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Showing posts with label Belfast Festival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Belfast Festival. Show all posts

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Ulster Museum: 1914-2014: Evolution amidst Revolution

Ulster Museum: 1914-2014: Evolution amidst Revolution is an exhibition, curated by Rosaleen Hickey, celebrating the architectural history of the Ulster Museum over the last 100 years.




Featuring rarely seen archival drawings, photographs and footage of the museum, the exhibition sheds new light on one of Belfast’s most iconic buildings. The Ulster Museum: 1914-2014: Evolution amidst Revolution is part of Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014 a series of events celebrating modernist architecture in Northern Ireland as part of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queens inspired by this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale and the British Pavilion’s A Clockwork Jerusalem.

The exhibition opens on Friday 17 October, 6pm - 8pm in the Belfast Room at the Ulster Museum. All welcome and refreshments served. Tours take place 23 & 30 October at 1pm from the atrium led by architectural historian and exhibition curator, Rosaleen Hickey. Exhibition continues until Saturday 1 November (Closed Mondays).

In partnership with the Ulster Museum & supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.

For more information on Absorbing Modernity events please visit the Belfast Festival at Queens website.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Event report: Restore, Reuse, Recycle (20th Oct)

Colin Shaw chairing the panel discussion

On Wednesday 20th October we were delighted to welcome three leading lights of architectural conservation to Belfast . Nicholas V Thompson, Niall McCullough and Dawson Stelfox - working in London, Dublin and Belfast respectively - were at the Ulster Museum for the PLACE Restore, Reuse, Recycle panel discussion.

Nicholas V Thompson of Donald Insall Associates described his “ten degrees of intervention” which encapsulated the basic concepts of conservation and restoration. From “regular daily care” to “radical interventions to secure a building’s future” to “major urban change involving multiple interventions”, each successive degree increased in complexity and involved a greater level of intrusion and transformation.

Thompson’s talk explored the degrees of intervention with examples from the work of his firm, Donald Insall Associates, whose portfolio includes numerous well-known buildings across the UK. These included the restoration of Windsor Castle after a catastrophic fire in 1992, the modern refurbishment of the courtyard of Somerset House, and the sensitive conservation of the Houses of Parliament.

Niall McCullough of McCullough Mulvin Architects was the second speaker of the evening and he highlighted his firm’s work in producing modern interventions in old buildings. Their Rush Library in County Dublin, for instance, involved a startling modern intervention in a Victorian church. The new structures were sensitively implanted into the heart of the original building; they were independent and non-invasive and thus allowed new and old to co-exist.

Niall McCullough

Intervening in an already existing building demands learning and appreciation of the existing built fabric - McCullough sees it as “a form of geography, working within a building rather than with fields or hedges”. This learning experience also has the capacity to surprise: “When you make an assumption about a building, it comes back to bite you”. You have to “work with, rather than against” the building. The process of intervention “engenders humility”, says McCullough. “You are just one person working on this building over several years”. Taking this concept to its logical end, the firm ensured that their intervention was reversible: “What goes in could come out.” Finally, McCullough pointed out that his work was merely a means to an end: “The people and [in the case of Rush Library] the books complete the architecture”, he says.

The final speaker of the evening was Dawson Stelfox. Stelfox is Chairman of Consarc Design Group, a practice working across the UK and Ireland, with a strong track record of rehabilitating derelict and dilapidated buildings in Belfast. Stelfox raised some interesting questions and touched on the paradoxes and problems inherent in architectural conservation. Speaking of the refurbishment of the House of Commons Chamber at Stormont following the fire of 1995, he described how the decision was taken to replicate the original chamber…but change it. Stelfox tackled some potentially contentious issues, discussing the possible futures of the North Street Arcade in Belfast and questioning the audience as to what should be done with this dilapidated building.


The panel

The evening ended with a Question and Answer session with the three speakers which instigated an interesting and lengthy discussion ranging from reuse of vacant buildings to increasing public appreciation for built heritage.

Rosaleen Hickey and Conor McCafferty
Photography: Amberlea Neely
PLACE

Thursday, 21 October 2010

FAB Event: An Epoch Translated into Space

Paddy Lawson's role in the design of the Ulster Museum extension is explored in An Epoch Translated into Space at the Meter House tomorrow evening, Friday 22nd October

Our colleagues at the Forum for Alternative Belfast invite you to a special event for the Belfast Festival tomorrow night...

Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s
An Epoch translated into Space
A short first cut film, talk and discussion
The Meter House @ The Gasworks
Friday 22nd October, 6.00pm
Tickets £6 available from Festival Box Office (75 University Road), by phone 028 9097 1197 or online at www.belfastfestival.com

In 1963 a young architecture student from Portaferry saw an announcement for a competition to design the extension to the Ulster Museum in Belfast. Ten Years later Paddy Lawson handed over the keys of the new building.

As the critic Shane O'Toole asserts, the “cubist sculptural tour de force is internationally renowned for its daring and prescient splicing together of old and new”.

While working in the Greater London Council Lawson met a number Eastern European architects who exposed him to more central European modernism including the early work of Mies van der Rohe and his monument to socialist Rosa Luxemburg who was murdered in 1919. This monument with its Constructivist brick masses built in 1926 was torn down by the Nazis in 1935.

The suspended masses of concrete floating over the Botanic Garden in Belfast resonate through time with Mies's iconic image.

“Architecture is the will of the people translated into space” Mies van der Rohe

The role of Paddy Lawson in this building has never been fully acknowledged. Through documentary, original drawings, photographs and discussion the Forum for Alternative Belfast tell this unknown story.
Paddy Lawson will attend the event.

In conjunction with Factotum and Batik.

Not to be missed!