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Showing posts with label The Past in the Present. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Past in the Present. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Past in the Present: Titanic Quarter's Journey

In this series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series curated by Ailish Killilea and Anna Skoura.

We are living in the year of the Centennial anniversary of Titanic, since it departed Belfast on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The following article explores some the Titanic's history, how some of the heritage buildings are put to use today and the future development for Queen's Island.


S.S. Titanic, April 1912. (picture via The Modern History Blog)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Past in the Present: A Bright Future for Carlisle Memorial Church

In this series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series curated by Ailish Killilea and Anna Skoura.

Carlisle Memorial Church Belfast. (Photo by Belfast Telegraph)
Carlisle Memorial Church has featured on our blog series before as one of three buildings in Northern Ireland on the World Monument Watch List (featured on the list in 2010), and it is now set to continue its lineage with repairs of up to £400,000. 

As featured in the Belfast Telegraph today,Alex Attwood, Environment Minister, pledged £400,000 to restore this iconic Belfast building, situated at Carlisle Circus, North Belfast. 

When making the announcement, Attwood said: “Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church is one of Belfast’s best known listed buildings and is a hugely important landmark at the entrance to West and North Belfast from the city centre.

Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church serves as a sober reminder of the city's architectural legacy and its troubled past. The church was designed in Gothic Revival style by the prominent architect, W. H. Lynn, and opened its doors to the public in 1875. The church that was once home to the largest Methodist congregations in Belfast ceased to be used as a place of worship in 1982, a consequence of the declining congregation and its location at a major interface between Catholic and Protestant populations.

Inside Carlisle Church. (Photo by Archiseek) 
The church has been lying derelict for close to thirty years and has suffered extensive physical degradation as a result. Despite its religious associations, the building is now perceived as neutral territory in a deeply polarized area and holds symbolic potential for North Belfast in particular, and for the city as a whole. This public perception and the church’s interface location lend credence to renewed proposals for the adaptive reuse of this shared heritage resource. Such a project would foster significant civic engagement with stakeholder communities and deepen the successes of the Northern Irish peace process.

Attwood also added: “This funding will help secure its future and, following its conservation and regeneration, will be a great opportunity to both revitalize and provide a significant economic boost for the area. What I and DOE is about, is making Northern Ireland a better place to live, work and invest and this will certainly help to do that."

A spokesman for Belfast Building Preservation Trust said: “Belfast Buildings Preservation Trust is delighted to receive this support from the Department of the Environment. Carlisle Memorial Church was Watch Listed by the World Monuments Fund in 2010 as one of the 100 most endangered historic buildings in the world."

“While it is not economically feasible to save every historic building, it is vital that we do as much as we can to preserve our rich past for future generations. Carlisle memorial is a jewel in our historical crown and after it’s conservation, it will have a great beneficial impact for the economy, tourism and for health and well being", said Minister Attwood.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Good Contemporary Design in Historic Churches


In this series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series curated by Ailish Killilea and Anna Skoura.

 
 Photo by Bob in thechive.com
 A discussion on how to achieve high quality contemporary design in historic contexts is held in London, on the 28th of February.

Crispin Truman and Peter Aiers of The Churches Conservation Trust will talk about their work bringing new use to historic churches at risk. They will provide case studies and examples of the churches they care for and how they work with local communities to bring them alive again. They will also talk about their wide range of projects and events to promote tourism, volunteering, education, arts and community use.  

Heather Hilburn, CEO of Shape East will discuss the design support that they are providing to create a cultural hub in a church and its surrounding town square.

Some information about the presenters: 
Crispin Truman joined The Churches Conservation Trust as Chief Executive in 2003. Crispin is a trustee of Heritage Alliance and chairs the national Heritage Open Days committee. He led the setting up of a new European network, Future Religious Heritage, which he now chairs.  Crispin is also a trustee of The Building Exploratory; a secondary school governor in Hackney; and was formerly trustee of mental health charity Rethink and chair of the London Cycling Campaign.

Joining the Trust in 2007 Peter Aiers has a specific role to find sustainable solutions to complex urban churches within the Trust as well as running the Regeneration Taskforce to enable more community involvement in the care and maintenance of our wonderful portfolio.

Heather Hilburn has an extensive background in architecture and commercial development and has worked in the UK's built environment industry for over 15 years. She has successfully delivered landmark Arts, Education and Leisure projects across Europe. She is a Trustee of London Spitalfield's City Farm, sits on the RIBA Building Futures Advisory Panel, as well as on the committee for Cambridge University Entrepreneurs, as Director for Social Enterprise.
The event is hosted by the Architecture Centre Network

For more information click here: link 

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Past in the Present: The Legacy of the Cathedral Quarter

In this series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series curated by Ailish Killilea and Anna Skoura.


St. Annes Cathedral, Belfast. (Photo by Ailish Killilea)

In recent years the Cathedral Quarter has been identified as the key cultural district of Belfast, seen to play apivotal role as the focus for Belfast's burgeoning arts and crafts scene. Every year the Cathedral Quarter becomes a beehive of activity with a range of festivals locating here such as the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Open House Festival, Festival of Fools, Belfast Film Festival, Belfast Photo Festival, Out to Lunch Festival and Culture Night.


Culture Night 2010. (photo from Culture Night Belfast)

There are reportedly over 50 creative and cultural organisations located in the Cathedral Quarter presently.Lower rents in the area has helped artists and arts organisations to locate here. But it seems that the character of the area has been a major factor in attracting such a huge catchment of artists. Peter Mutschler, of Paragon Studios, Donegall Street, describes the reason to locate in the Cathedral Quarter: 'I think the reason to move into the premises with studio space on different floors (there are still two businesses)was- and still is- that the spaces are good and it has this kind of stimulating surrounding. The run down building itself has lots of character and the area just has a great atmosphere.'
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. Such support for the area has led to plans for regeneration of the Cathedral Quarter in the hope of increasing its utilization.


Map of Belfast, 1690. (Map sourced from Mark Thompson)

The area we know today as the Cathedral Quarter began its establishment right from the birth of the Belfast City in 1613. From this map dating back to 1690 we can see the North Gate and it is this street that is known as North Street. The Belfast River which would have run from the River Lagan down to Millgate now flows under High Street.


Belfast Map, 1791. (Map by Samuel Lewis)

From this map of Belfast in 1791 we can see a street pattern emerging. The Cathedral Quarter is being established, with many of its routes surviving today (Donegall Street, North Street, Waring Street, Rosemary Street, High Street). It is this historic footprint that contributes so much to the city in telling its story as a continually growing and evolving major city.

The following map shows the extent of the Cathedral Quarter today and the listed buildings within its limits that have survived.


Present day Cathedral Quarter map, showing boundaries and listed buildings. (map by Ailish Killilea)

In the late 1990's plans were submitted to the Department of Social Development (DSD) by Ewart Properties to regenerate the Cathedral Quarter area. The following map shows the extent of this planning proposal known as the Royal Exchange and the listed buildings that may be affected by this development.

Map showing the footprint of the Royal Exchange Development. (Map by Ailish Killilea)

Buildings within the footprint of the Royal Exchange include; North Street Arcade, the Exchange & Assembly Rooms, Lower Garfield Street, the First Presbyterian Church and the Masonic Building.


North Street Arcade today. (Photo by UAHS)

The North Street Arcade is a four-storey red brick building with red sandstone detailing was built in 1936 by Cowser & Smyth. The arcade bends through 90◦, with a domed space at the bend, once housing shops, artist groups and exhibition space. It survived the Belfast Blitz during the Second World War and I.R.A. bombings in 1971, but unfortunately it crumbled under an arson attack in April of 2004. Presently the building is listed, but no repairs have been carried out.

The Exchange & Assembly Rooms today. (photo by Ailish Killilea)

The Exchange and Assembly Rooms acquired its name through its function as a building. It was originally built as a one-storey market with arcade in 1769, known as 'The Exchange'. In 1776 Lord Donegall commissioned Sir Robert Taylor to design a two-storey building for social gatherings and dances, when the building then became known as 'The Assembly Rooms'.Fashionable society immediately began referring to the area of Bridge Street, North Street, Waring Street, and Rosemary Lane as 'The Four Corners'. After the 1798 rebellion, the Assembly Rooms served as a trial room for Henry Joy McCracken of the United Irishmen (he was subsequently hung at High Street). In 1845 Sir Charles Lanyon won the commission to convert the Assembly Rooms to the present day structure for Northern Bank. Today the building is in disuse, with much loobying to use the venue as an exhibition hall or theatre.


Lower Garfield Street today. (photo from Lower Garfield)

Lower Garfield Street was known as the Curved Entry until 1910 until it was named after the US President James Garfield. The curved red brick building was built in 1896 by Graeme, Watt and Tullock. The curved red brick building was once occupied by a ballroom, many shops and the Garfield Bar, but today, all that remains is the Tivoli barber shop.

The First Presbyterian Church today. (photo Ailish Killilea)

This building is said to be the oldest surviving place of worship in Belfast city. It was built in 1781-83 by Roger Mullholland and the facade was extended in 1883 and the rear in 1906-07 by Young and Mackenzie. In Victorian time this building would have been seen as less admirable, but the Irish builder of 1867 expressed a different opinion 'for those who believe in Classic churches clothed in cement, this building cannot fail to satisfy their taste' (M. Patton, Central Belfast).


Masonic Hall. (photo by A. Killilea)

The Masonic Building on Rosemary Street was built in 1950-54 by Young & Mackenzie. The three-storey building is made from reconstructed stone with a flat full width pediment and a central bay set slightly forward with balustraded balcony on scrolled barckets over the entrance portico. Above the entrance door are the mason's compasses over fanlight. This was originally the site of The Third Presbyterian Church, finished in 1831 to the designs of John Miller. The Third Presbyterian Church was destroyed in the blitz of 1941. The Provincial Grand Lodge Hall at 15 Rosemary Street is the headquarters of the provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim. Due to the recent harsh economic climate it has been difficult to maintain the hall and lodges are now generally located in Arthur Square Hall. Consideration is been given to the future of the hall, according to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, alternatives than to sell the building are being sought in order to maintain the Masonic Hall.

Through the discussion of this heritage in the Cathedral Quarter that may possibly face demolition if plans for The Royal Exchange are to go ahead. It is clear that the character of the Cathedral Quarter comes from its colorful and historic past.
Alternative efforts, to that of the Royal Exchange, to regenerate the Cathedral Quarter can be seen in cultural campaigns and projects such as: City Supplements: an Alternative Urban Strategy, The Risk is Rewarding, Barber Shop Quintet, Save the Cathedral Quarter and Let's Get it Right.
Is this historic fabric an integral part of the Cathedral Quarter? If so, is there a way to incorporate such buildings into a design to regenerate the Cathedral Quarter?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Past in the Present: World Monument Fund - 2012 Watch List

In this series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series curated by Ailish Killilea and Anna Skoura.

The 2012 Watch List has been recently announced by the World Monuments Fund. Every two years since 1996, the World Monuments Watch calls international attention to cultural heritage around the globe that is at risk from the forces of nature and the impact of social, political, and economic change. It is worth mentioning that the Carlilsle Memorial Methodist church in Belfast was included in the 2010 List.

This year, four sites in the UK are part of the Watch:

British Brutalism in Birmingham, Preston, and London, England
Find out more: link

Southbank Centre in London, view along the south side of the Hayward Gallery, 2010, image via the World Monuments Fund

Newstead Abbey in Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire
Find out more: link
The 13th century West Front of the priory church of Newstead Abbey, 2011, image via the World Monuments Fund

Quarr Abbey in Ryde, Isle of Wight
Find out more: link
Rough stone gable with blind pointed arches in the old abbey, seen from the East, 2009, image via the World Monuments Fund

Ruins of the former cathedral church of St. Michael in Coventry, West Midlands
Find out more: link
View of the old Cathedral from the East, with the new Cathedral to the right, 2011, image via the World Monuments Fund

The complete list, as well as a very informative report are available online via the World Monuments Fund.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Past in the Present: Adaptive church re-use

In this series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series Curated by Ailish Killilea & Anna Skoura

As times are changing, religious needs are changing too. Less people go to services, resulting with a number of churches left unused and subject to decay. As churches are in most cases buildings with historic and architectural interest, valued by the community, it is imperative to consider their conservation.

But preservation without reuse is not easy to justify or finance, especially in the midst of an economic recession. It is also true that there are a great number of historic buildings eligible for re-use and they all compete against each other for the limited resources associated with this type of development. Sadly, churches offer limited appeal due to their inherent difficulties to convert. Nevertheless, there are a number of very successful examples of reused churches that demonstrate how with appropriate interventions the building can be suited for a number of purposes with very alluring results and can prove a unique visitor/user experience.

Most people in Belfast would be familiar with the Belfast Empire Music Hall, a Victorian era church now converted to a boosting nightlife venue. But this is not the only successful example.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Past in the Present: Should the Athletic Stores be saved?

In this series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series Curated by Ailish Killilea & Anna Skoura

A need to harness "the positive long-term economic benefits of using quintessentially Belfast buildings for 21st century uses" was highlighted yesterday in a letter to the Planning Committee by The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society and Forum for Alternative Belfast. The two campaign groups were lobbying the Committee not to approve demolition of the Athletic Stores/Swanston's Linen Warehouse on Queen St in Belfast. View the illustrated letter below.

UAHS/FAB letter. Click to enlarge.

UAHS/FAB letter. Click to enlarge.

The latest news today, according to the UAHS, is that the building was recommended for demolition at last night's meeting.

Update 18th November: The UAHS has today written an open letter to the Minister for the Environment asking for his intervention in the case. See the letter below.

Letter from the UAHS to Minister for the Environment Alex Attwood. Click to enlarge.

Update 21st November: Belfast City Council approves demolition of Athletic Stores building in Belfast
 - BBC News website

What do you think? Should the Athletic Stores be saved?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Past in the Present: National Maintenance Week

In this new series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series Curated by Ailish Killilea & Anna Skoura


National Maintenance Week. Image via UAHS.

Building maintenance and upkeep plays a key role in the preservation of our historic buildings and heritage. Next week, November 18th - 25th, is 'National Maintenance Week' and aims to highlight this matter.

Preventative measures such as maintenance is beneficial in more ways than one; keeps building costs down, increases the building's potential, enhances features and demonstrates pride in the area. This applies to all buildings, historic and modern, in order to avoid costly damage in the future.

The leaves have fallen and no, they have not flown to sunnier climes, they could very well be filling your gutters and gullies! Something the Ulster Architecture Heritage Society (UAHS) and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) are highlighting over the next week. Find out how you can maintain your property with tops tips from the UAHS.

Look after your building and it will look after you.