Showing posts with label Press Release. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Press Release. Show all posts

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Young people ask: What is Belfast Missing?

Our young Urban Designers. Photo by Robin Cordiner.

This week, a group of young people aged 14 to 19 have been gathering in a vacant Belfast shop unit to discuss “what Belfast is missing”. They have been brought together for a week-long Urban Design Summer School held at ‘out of PLACE’, a temporary intervention in Belfast’s Obel Tower.

Some of the participants thought that trams were essential for Belfast, while others said that more parks and green spaces were a priority for the city centre. One participant had the idea of forming a public planning council to give people more say in important decisions about the built environment.

"The most interesting aspects were actually all those things that seemed mundane at first," said Finn MacMillan (19) from Belfast, who studies Art History in Edinburgh. "Like transport: how do you balance cycling, public transport and the car?"

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Culture Night "pocket park" highlights lack of quality public space in Belfast

Press release: 21.09.2011
Culture Night "pocket park" highlights lack of quality public space in Belfast

Inspired by the international Park(ing) Day, PLACE Architecture Centre will create a unique ‘Pocket Park’ in the City Centre on Culture Night, Friday 23rd September. For one night only, a number of parking spaces on Waring Street in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter will be transformed into an interactive, exciting new space. By building a pocket park (a mini green space in an urban area) the project team aims to highlight the current lack of quality open space within Belfast City Centre.

Space usage in Belfast City Centre (PLACE estimate)

The project is being run by a small team of young architects and planners. "We want to bring Belfast back from a vehicular scale to a human scale", says Aaron Coulter, an Urban Design student and intern at PLACE. "We are reclaiming space normally dedicated to the car and creatively transforming it into a small public park and activity space. We'll have interactive games, places to relax, green space and more in Belfast's new public space for the evening”.

Participants on Culture Night will be brought on a journey through the new park space and asked for their thoughts on public space in the city at the end.

The Pocket Park is being developed as part of somewhereto_, a nationwide project inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, aimed at finding spaces for young people aged 16-25 do the things they love. somewhereto_ is funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games across the UK.


Notes to editors:
- The park will be active on Waring Street in Belfast on Culture Night from 4pm-8pm
- PLACE is the Architecture and Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland
- PLACE was established in 2004

somewhereto_ (
- Inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, somewhereto_ is a nationwide project to help young people find the space they need to do the things they love, within sport, culture and the arts.
- All young people need somewhereto_ do the things they love. The project is here to help those who don’t have the space or place. By opening up spaces and connecting young people with local space-holders, via our website, regional coordinators, competitions, events and more.
- somewhereto_ is run by Livity, a youth engagement agency, in media partnership
with Channel 4 Education and funded by Legacy Trust UK.

Legacy Trust UK (
- Legacy Trust UK is an independent charity whose mission is to support a wide range of innovative cultural and sporting activities which celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and which will leave a lasting legacy in communities throughout the UK.
- Legacy Trust UK is funded by a £40 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund (£29m), Department for Culture Media and Sport (£6m) and Arts Council England (£5m), and is a Principal Funder of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

New concepts to improve Belfast's river banks

Press release - 10.05.2011

Participants at the Design Charrette held last Wednesday at the Lagan Lookout in Belfast. Photo by Robin Cordiner.
New boardwalks along the river banks, a multigenerational hub and pocket parks are some of the suggested future improvements to Belfast's Laganside. The concepts came from the Cathedral Quarter Charrette, a design event held at the Lagan Lookout last week by PLACE, Northern Ireland's Architecture Centre.

Teams were made up of architects, artists, writers, community and cultural groups and planners. Each team was asked to come up with ideas for how the Laganside area might be made into a viable, inhabited promenade. Even after the improvements of the Laganside development, the area still has a low level of footfall, minimal activity in its public spaces and it remains disconnected from the city centre.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

PLACE appointed as regional delivery partner for somewhereto in Northern Ireland

PLACE Architecture Centre has been appointed as the Northern Ireland partner to deliver regional outreach for somewhereto, an Olympic Legacy project. PLACE is one of 6 partners around the UK appointed during the first wave of recruitment to connect 16-25 year olds and space-holders.

somewhereto is a key project of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, with a focus on the arts, culture and sport, and is funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to create a cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games across the UK.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

out of PLACE initiative will “enrich the city in the absence of retail”, says Michael Hegarty, Director of PLACE

Above: At the launch of out of PLACE in Belfast City Centre on Thursday were (L-R) Professor Bill Morrison (Chair of PLACE), Heather Carr (Arts & Business), Sammy Wilson MLA, MP (Minister for Finance and Personnel) and Mark Cunningham (Deramore Properties) - photography (c) Chris Neely

Press Release: 17th June 2010

PLACE, the Architecture and Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland, has this week launched a new project called out of PLACE which seeks to make city centres fun, interesting and vibrant places to be - by taking over empty shop units.

Sammy Wilson, Minister for Finance and Personnel, opened the project, explaining: “The intention of this project is to bring life to parts of the city or other towns in Northern Ireland - in areas that may be struggling to find tenants to fill all the shops.” He went on to say that “it has a serious purpose in preventing a downward spiral of decline in once-thriving commercial areas.”

Michael Hegarty, PLACE Director said: “We now trade, socialise, relax, shop and meander through the streets of central Belfast mostly because we choose to. We can shop out-of-town or on-line, we can bank from home, work by phone and conduct our business with teleconferencing.

“The result of these changes in society is that there is less demand for city centre retail space than there was twenty years ago, and right at the time when people realise that they enjoy city centres. PLACE has now taken occupancy of a unit to show that other uses can enrich the city in the absence of retail, even if the absence is temporary.”

PLACE has a rich programme of activity to fill this space over the coming months. A vibrant mix of uses will encourage greater understanding of the city and its buildings and make the connection for people into the debate around how our city works. Some events will include debates, exhibitions, children's projects and festival uses - all freely and directly accessible by the public. This will highlight the unit location and encourage commercial operators to take over occupancy, in turn helping develop the commercial role of the city centre.


Notes to Editors
- The first out of PLACE unit is made possible because of a partnership between PLACE and Deramore Properties, supported by Arts & Business NI. Other partners include Belfast City Council, Belfast City Centre Management and the Department of Finance & Personnel.

- The first out of PLACE unit is on Castle Lane, Belfast (next to Cornmarket)

- PLACE will be programming architecture events and cultural activities at Castle Lane throughout Summer 2010.

- PLACE is the Architecture and Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland. The name is an acronym for Planning, Landscape, Architecture, Community and Environment, and these are the key areas PLACE investigates with its year-round programme of exhibitions, workshops lectures, community engagement projects and education programme.

For further information contact PLACE:
t: 028 9023 2524
e: info[AT]placeni[DOT]org

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Planning Service cuts risk poor decisions that will affect the Northern Ireland landscape and economy, PLACE warns

PLACE, the Architecture Centre advocating design quality in the built environment, has written to all members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to warn that staff cuts in the Planning Service will lead to poor planning decisions that will irreversibly affect the landscape of Northern Ireland.

PLACE Chairperson Professor Bill Morrison said he has major concerns at news that the Planning Service is to redeploy as many as 269 staff, and warned that the Department of the Environment must think carefully about how it implements any staff redeployment.

“An inadequate planning resource means putting up with a shoddy environment. We must make sure the cuts are not concentrated on the professionals who deal with planning applications,” Professor Morrison, the former Head of Planning for Belfast, said.

He added, “PLACE is Northern Ireland’s Architecture Centre, and we are here to promote quality in the built environment. The Development Control teams and Design Unit of Planning Service are at the frontline of ensuring a quality built environment and they have been doing a good job. It is crucial that they retain the capability to do this.

“We are concerned that no distinction has been drawn between professional qualified planners and other staff. This is particularly alarming in light of the November 2009 NI Audit Office report, ‘The Performance of the Planning Service’, which shows that staff already have individual caseloads far higher than any other UK nation.

“Planning Service has three groupings of staff: the professional team dealing with planning applications; another professional team dealing with development plan preparation and a substantial administrative back-up, recently inflated in anticipation of the transfer to local councils under RPA. It would be a big mistake to target the development control staff for cuts simply because of an accounting system that seeks to fund one particular function from the income from planning applications,” Professor Morrison said.

Architect and PLACE Director Michael Hegarty added: “This move could have a devastating effect on the economic recovery of Northern Ireland. Reducing qualified staff will only delay planning applications and delay any recovery in construction. Swifter planning has often been cited as an important factor in attracting inward investment. Now, surely, is not the time to add further barriers to firms wanting to locate here. The Northern Ireland Government Policy for Architecture & The Built Environment is established to improve standards of design in the built environment. Qualified people are needed to deliver the policy and cutting key qualified staff is not the way forward.”

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Past and Present Views of Belfast at PLACE

Drawing of a bomb-damaged building in Belfast by David Turner, part of his exhibition Cross Section and Scale which launches at PLACE next Thursday 6th August

This August, PLACE presents exhibitions by David Turner and Henrietta Williams, exploring issues from the past and present of Belfast’s built environment.

Download the press release from the PLACE website.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

CARDI Research Grants Programme: PLACE to work with QUB, TCD and Irish National Disability Authority

CARDI (The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland) yesterday announced the successful applicants for Call 1 of its research grants programme.

As part of this programme, PLACE, Trinity College Dublin, Queen’s and the National Disability Authority plan to build a larger partnership that will study how the urban environment, not just housing, can be accessed and used to the greatest possible extent by people of all ages.

Professor Bob Stout, Queen’s University Belfast, Co-chair of the grants panel, said:
“We were delighted to receive a very large number of applications. Clearly a lot of new contacts have been made between academics and representatives of the voluntary, public and private sectors on both sides of the border. These grants, worth almost €90,000, will serve as pump-priming money. This fits well with CARDI’s wish to get all the partners together and stimulate research that will bring benefits to the daily lives of older people and ensure that both parts of Ireland are geared up to meet the needs of an ageing society.”

More info: Press release from PLACE website

Friday, 5 June 2009

PLACE Appoints its First Director

This week PLACE announced the appointment of Michael Hegarty as its first Director. Michael will be responsible for the future development of PLACE and its activities throughout Northern Ireland.

Download the Press Release.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Launch night: Non-Iconic Mackintosh

David Stark, Managing Director at Keppie, introduces Non-Iconic Mackintosh

PLACE welcomed members of the international Keppie Design team and guests to launch the new exhibition Non-Iconic Mackintosh last night.

Press release:

Leading Belfast based architecture practice Keppie Design today launches a brand new exhibition of the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh entitled Non-Iconic Mackintosh: the Real Charles Rennie Mackintosh? Housed at Belfast’s PLACE, the Architecture and Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland, the exhibition opens to the public on Friday 22nd May and runs to Saturday 27th June.

Non-Iconic Mackintosh will showcase some of the less well known work by Charles Rennie Mackintosh when he was part of the Keppie architectural practice for 24 years, as well as some of his famed projects that earned him the title of 'pioneer of modern design'.

As well as a collection of original drawings, the exhibition will feature the first public viewing of a specially designed Mackintosh bust by one of Scotland’s most acclaimed sculptors, Andy Scott. Andy also designed Belfast’s iconic Thanksgiving Square Beacon.

Neil Whatley, associate at Keppie’s Belfast office said: “We’re delighted to host the Mackintosh exhibition here in Belfast and pleased to partner with PLACE. We’re seeing a number of exciting projects in Belfast and Northern Ireland at the moment - it’s an important time in the resurgence of the province, with the promise that continued public spending will take the bite out of the recession.”

David Stark, director at Keppie and Mackintosh expert added: “Charles Rennie Mackintosh was undoubtedly one of the world’s most influential architectural designers and we are proud that he is part of the Keppie legacy. This exhibition will shed light on some of the works not immediately recognised as Mackintosh designs. We hope Belfast enjoys the exhibition as we at Keppie have enjoyed supporting it.”

Amberlea Trainor, manager at PLACE said: 

“We are delighted to present this exhibiton at PLACE and are excited about sharing the lesser known Mackintosh works with the public of Northern Ireland.”

Keppie Belfast advised on the design of the Cancer Centre for Northern Ireland on Lisburn Road, was the architect for the Springvale Centre for the University of Ulster and is currently involved in the delivery of health and care centres in Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus as part of the PCCI Framework.

PLACE is located at 40 Fountain Street, Belfast. For more information visit

The exhibition runs from Friday 22nd May - Saturday 27th June 2009. PLACE opens late on Thursdays until 7:30pm, and a special Late Night Art public launch event will take place on Thursday 4th June from 6 - 9pm.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh & Co., a book by David Stark, Managing Director of Keppie is available to buy now from the PLACE Bookshop.

Photos by Amberlea Trainor.