Showing posts with label Best Of. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Best Of. Show all posts

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]

Thursday, 29 December 2011

2011 Highlights on the PLACE Blog

2011 has been a busy year for us on the PLACE Blog. Here are a few of our highlights:

A tour of Belfast's new MAC Theatre during September's Culture Night. Photo by Gary Potter.

Planning for the environment
"Land use planning is about more than simply promoting the orderly development of land. This should not be the end objective, but just one means of achieving something much more wholesome and holistic. Our planning should guide us towards a more balanced society where natural resources are protected and climate change is a key consideration in all decisions."
- Back in February, environmental planning expert Clive Mellon explained how to plan for the environment and sustainable development

Visiting the new Titanic Signature Building
"Once inside the building the sheer scale of the structure hits you. The internal atrium of the £73m structure will host the longest escalator in Ireland when opened next year."
- Gary Potter on the PLACE site visit to the Titanic Signature Building in April

The story of Broadcasting House
"The Corporation looked seriously at a vacant site in Donegall Square, to the east of the City Hall, but eventually decided it needed a location in ‘a less pretentious quarter’ with ample room for expansion."
- Andrew Colman, former Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC NI, gave us a history of BBC Broadcasting House in Belfast to mark its 70th anniversary in May

How to improve Belfast's River Banks
"Soft green landscaping, on-street parking, and a reduction in the number of traffic lanes were also suggested by participants as ways to encourage more use of the area. One team suggested a floating pontoon connecting the Obel to the Odyssey - the space could be adapted for events throughout the year."
- The PLACE CQ Charrette in May considered ways to improve the area next to the River Lagan in the City Centre

How to create positive change in rural design
"The PPS21 guidance aims to bring a sense of ownership to design and suggests that there are better ways to execute projects to avoid the flood of large, out of proportion houses with no connection to the landscape that have appeared in recent years. However the guidance must refrain from being over prescriptive or becoming too presumptuous. The purpose, as Paul McTernan explained, is not to create pastiche, but rather, 'to educate, inform and inspire' and 'positively nourish a change in aspirations and ambitions'."
- The new PPS21 Guidance on new building in the countryside was discussed at our Building on Tradition roadshow event in Ballymoney in June

Reducing street clutter
"Streets and roads make up around three-quarters of all public space - their design, appearance, and the way they function have a huge impact on the quality of people’s lives."
- From Manual for Streets 2, cited by Gary Potter in his investigation of street clutter in July

Rebuilding - again
"We actively unbuilt the city, and rebuilt it, at great public expense."
- Mark Hackett speaking at the Forum for Alternative Belfast's annual summer school in August

Visiting the new MAC Arts Centre
"The new MAC at 5,500 sq m is around eight times the size of the OMAC and will include two theatres, three major visual art galleries, a dance studio, education, workshop and rehearsal spaces, offices for resident arts groups as well as a resident artist and café and bar. It is anticipated that around 200,000 people will use these facilities every year which is sure to boost the local area which is already eagerly anticipating the development of the University of Ulster's City Campus around the York Street area."
- Gary Potter joined a hard hat tour of the MAC on Culture Night in September. The MAC is due to open in June 2012.

Craft and architecture
"It was interesting to understand how the very precise 3D modelling of the architecture practice worked alongside the cruder practice of boat building. Bending oak in a steam chamber is much more rough and ready than the millimetre perfect geometric design."
- Alan in Belfast reported on our Craftitecture event at PLACE, in which Merritt Bucholz of Bucholz McEvoy Architects discussed their collaboration with the Galway School of Boat Building

Charting a building's voyage
"The new Municipal Technical Institute was a grand, purpose-built, state of the art educational building. When it opened the building was one of the first in Belfast with electricity, and phones were fitted throughout. The building even had its own radio station for communications with ships and every room had a centrally controlled clock."
- Gary Potter gave an in-depth history of the past and present of the Belfast Met, from the City Centre to its new location in the Titanic Quarter

Thinking about public space
"It is clear that while Belfast has the capacity for major outdoor events in spaces like Writer's Square and Custom House Square, it is severely lacking in well-designed, responsive public space. Not enough attention is given to the spaces between buildings, activating them not only through one-off events mainly aimed at tourism, or pieces of commissioned public art that few appreciate, but with an urban experience centred around informal day-to-day activities. If we want people to move back to the heart of Belfast, generating this type of public realm is a vital component."
- Aaron Coulter in his new series on the blog Connecting Places, which aims to generate critical debate on the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems of Northern Ireland

New uses for old buildings
"I think the former Carlisle Memorial Church should become the Great Hall of the new university campus that is forecast for Belfast by the University of Ulster. I would like to see the campus embracing and defining the cultural corridor that we have spoken about for over 12 years in Belfast. "
Arthur Acheson commenting on a post in our new blog series The Past in the Present, which explores how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society


We hope you've enjoyed following the blog this year as much as we've enjoyed producing it. We'll be back in early January with more - in the meantime, Happy New Year from all at PLACE!