Wednesday, 22 December 2010

PLACE Internships: Spring 2011

The PLACE Internships Programme offers students, graduates and other interested people the opportunity to be a part of the PLACE team. Current vacancies:
Projects: Promoting public interaction within architecture and the built environment through delivery of PLACE projects such as somewhereto and Wordscape.
Marketing/Communications: Using existing PLACE marketing channels including online social media to promote PLACE activities.
The Programme is voluntary but PLACE offers a modest stipend to cover travel/lunch etc. The Programme lasts for a 3 month period and can be full or part time (minimum 3 days per week).

PLACE Internships are a unique opportunity to work in a busy but fun environment.

PLACE Internships are for minimum 2 month periods starting at the end of January 2011.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Royal Exchange plans go on display at Belfast Exposed

Proposals for a new retail led scheme for Cathedral Quarter - Royal Exchange - will be on display in Belfast Exposed in Donegall Street from 11.00 am - 3.00 pm on Monday 20th December.

Aerial view of the proposed scheme by Ewarts & Chapman Taylor. Image courtesy MCE Public Relations.

Options for extended public display of the scheme are currently being explored.

For further information please contact Rita Harkin at: [email protected] or Heather Floyd at: [email protected]

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

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, 11 December 2010

Life Between Buildings - Gorey, County Wexford

Call for Ideas and Research

Student Paul O'Brien's concept for a drive-in in Gorey, County Wexford

Life Between Gorey’s Buildings
Open Call For Innovative Ideas and Research

STUDENTS zine a new Irish Contemporary Art Zine has collaborated with a recent pedestrianisation initiative in Gorey, Co. Wexford called Pedestrianise Gorey Main Street. Pedestrianise Gorey Main Street’s core aim is to show that there is support within the local for more pedestrian friendly streets. Its page that can be found on Facebook has received an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement, because of this we at STUDENTSzine have decided to issue an open call for innovative ideas and research titled Life Between Buildings.

Life Between Buildings
Life Between Buildings believes that towns across Ireland should open up, invite and include people in their development, having different activities and possibilities and thereby ensuring multiplicity and diversity. With this open call Life Between Buildings wants to encourage, support and promote the ideas, capabilities and problem solving abilities of Artists, Architects and Urban Designers in developing innovative research projects and sustainable solutions.

What we are looking for are creative ideas that encourage pedestrian / bicycling friendly streets that could be applied within the town of Gorey, whether interesting new street design or layout to possible events that could take place there. Let your imagination and creative abilities go wild.

All ideas submitted will be uploaded to the online gallery on

If you are not familiar with the town-space of Gorey you can place yourself directly within the town by checking out google maps  and searching “main street, gorey, Ireland.”

About Gorey
Gorey is the principle town in north County Wexford situated 52 kilometres north of Wexford Town. It is linked to the towns of Wexford and Enniscorthy by the N11/M11 National Primary route, which also links the town with Dublin and other urban centres along the eastern coast. The town itself is 95 kilometres from Dublin. The Strategic Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area show the Greater Dublin Area extending as far south as Arklow, which is identified as a 'Large Growth Town II’. The completion of the Arklow by-pass has improved its accessibility to the capital and has put Gorey - only 16 kilometres south of Arklow - within commuting distance from the larger employment centres of the Dublin Region. (Local Area Plan 2010, P. 5)

The vibrant Gorey area has always had a strong history as a market town and is now one of the most popular and sought after areas in which to live. With the completion of the new bypass Gorey has become a town that can lead the way in progressive pedestrian / bicycling friendly initiatives.

We at STUDENTS zine and Pedestrianise Gorey Main Street are looking forward to your new and exciting ideas and proposals.

Any individual, collective, school, college or university eligible to apply:
To get involved
Please submit all works to [email protected]

Read more:

Friday, 10 December 2010

ARCSOC: Alastair Hall lecture 14th Dec

Alastair Hall of Hackett, Hall, McKnight speaks this Tuesday at the David Keir Building, Stranmillis.

Christine Murray (AJ) on localism

Christine Murray of the Architects' Journal on the Localism Bill:

"What might have been a bit of empty rhetoric is real. This week’s Localism Bill is proving to be the cornerstone of the mooted Big Society. As the AJ went to press, sneak previews of the bill reveal upheaval aplenty for the planning system, but more crucially, the profession.

So what does Localism mean for architects? Two things so far:

1) Less work for architects
The public will be encouraged to submit their own planning applications, and more developments will be designated as permitted development - stripping away bread-and-butter work for small practices and sole practitioners.

2) Unpaid work for architects

Under the new bill, councils will have a duty to adopt Neighbourhood Plans for their area which will be decided on by public referendum. Community groups will also have increased power in reviewing and deciding on planning applications. Should architects elect be involved in these processes, their consultation is unlikely to be paid.

In this new paradigm, architects no longer have just one client to satisfy, but a whole parish or neighbourhood. They will need to engage in community consultations at several stages to ensure their scheme has been adequately anointed.

As I spoke to developers, planning consultants and community leaders this week, their advice to architects was that Localism is here, and they had better get used to it, and fast."

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

QUB ARCSOC Lecture tonight - Gary Lysaght

Gary Lysaght speaks at the David Keir Building, Stranmillis tonight at 6pm

Friday, 3 December 2010

Lyric site visit upcoming in January

John Tuomey will conduct a site visit to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast on Wednesday 26th January at 1pm. RSUA members only. Queries to the RSUA.

A view of the new Lyric Theatre by O'Donnell + Tuomey. Image via

Don't forget, next Thursday 9th December, John presents his AAI Awards Lecture at the Reception Room, City Hall. He'll be discussing the Timberyard in Dublin, winner of the Downes Bronze Medal, and An Gaelaras in Derry, which won a Special Award at this year's Awards - as well as giving an update on the progress of the Lyric. You can book online here!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Planning Reform

Under the reform of local government, 11 new councils will be created. 

Environment Minister Edwin Poots yesterday announced his plans for the reform of local government, which will include reform of the planning system.

"Councils will no longer be consultees," said the minister. "They will be the planning authority - responsible for drawing up their own development plans and making the vast majority of planning decisions."

The proposals will now go to public consultation, with the new powers potentially available from 2012.

Find out more and download the consultation document via the DOE website - click here.

Friday, 26 November 2010

New Title: Jan Gehl 'Cities for People'

New Title: Jan Gehl - Cities for People is in stock at PLACE priced at £31.00.

Featuring extensive photographs and illustrations from the author's work in Europe, Australia and America, Gehl's analysis  of  public spaces and 'toolbox' for city planning on a human scale makes this book an excellent addition to anyone's architecture/planning  library.

Plus we have received copies of the new issue of Building Material, the biannual journal from the Architectural Association of Ireland. Edited by Stephen Mulhall,  'Art and Architecture', is an exploration into the relationship between art and architectural practice. Copies are priced at £10 each.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

BOOKING OPEN: John Tuomey Lecture - Thurs 9th December, 1pm

John Tuomey at the launch of the Gaelaras in Derry last year

AAI Awards 2010 Lecture
Having made a significant impact across Ireland and further afield, the work of Dublin-based O’Donnell and Tuomey appeared in award lists throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. They have started the new decade in a similar vein: in 2010, their Timberyard Social Housing scheme won the AAI Downes Medal, among other international awards, while their building for Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin in Derry won an AAI Special Award and was shortlisted for the Civic & Community World Building of the Year.

In this lunchtime lecture, John Tuomey discusses the firm’s work on these two projects, the differing contexts and approaches taken, and the completed works in situ.

Venue: Reception Room, City Hall, Belfast

Cost: £5.00*

How do I book?
Complete our online booking form: click here.
Don't want to book online? Call or email us: 028 9023 2524 / [email protected]
* Please note: payment in advance or by invoice is required - we cannot accept payment on the door

Updated 26/11/2010
Venue: Reception Room, City Hall, Belfast

Friday, 19 November 2010

New titles in the bookshop

AAI Awards 2010 - New Irish Architecture is back in stock for £21.50

And we also have the 2nd edition of Key Buildings of the 20th Century: Plans, Sections and Elevations by Richard Weston for £29.00

Drop in and pick up something special for Christmas!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Andersonstown Barracks: Competition Launch

The site of the former Andersonstown Barracks site in West Belfast. Image courtesy WBPB.

The design competition for the site of the former Andersonstown Barracks was launched today by Social Development minister Alex Attwood. The competition, based on a brief put together by PLACE and the West Belfast Partnership, will be chaired by Daniel Libeskind.

Via BBC News: Libeskind to judge redesign of former PSNI site [17th Nov 2010]

Read more: Find out more about the community participation process leading up to the design brief via the website:

Update (18th Nov): The competition is now live at RIBA Competitions.


The timetable for the selection process, which may be subject to variation, is as follows:
Wednesday 17th November - Competition Launch
Friday 10th December 2010 - Deadline for any questions relating to PQQ documentation
Friday 17th December 2010 - Deadline for expression of interest
Saturday 29th January 2011 - Jury Panel meet to agree shortlist
March 2011 - Site visits for the shortlisted teams
March 2011 - Deadline for competitors to submit questions (in writing) relating to the briefing.
March 2011 - Responses to questions raised issued to competitors
May 2011 - Submission of design work for consideration
Monday 1st August 2011 - Final interviews with the team and Jury Panel
September 2011 - Result announced

Saturday, 13 November 2010

SWITCH Project in Bangor starts this weekend

North Down Borough Council and the Switch project have teamed up to bring 8 international artists into an outdoor gallery of empty shop units. Click the flyer above to enlarge.

13th-21st November. Tours Sat 13th and Thurs 18th, departing 6pm from the Marine Court Hotel.

Read more:

Creativity and innovation to provide the sustainable solutions of tomorrow

Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Nelson McCausland, with PLACE Chair Bill Morrison and PLACE Director Michael Hegarty, at the Creativity and Housing Conference at Belmont Tower, Wed 10th November. Photo by Robin Cordiner.
Creative collaborations and a focus on sustainability can tackle the economic, social and environmental challenges facing Northern Ireland.

This was the message delivered by the Culture Minister Nelson McCausland and the Environment Minister Edwin Poots at the launch of a conference series on Creativity and Innovation in the Northern Ireland Construction Industry.

Speaking at the event, Minister McCausland said: “The key priority for government in Northern Ireland is to rebuild and rebalance the economy in a way that promotes sustainable economic growth.

“Creativity involves the generation of new ideas and new ways of doing things. Innovation is the successful exploitation of these new ideas. Collaborations and partnerships between business, government and academia can spark the creative ideas that lead to innovative solutions to challenges facing the construction industry and indeed those facing Northern Ireland”.

The conference series has been organised by PLACE, Northern Ireland’s Architecture and Built Environment Centre, to stimulate creative thinking and innovative solutions to the challenges faced by the region’s construction industry.

Minister Poots said: "I believe that creativity and innovation are at the heart of sustainable development. I am committed to building solutions that support sustainable development, and am eager to promote innovation and creativity, particularly in the design of new housing where this will allow individuals to reduce their carbon footprint, and collectively, assist in meeting Northern Ireland's targets for carbon reduction".

Architect and Director of PLACE, Michael Hegarty said: "We are delighted that DCAL are supporting creativity and innovation in the Northern Ireland Economy. Architects and others in the construction industry have been among the hardest hit in the recession and the commitment from Government to support innovative design and sustainability is very welcome. The growth of the private sector in Northern Ireland will require fresh thinking based on our established economic base and architects and the construction industry generally are rising to that challenge."


- "Creativity and Innovation in the Northern Ireland Construction Industry" is a series of three conferences organised by PLACE with support from DCAL

- Each conference deals with a different theme: Creativity and Housing (10th Nov), Construction Material Innovation and Creative Industry Innovation

- The series continues in the new year

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Brutalist Building Visit and Workshop

The Ulster Museum

On Saturday 16th November Aisling Shannon introduced a group of young children to one of the most controversial architectural styles of the twentieth century. She explored the basic concept and aesthetic of Brutalism through a hands-on cast- making workshop and a tour around Belfast’s most iconic Brutalist building; the Ulster Museum.

Casting in progress

Children enjoyed creating their own personalised plaster casts in the Brutalist mould and - whilst their creations were setting - they learnt more about the design of the museum with a guided tour of the building with Aisling. The event culminated in the unveiling and exhibition of the casts. Both children and parents went away with both an original piece of Brutalist art and an insight into this most challenging of styles.

The unveiled casts

Written by Rosaleen Hickey
Photography by Amberlea Neely

Saturday, 6 November 2010

We have a winner!

College Street Mews reimagined
Congratulations to Gavan Rafferty, Hugh Magee and Elaine McFerran, whose proposals for a partipatory urban art space won the favour of our judging panel at today's Student Design Charette.

Huge thanks to all the teams for their efforts, our judges and our volunteers, and most of all to Tara Florence for bringing it all together.

A full report should appear in the next week or two with some lovely photos by Robin, who has been snapping away all day. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Why do a charette?

Over the lunch break I spoke to Tara Florence, our project coordinator, to find out the aim of today's charette - you can hear our chat on Audioboo: click here.

And click below to enlarge the site context for the charette.

College Street Mews context

The Student Design Charrette is go!

Our students have received their brief and visited the site, College Street Mews (see a map below). They're brainstorming and refining their ideas and will be drawing and modelling throughout the afternoon with pin-up at 4.45pm!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

PLACE's Winter Wonderland 2010!

The PLACE Winter Wonderland Model-Making Family Workshops return! Strictly limited places available on Saturday 4th and 11th December for primary school-age children to construct and bring home their self-designed Christmas Crib, Santa’s Grotto or Snow Palace. Materials will be provided.

Workshops start at 11am and will last approx. 2 hours - children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Please wear old clothing or bring an apron if you have one - it might get messy!

Places very limited. £5 per child (parent/guardian goes free).
Book now! Call PLACE on 028 9023 2524 or email [email protected]

£5 per child (parents/guardians go free), materials provided

[email protected] or phone 028 9023 2524

Workshop Location
PLACE, 40 Fountain Street, Belfast BT1 5EE

Workshop Facilitator
Jane Larmour

Saturday 4th December, 11am - 1pm
Saturday 11th December, 11am - 1pm

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

RTPI and RSPB Northern Ireland Sustainable Planning Awards 2010/11

The RTPI/RSPB NI Sustainable Planning Awards are open for entries. Find out more and download an entry form via the RSPB website: click here.

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

LINI Charles Jencks lecture postponed

News from the Landscape Institute NI on their SCALE lecture series:

With regret, we write to advise you that the up coming lecture by Dr Charles Jencks "SCALE: Landscape Direction & Cosmic Speculation" scheduled for the 18th of November has been postponed. 
As the final event in the series, we are aware that there are many who are keen to attend this lecture, so we are glad to announce an alternative date for this lecture in Spring 2011.  This date has yet to be confirmed, and we will provide details as soon as possible.

Contact LINI if you require further information:

[email protected]

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

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!

Monday, 18 October 2010

My PLACE: Paddy Cahill

A still from Paddy Cahill's film about Liberty Hall in Dublin
In this series, we ask practitioners, experts and enthusiasts for their take on the built environment - where are we now, how did we get here, and where are going?

This week we spoke to Paddy Cahill, Committee Member of AAI and film maker

Q. Paddy, we've recently discovered you make films. What buildings or places inspire you and your work and why?

Lots of different buildings inspire me but recently the one I got most involved in was Liberty Hall in Dublin, during and after I made a documentary about it.

My interest as a filmmaker is in the communication between architecture and the public. Many of the concepts, ideas and details that go into buildings often get lost or don’t get communicated to the public when the building is finished. All too often the people have a gut reaction to new buildings, to distrust and dislike them. Very often though their opinions can be swayed with a little background to the ideas or thoughts behind the design and purpose of the building.

Television and video are great ways to communicate these ideas in a direct and simple way. More often than not the construction of, or the history and background to buildings have great back-stories full of challenges, which is a great for storytelling in tv or video.

In the past there have not been as many opportunities for the public to engage with architecture in the way they would with other arts. This is changing with thanks to organisations like PLACE and the IAF and I think film and television can play a role in this new public appreciation for architecture too.


Related: To see Paddy’s documentary on Liberty Hall, visit his website

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Some favourites from our Flickr group

Our Flickr Group, Northern Ireland's Best Places and Buildings, showcases work by photographers from across NI. Here's a few of our favourite recent additions!

Castlerock, tilt-shifted into miniature! (jonypatterson)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

My PLACE: Stephen Pollock

In this series, we ask practitioners, experts and enthusiasts for their take on Northern Ireland's built environment - where are we now, how did we get here, and where are going?

Stephen Pollock, Roads Service, Department for Regional Development

Q. The DRD minister last week announced some major changes to traffic in central Belfast - is the car no longer the preferred mode of transport?

Last week Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy launched the consultation process for an ambitious Traffic Masterplan for Belfast city centre entitled ‘Belfast on the Move.’ This plan aims to substantially reduce traffic levels in the city centre and provide more road space for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.

Around 30,000 vehicles per day travel through the city centre on the streets either side of City Hall. About 60% of this is through traffic, with no final destination in the city centre, causing needless congestion.

By providing the alternatives and promoting their use, we can encourage people to change how they travel. As they switch in significant enough numbers, congestion can be reduced and business, the economy and the environment will all benefit, and whilst we need to continue to provide real alternatives to the car, we also need people to choose to use them. We need behavioural change.

That said, we have to be pragmatic. There is a balance to be struck. Transport needs to be a catalyst for growth, not a constraint. We need to have the right infrastructure to allow people and goods to move, supporting our economies as we move out of recession.

The vision for Belfast is to achieve a city centre where access by public transport is given a much higher priority than at present and a street environment tailored to the needs of pedestrians rather than the private car.


Related: Further details on the proposals can be found on the Belfast On The Move website

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Belfast On The Move: new transport plans for Belfast

Image via Gryts on Flickr
News from DRD on their new Belfast on the Move proposals, which will seek "to develop a sustainable transport system to serve the central area. This will be focused on improved public transport services, better facilities for walking and cycling and a reduction in the dominance of travel by private car."


30 September 2010
Radical shake up for traffic in Belfast City Centre announced

Transport Minister Conor Murphy today launched the consultation process for an ambitious Traffic Masterplan for Belfast city centre entitled ‘Belfast on the Move’.

It aims to substantially reduce traffic levels in the city centre and provide more road space for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.

The Minister said: “Belfast city centre has been transformed in recent years with major regeneration and retail redevelopments. A thriving city centre needs a transport system that not only encourages the use of more sustainable transport to reduce congestion but also enhances the environment for those who shop, visit, work and live in Belfast city centre. 

“Around 30,000 vehicles per day travel through the city centre on the streets either side of City Hall. About 60% of this is through traffic, with no final destination in the city centre causing needless congestion. This Traffic Masterplan for Belfast aims to substantially reduce those traffic levels and provide more road space for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.

“My vision is to achieve a city centre where access by public transport is given a much higher priority, and to create a safe street environment tailored to the needs of pedestrians rather than the private car. Over 40% of households in Belfast do not have access to a private car and therefore rely on public transport. For the city centre to thrive, people need to be able to access goods and services swiftly and efficiently and public transport will play an increasingly important role in this as non essential traffic is redirected away from the central area. 

“The Belfast on the Move proposals will promote a safe, sustainable and efficient transport system within Belfast City Centre. ”

The proposed ‘Sustainable Transport Enabling Measures’ will require the redistribution of available road space in the city centre in favour of public transport, pedestrians and cyclists. Improvements will be made to the road network to the west of the central area to provide an alternative route for northbound traffic. The longer term objectives of the Masterplan are to remove through traffic from the streets around City Hall so that it can be linked directly to Donegall Place and to improve public transport by facilitating cross-city bus routes and future Rapid Transit routes.

The Masterplan sets out the phased proposals which include:

· Northbound through traffic re-routed from Great Victoria Street onto Hope Street and Durham Street with south bound traffic continuing to use Great Victoria Street. Grosvenor Road will become one-way westbound and College Square North one-way eastbound.

· The redistribution of existing road space will provide extensive bus priority measures for use by public transport, taxis and cyclists.

· The delivery of 20 new controlled pedestrian crossing points; about 2.6km of new bus lanes which will also accommodate cyclists and taxis; 340m of new dedicated service bays; 1km of new dedicated cycle lanes and over 40 additional dedicated disabled parking bays.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Pat Convery, welcomed the proposals and pointed out that Belfast City Council has recently published its own revised Transport Policy, providing a framework for it to lead by example and help shape transportation in the city in a sustainable, accessible and cost effective way for all those who live, visit and work in the city. 

He said: "The keymessage is to support and promote the development of a modern, safe, accessible and integrated transportation system to enhance the connectivity for Belfast and its wider regions. Our aim is to adopt a strong and public city leadership role in the promotion of sustainable transport for the city of Belfast.” 

Emphasising that this is the start of a process that will help to transform our city centre the Minister said: “The ‘Belfast on the Move’ Masterplan outlines the emerging proposals and identifies many of the difficult issues that will have to be considered in meeting this challenge. I would encourage anyone who visits, works or lives in Belfast City Centre to examine the Masterplan and put forward your views so that they can be fully considered in developing more detailed proposals.” 

Public consultation on the proposals will close on 30 November 2010. Further details are available by phoning 028 9025 3170 or at

The public are invited to view the proposals at exhibitions to be held in Castlecourt Shopping Centre (Monday 4 - Wednesday 6 October 2010) and Victoria Square Shopping Centre (Thursday 7 - Friday 8 October 2010) and DRD offices at Clarence Court, 10-18 Adelaide St (Monday 11 - Friday 29 October 2010).

Notes to editors:

1. The Traffic Masterplan has been developed by DRD in conjunction with the Department for Social Development, Belfast City Council, Translink and other key stakeholders.

2. It is based on the proposals for the city centre outlined in the Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan (BMTP) prepared by the Department for Regional Development and published in 2004. The BMTP proposed traffic management measures for the city centre with the objective of improving accessibility with the following four key concepts :
· A City Centre Ring creating an ‘urban boulevard’ to reduce its barrier effect between the core of the city centre and surrounding areas.
· A Civic Spine running through the core linking locations of key civic importance with reduced levels of general traffic and increased priority for public transport (centred on Wellington Place, Donegal Square North and Chichester St.).
· The Belfast Cross (based on the main central retail streets of Donegal Place/Royal Ave and High St/Castle St) with high levels of priority for pedestrians.
· High Accessibility Zones around public transport nodes in the city centre.

3. The key objectives of the Traffic Masterplan are to:
· Make it easier and safer to walk, particularly crossing streets.
· Reduce the level of traffic travelling through the central area.
· Reduce bus journey times and improve reliability.
· Reduce bus layover and dwell time.
· Facilitate future rapid transit proposals.
· Provide additional cycling facilities.
· Retain good levels of accessibilty for disabled users.
· Ensure reasonable provision for on street parking and servicing of shops and businesses.
· Provide further opportunities for public realm improvements and expansion of the pedestrian areas.

4. The Masterplan is closely linked to DSD’s ‘Streets Ahead’ public realm project and future proposals for a Rapid Transit system that will route through the city centre.


The Building Limes Forum: Open Day - 23rd October

Building Limes Forum & NIEA event

Click the flyer & booking form above to enlarge.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Belfast City Council: My City, My Neighbourhood survey

City Council is inviting Belfast residents to submit their views on what the priorities for the city should be in its Corporate Plan for 2011 - 2015.

We are in the process of preparing our new Corporate Plan for 2011- 2015. This is our key strategic planning document and sets out the vision and priorities for the city.

We need the views of people from across Belfast to make sure the priorities in the plan reflect what you think are the most important things we should be doing.
Why should you take part in this survey?

As a council, we are committed to improving the quality of life of everyone who lives, works and studies in Belfast as well as those who visit and invest in our city. This is your opportunity to tell us:
- what you like about your local area
- what would make it better
- what you thin our priorities for your area and the city should be.

Your feedback will help us to get a clearer sense of the things which are important and help us improve our services across all of Belfast's neighbourhoods with a real focus on value for money.

Find out more and fill in the survey on the Belfast City Council website.

My PLACE: Alan Jones

In a new series, we ask practitioners, experts and enthusiasts for their take on Northern Ireland's built environment - where are we now, how did we get here, and where are going?

Alan Jones, Director of Education (Architecture) at Queen's University Belfast

Q. Are we training too many architects?

European architectural education is regularising to a three year undergraduate degree and two year Masters degree, increasing mobility of students and sideways moves after the first degree into disciplines including Construction & Project Management, Sustainable Design and Planning. Whist many continue on the route to becoming an architect this three plus two structure has been the normal arrangement within RIBA and ARB validated courses with the first degree considered a wide undergraduate education with many transferable skills. The hope expressed by professional bodies is the more graduates that have an introductory education in architecture the more likely the discipline will benefit in the long term.

Applications to Queens architecture programmes remain plentiful, with students taking the long view that the economic climate will improve by their graduation. Parents and students are enquiring about the history and reputation of the institution and the relationship with the industry and profession - suggesting a heightened sensitivity to employablity of graduates. Recent statistics suggest more employers are shortlisting on degree result, good news for 2010 Queen’s graduates - with over 85% obtaining a first or 2-1 degree. This result reflects students’ awareness of the need to have good results and good work in their interview portfolio.


Related: Check out the Architecture Centre Network's series "What next for Architecture graduates?"

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Architecture Foundation Australia: Master Class (May-June 2011)

29 MAY- 4 JUNE 2011


The Architecture Foundation Australia is a not-for-profit organisation, the chair of which is eminent Australian architect Glenn Murcutt. The Foundation has presented the annual Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class in Australia since 2001, as well as other professional Master Classes in New Zealand and South Africa and an annual Summer School for senior architecture students. This is the first program initiated by the Foundation in Europe, using the Master Class format, a design based studio program limited to 30 participants that undertakes a project design on a site within walking distance of the event. Since its inception, participants from over 55 nations have attended the Murcutt Master Class. It is anticipated that participants from many nations will travel to attend this the first European Master Class in Ireland.

Juhani Pallasmaa is one of Finland's most distinguished architects and architectural thinkers and a close personal friend of Glenn Murcutt. He runs his own architectural practice Arkkitehtitoimisto Juhani Pallasmaa KY in Helsinki and has completed many distinguished works over his long career. His previous positions include Rector of the Institute of Industrial Arts, Helsinki; Director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture; and Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Helsinki University of Technology. He has also held visiting professorships in several prestigious universities internationally. He continues as an energetic teacher and visiting professor. He has been author or editor of 24 books including the recent 'The Thinking Hand : Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture' (2009), 'Encounters' (2005), 'The Architecture of Image' (2001), 'The Eyes of Skin' (1995). He is an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Richard Leplastrier is little known internationally and is almost a recluse - but an outstanding teacher and 'guru'. He is a Gold Medallist of the Australian Institute of Architects, and received the Finnish 2004 Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award for his outstanding small wooden buildings, which has also been won by Renzo Piano, Kengo Kuma, Peter Zumthor and José Cruz Ovalle. He also received the 2009 Dreyer Foundation Award in Denmark made to an architect "who has made an outstanding contribution to architectural thinking and to society", and he has recently been made a 2009 Honorary Fellow of the US AIA. He worked with Kenzo Tange in Japan and with Jørn Utzon at the time of the Sydney Opera House. He is close friend and contemporary of Glenn Murcutt.

Peter Stutchbury is in many ways a protégé of Richard, and he has been a winner of numerous Australian Institute of Architects Awards and published internationally in GA Houses, Abitare, etc.. He won the 2008 International Living Steel Competition for extreme housing in Cherepovets in Russia, published in the new book 'Houses of Steel', has held the Catedra (Chair) Luis Barragan in Mexico, was a guest tutor at this year's Ghost Studio in Nova Scotia and has recently completed a house in Japan for the famous fashion designer Issey Miyake.

Lindsay Johnston emigrated from Ireland to Australia in 1986 and became Dean and Head of the Architecture School at the University of Newcastle. Originally from Dungannon, he studied in Dundee and worked in London before returning to Ireland. He has been a member of the RIAI since 1969. He worked with Denis Anderson on Castlepark Village Kinsale and ran his own practice from 1976-86. He has been a recipient of awards in Australia, including his 'autonomous' Four Horizons house, which has been published internationally, and in Ireland, including a commendation in the 2010 RIAI Awards. He now runs the Architecture Foundation in Australia.

DETAILS - all subject to confirmation
Tuesday 24 May 2011 - lecture at the RIBA, Portland Place, London (evening)
Thursday 26 May or Friday 27 May - lecture in Dublin hosted by the Architectural Association of Ireland (evening)
Saturday 28 May - an architectural tour in Dublin.
Sunday 29 May - Master Class commences at Glencree Reconciliation Centre (coach transfer from Dublin and/or Airport about 12.00 noon)
See - Glencree is only 20 km south of Dublin in the Wicklow Mountains
Saturday 4 June - Master Class concludes (coach transfer back to Dublin and/or Airport arrive mid-afternoon)

COST - including share accommodation and all meals Sunday to Saturday, coach transfers, etc.. - EUR2600 AUS$3600
CONTACT - [email protected]


RTPI NI Urban Design Series - The Value of Place-making

The Value of Place-making
28th September 2010
Titanic House

Click the flyer above for more info.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

My PLACE: Arthur Acheson

In a new series, we ask practitioners, experts and enthusiasts for their take on Northern Ireland's built environment - where are we now, how did we get here, and where are going?

Arthur, you have recently been appointed chair of MAG - what is your vision for Northern Ireland?


1. Just do it - we built great ships here when feasibility studies and economic appraisals would have shown that we had no chance of success.

2. Keep flexible - we are still small enough to take risks.  Commercial companies see us as a great place to experiment before launching programmes across the wider region - if it works here then they know it will work elsewhere.  We must learn from this and try things out ourselves.  I have found people willing to live and work in ways they would not have imagined - the first penthouses ever in Northern Ireland were the most expensive in the block - and the first to sell.  We could have monthly Culture Nights in Belfast for 47 years for the price of new paving in the city centre - and have new paving out of the profits.

3. Keep seeing the bigger picture - there is a world out there where huge numbers of people are living in conditions of poverty which are not imaginable in Northern Ireland.

5. Stop taking ourselves so seriously - nobody else does.

4. There is no number 4 because that would be too orderly

and... nobody listens to me anyway!

Arthur reminds us that his response is a personal statement and does not necessarily represent the views of the MAG or his position as Chair.


Related: Download the MAG's Raising Expectations report from the PLACE website - MAG - Raising Expectations [PDF, 420KB]

Saturday, 11 September 2010

EPLANI Event: DSD's Role in Urban Regeneration

DSD's Role in Urban Regeneration
Tues 21st September 2010

Click the flyer above to enlarge.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Summer at PLACE

As the sun shines on the last day of August we take a look back over our packed summer-schedule at PLACE.

Miguel Martin kicked off the proceedings at the Out of PLACE unit with his ghoulish adaptation of Belfast’s Corn Market, the first in the ‘Paint by Numbers’ series - members of the public were then invited to colour in and bring life to Miguel’s outline. Ryan O’Reilly was up next with his graphic ‘Day or Night’ and architect Eva McDermott’s interactive installation ‘Home’ concluded the series of live paintings - thanks to all the artists and members of the public who contributed!

Janis Steadman then gave us all green finger fever, helping young and old to make use of old roller boots, hats and even an old pram through planting. Once the planting was complete we took our moving garden through the city ending with a tea party at a secret location. Continuing on the garden theme, Andrew Kenny took up residency in Out of PLACE creating miniature hanging planted sculptures which then were distributed around the city and given new homes by members of the public.

Out of PLACE was not only host to the visual arts this summer; local talent Escape Act with the help of The Streetwise Samba Band lead a merry troupe of revellers through Belfast city centre. After a crash course in the basics, members of the public were ready to join the band and get the streets of Belfast pumping with music - no parades commission necessary! Escape Act then preformed an intimate gig in the Castle Lane unit attracting hoards of curious shoppers into what was once a deserted shop unit.

On a more serious note, PLACE also held a series of lunchtime discussions and lectures. Supported by Bagel: Bagel, our lunchtime visitors included Naomi Long (MP), architect Ciaran Mackel, Italian architecture collaborative Stalker, Bernard Clarke of Translink and many many more. We discussed issues of design, policy and community engagement throughout the three talks, ‘Reconnecting the City’, ‘Walking for a U-turn’ and ‘The Road to Nowhere’. Again our thanks go out to all the speakers who kindly attended.

Throughout the summer PLACE continued to deliver its weekend architecture walking tours including , ‘Belfast Churches’, ‘Art Deco Tour’ and a tour of Donegall Square. You can also still visit the Contested Spaces exhibition until 2nd October in PLACE, comprising a series of digital sculptures created by members of the Frank Design team.

Thanks to everyone who took part in our fun-filled summer schedule and we hope to see you all at our many upcoming autumn and winter events!

Monday, 16 August 2010

PLACE Update - 16th August 2010

Above: The Westlink, no doubt a topic of conversation at Wednesday's Roads & Transport Lunchbox Talk at PLACE. Photo by Patrick Duddy.

Find out more about Wednesday's lunchbox talk and upcoming Architecture Tours and Exhibitions: view our current newsletter here.

Opt in for regular updates on our activities using our online form, or send us an email: info [AT] placeni [DOT] org

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Putting Belfast on the Mimoa Map

PLACE are putting noteworthy Belfast buildings on the net on Mimoa - an online worldwide modern architecture guide. Check out our profile at to view and comment on our choices. Or add your own favorites by registering for free on . We are aiming to have more projects listed in Belfast than in Dublin by the end of the summer!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The past inside the present

Sergey Larenkov's blog features images of significant historical events in cities like Berlin, Moscow and Prague - mostly from WWII era - combined with their modern day setting.


New titles in the PLACE bookshop

Urban Planning and the Pursuit of Happiness
The planning and subsequent use and appropriation of urban spaces is the focus of this book. Its thesis is that urban planning is more than shaping ground spaces or building complexes; implicit is the promise for better conditions for living. Both the pursuits of the planners and those of their target communities are considered in this light as well as a dozen European case studies from the Enlightenment to Modernism.

Design Like You Give a Damn
Edited by Architecture for Humanity, Design Like You Give a Damn is a compendium of innovative projects from around the world that demonstrate the power of design to improve lives. The first book to bring the best of humanitarian architecture and design to the printed page, Design Like You Give a Damn offers a history of the movement toward socially conscious design and showcases more than 80 contemporary solutions to such urgent needs as basic shelter, health care, education, and access to clean water, energy, and sanitation. Featured projects include some sponsored by Architecture for Humanity as well as many others undertaken independently, often against great odds.