statutory land use planning functions from the centre to the new local authorities. The Republic of Ireland is also witnessing a strengthening of its local governance arrangements. The Local Government Reform Act 2014 will create new local economic and community plans (LECP), which facilitate the better integration of public bodies, social and community partners to collaboratively work on integrated plans for specific actions in communities. This presentation explores the interfaces between land use planning (reforms) and community planning (innovation) in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the specific context of the border area. There are vertical, horizontal and lateral dimensions to this potential interface and the context is febrile with questions around culture, capacity and competence in executing the new governance arrangements on integrated service delivery and spatial development.

2.25pm: Dr Karl O’Connor (Ulster) - Policy making at the local level: Everyday policy making in our local councils

If greater powers are to be devolved to our new super councils, what type of institutions will inherit these powers and how will these powers be used? Existing public administration research would lead to the expectation of greater bureaucrat involvement in the traditionally more mundane aspects of policy formulation, while in areas of greater public and political interest greater political involvement in the decision-making process would be expected. Converse to these expectations, however, evidence from Belfast City Council suggests that the bureaucratic elite are found to play a pivotal role in the day-to-day management of power-sharing within the city. This presentation highlights research findings that identify two ‘typologies of bureaucrat’ within the Council; and these in turn provide an insight into what guides everyday decision-making. It further explains that the development of administrative capacity within our local Councils is a necessary condition not only for good governance and supporting local councillors, but also for conflict management. (The research was conducted using Q Methodology: a mixed method designed to measure core beliefs and values and was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council).

2.45pm: Discussion
3.15pm: RaISe - Closing Remarks
3.20pm: Networking and Refreshments

Film Screening: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio - Wed 12 Nov, 5pm, Ulster University

Film Screening: Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio
Date: Wednesday 12 November
Time: 5pm - 6pm
Venue: Conor Lecture Theatre, York Street, Ulster University
Booking: Not necessary. Free to attend

Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio is a documentary film on the late architect Samuel Mockbee and the radical educational design / build program known as the Rural Studio.

Hale County, Alabama is home to some of the most impoverished communities in the United States of America. It is also home to Auburn University’s Rural Studio, one of the most prolific and inspirational design-build outreach programs ever established. Citizen Architect is a documentary film chronicling the late Samuel Mockbee, artist, architect, educator and founder of the Rural Studio.

Citizen Architect explores Mockbee’s effort to provide students with an experience that forever inspires them to consider how they can use their skills to better their communities. Revealing the philosophy and heart behind the Rural Studio, the documentary is guided by passionate, frank and never-before-seen interviews with Mockbee himself.

The film follows, Jay Sanders, a young, first-time instructor at the Rural Studio as he leads a group of students in the process of crafting a home for their charismatic client, Jimmie Lee Matthews. Known within the community as Music Man because of his passion for soul music, Jimmie Lee maintains a healthy zeal for life, blasting R&B from his vast collection of used stereos and boasting that he “ain’t never met a stranger!” Over the course of the project a powerful bond forms between Sanders, the students and Music Man.

Citizen Architect supplements Mockbee's words and the students' experiences with perspective from other architects and designers who share praise and criticism of the Rural Studio, including Peter Eisenman, Michael Rotondi, Cameron Sinclair, Steve Badanes and Hank Louis. Their dialogue infuses the film with a larger discussion of architecture’s role in issues of poverty, class, race, education, social change and citizenship.

The film follows up with Music Man, Sanders, his students and other Rural Studio graduates to see how the program has affected their lives. Through scenes with architects such as Hank Louis of Design/Build Bluff in Utah and Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity, Citizen Architect captures the ripple effect that the Rural Studio continues to have throughout the profession. Above all else, this film offers a dialogue about what it means to be both a successful professional and a responsible member of society.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Northern Builder Trade Show 2014 - 19 - 20 November 2014

The Northern Builder Trade Show 2014 takes place on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 November at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Shaw's Bridge, Belfast. Throughout the show a range of industry experts will deliver talks and seminars on a variety of topical issues relevant to the building and design industry. 


4.30 - 5.00pm - CDM Regulations

The Association for Project Safety will deliver all the details you need on the new CDM regulations.

5.00 - 5.30pm - BIM Solutions

Pentagon Solutions will provide an introduction to Building Information Modelling (BIM) and how Autodesk Revit technology can facilitate compliance with the Government Level 2 BIM target for 2016.


9.45 - 10.05am - CEF - Public Procurement for Construction

CEF provides its view on the public procurement process.

10.15 - 10.35am - The Principles of Sustainable Design

Explaining the contents of the Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) for Architecture (DCAL) policy guidelines.

11.00 - 11.20am - Planning Service Reform

Beverley Cowan from the Planning Reform Team will provide a presentation on the forthcoming transfer of planning powers in Northern Ireland.

12.00 - 12.20pm - Buildhealth - Improving the Health of the NI Construction Industry

This talk will explain the role of Buildhealth, a joint venture between the construction industry in Northern Ireland and HSENI, what the main health issues in construction are and how they can be managed.

2.00 - 2.20pm - Low Impact and Sustainable Materials
Tom Woolley, a member of the board of Natureplus, the leading EU certification system for sustainable materials, will look at low impact renewable building materials such as wood fibre, hemp lime etc.

2.45 - 3.05pm - Q&A with Building Control NI
Your chance to hear about the latest regulation changes and speak to Building Control officers.

3.15 - 3.35pm - Healthy Buildings & Retrofitting: Breathability & Hygroscopic Materials
Tom Woolley explains the benefits of breathability, hygroscopic materials and low impact building methods.

Places are limited. To reserve your space, telephone now on 028 9261 2990 or visit

Late Night Art at PLACE - Thurs 6 Nov, 6pm - 9pm

In February 2015 a team of 12 from Belfast City Council's Property & Projects team will travel to Cambodia to build homes as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children programme. To support this project, PLACE will host The Big Art Sale during Late Night Art on Thursday 6 November. Artwork by colleagues, friends and families of Belfast City Council will be on display and available to purchase for this worthy cause. Refreshments also available.

Date: Thursday 6 November 2014
Time: 6pm - 9pm
Venue: PLACE, 7 - 9 Lower Garfield Street, Belfast, BT1 1FP

Monday, 3 November 2014

Architecture: the Art of Healing - Wednesday 19 November, 5pm

Queen's University's School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering invites you to Architecture: the Art of Healing, the inaugural lecture by Professor John Cole on Wednesday 19 November 2014, 5pm in the David Keir Building Lecture Theatre (LG.024).

Drawing from his extensive career in the Health Estates Sector and his delivery of award winning Health Care Buildings, Professor John Cole will address:
  • the importance of both client and design team developing a shared understanding of the quality and performance requirements for the project, 
  • those aspects of design quality, which when skilfully integrated, help create truly healing environments: differentiating excellence from mediocrity; and 
  • a number of approaches and principles that facilitate, encourage and support the delivery of design excellence.

RSVP by Monday 17th November to Andrea Fordham - [email protected]

Refreshments will be served after the lecture in the hub, David Keir Building.

Kalon, Belfast School of Architecture Student Society present a free lecture by Dr Bill Thompson - 11 Nov, 6pm

Kalon, Belfast School of Architecture Student Society, presents a public lecture by architect and philosopher​ Dr Bill Thompson - “Smile! A new philosophy” the paradox of individuality in a global political economy [sic].

Tuesday 11th November, 2014, 6pm (refreshments from 5.30pm). Lecture is free and open to the public. RSVP to [email protected]. The venue is the Conor Lecture Theatre, Belfast School of Architecture, Ulster University, York Street, Belfast, BT15 1ED.

This event marks the publication Dr Bill Thompson’s book on organic intelligence, entitled “Smile”. Copies of the book will be available for purchase after the event when all are invited to join Bill and Kalon for refreshments and further discussion.​

Exhibition: Urban Elements at QSS Bedford Street

Urban Elements is an exhibition at QSS Bedford Street by Stephen Shaw.

Opening Preview: Thursday 6th November 2014, 6pm - 9pm
Exhibition Dates: 6th November ­- 5th December 2014
Gallery Opening Times: Tuesday - Friday 10am - 5pm or by prior appointment.

Since the 1980s Stephen Shaw has produced watercolour paintings addressing themes of urban decay and neglect, mainly of marginalised and desolate areas of Belfast.

On one hand, there is a permanent sense of isolation and abandonment from these works, which hint at the lack of commitment and investment in the aftermath of urban violence and territorial insecurities. On the other hand, the work acknowledges the qualities of painterly abstraction inherent in the dilapidation and dereliction of disregarded uninhabited places of the city.

Noted for his highly detailed and forensic approach of depicting local urban subject matter. Shaw’s work lies at the edge of traditional watercolour painting. He is a colourist with a painstaking eye for detail with the ability to render a view before him with atmosphere and depth.

His paintings have an undiluted acidic realism, which tell a tale of the public authority neglect in the face of overwhelming hardship. A story of inner city decline, accelerated by recession and public expenditure cuts deliberate and systematic under the guise of redevelopment by the Northern Ireland Office as a means of solving sectarian strife in Belfast.

Shaw’s watercolours paintings are thus a kind of sociological study of the effects of economic impoverishment, an exploration of the psycho - urban geography of areas within the city that has been waiting for decades to be regenerated.

Draft NI Bicycle Strategy Workshop / Consultation Event - Tuesday 4 November, 10am - 2pm

In November 2013 DRD Minister Danny Kennedy announced the establishment of a Cycling Unit to ensure that cycling provision is a key element in both transport strategy and delivery and to develop and promote the bicycle as an everyday mode of transport for everyone in Northern Ireland.

A draft Bicycle Strategy, spanning a 25 year horizon, has been developed to help make Northern Ireland a cycling society. As part of the consultation process, which is open until Friday 21st November, a workshop / consultation event is taking place in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Gasworks, Belfast on Tuesday 4th November, 10am - 2pm. It is a drop in type of event open to everyone to attend at any time between 10am and 2pm.

The following organisations will have stands at the event:.
  • PSNI - Security
  • DoE - Road Safety
  • Translink - Cycling in Harmony
  • Sustrans - Cycling proficiency taster (child and adult)
  • Road Hauliers Association - provision of an HGV for a practical demonstration on the day
  • Belfast City Council - Bike hire scheme
  • DRD’s Cycling Unit and Travelwise

A key element of the strategy is a commitment to work with other Government Departments, District Councils, the voluntary and private sectors and other interested parties to ensure that the Strategy is fully and optimally implemented.

A copy of the draft Cycling Strategy can be downloaded from the Department's website.

Printed copies are available on request by emailing: [email protected] or by phone on 028 9054 0179.