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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

New magazines in the PLACE Bookshop


Now in stock at the RIBA Bookshop at PLACE:

- The Architects' Journal - weekly - £4.50
- The Architectural Review - monthly - £9.00
- Architectural Record - monthly - £10.95

Don't forget we also stock Perspective, the journal of the RSUA (£4.00 bimonthly; back-issues £2.00 each) and the photography magazine Source (£6.00 quarterly).

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Minister Joins Celebration Of Historic Graveyard Restoration Project


Rainey Monument after restoration

Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson MP MLA, today joined The Follies Trust at Knockbreda Parish Church in the Castlereagh Borough Council area to celebrate the conservation of two listed mausolea within the historic graveyard, as well as the launch of a related publication, Knockbreda – its monuments and people.

The event marked the culmination of several years of hard work by The Follies Trust, a charity and all-Ireland building preservation trust, which has raised substantial funds through lectures, donations and grant aid to restore the 18th century Greg and Rainey mausolea. Both B+ listed structures were at serious risk due to disrepair but have now been saved for the benefit of present and future generations.

The book, edited by Lydia Wilson, gives a fascinating insight into the people memorialised at Knockbreda – from merchant princes to paupers. It has contributions from Hugh Dixon, Prof James Stevens Curl, Dr Finbar McCormick, Nini Rogers and others.

Speaking before the launch, the Chairman of The Follies Trust, Primrose Wilson CBE, enthused:

“Follies are joyful little buildings which aim to please!”

“These gorgeous structures proclaim to the world the importance of the people buried in them – they played a major role in making Belfast a great industrial city. The mausolea are part of Belfast’s heritage and have received a new lease of life since their restoration."

“The Follies Trust is proud to have played its part in rejuvenating this part of our history. Today at our celebration we are delighted to be joined by the Minister and descendants of the Greg and Rainey families who have traveled from Glasgow, London and Cambridge to be with us.”

Thursday, 18 June 2009

PLACE library project underway


Image from Bronagh on the PLACE library blog

Our team of volunteer librarians has assembled, and they've started the slightly daunting task of making sense of the wide range of reference materials PLACE has gathered over the past five years - as they put it: "periodicals, reports, exhibition brochures, flyers, promotional materials, maps, postcards and a whole host of other ephemera - all relating in some way to planning, landscape, architecture, community and environment."

Their blog will be especially interesting for anyone interested in librarianship and archiving, and it's definitely a learning experience for the staff here at PLACE.

Blog: PLACE library

"Homes that should be lived in"


Image from bfrank35 on Flickr

In the Guardian, an extract from Anna Minton's Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First-Century City on the unforeseen consequences of the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder programme in Oldham.

"...It was intended to be part of the regeneration process, but, as with all grand intentions, it had unforeseen consequences on the ground - the first of which was riding roughshod over the community, and the second is that as soon as you start getting investors in, they're interested in the bottom line and not necessarily the interests of regeneration ... You end up with the wrong results and the wrong development."

- Paul Stinchcombe, a former Labour MP who voted for the legislation

The Guardian: Razing the roots

Thursday, 11 June 2009

"Gone but not forgotten"


The Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth, demolished in 2004 - image from chrispursey on Flickr

The BBC reports on a new "support group for bereaved architects".

The Rubble Club aims to draw attention to the number of buildings it believes are being torn down unnecessarily:

Rubble Club Secretary John Glenday said: "People often don't notice architecture until it is gone, and they wake up one morning to find a big hole where there was once a building.

"But at the end of the day demolition is usually the least environmentally friendly option.

"When you consider the energy that has being expended putting something up, it is usually well worth the time thinking about whether it is sensible bringing it down."

The club has some criteria for entry:

The building's architect must be alive and not party to its destruction, and the building must be built with the intention of permanence, meaning exhibitions, shops and interiors are not eligible.

Finally, the building must be deliberately destroyed or radically altered, and so cannot simply burn down, for example.

BBC News: Support for 'bereaved' architects
Organisation website: The Rubble Club

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.

FAB launch night and Late Night Art at PLACE

Forum for Alternative Belfast launch night at the Black Box


Mark Hackett, of Hackett Hall McKnight and the Forum for Alternative Belfast, introduces the concept of the Grey Doughnut at last night's launch - photo by Amberlea Trainor

Last night saw the PLACE-sponsored launch of the Forum for Alternative Belfast at the Black Box in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter. The launch saw a great turnout, with presentations on the Forum's key areas of interest by its members, followed by a discussion panel led by Shane O'Toole.

More on the Forum from the BBC News site:

"We feel there are a lot of vacant sites left close to the city centre, and we need to concentrate on rebuilding that centre and its connections to the wider communities where people live.

"You've still got a city centre which is pretty empty at night, and even with 15 years of boom we haven't solved problems like the Westlink - it divides the city from its city centre.

"We're talking about simple things.

"A city doesn't feel safe if you're walking past a vacant site, especially at night, and that's still the characterisation of much of Belfast city centre," he said.

The Forum has a number of short-term projects which they think could change aspects of the city.

• Give incentives to developers to redevelop Garfield Street in order to link North Street to Royal Avenue

• Redevelop North Street arcade to link Donegall Street to the city centre

• Take down the wall which cuts through Berry Street (beside Castlecourt) to link the square in front of Kelly's Cellars more openly to Royal Avenue

• Have a city centre-wide speed limit of 20mph

BBC News: Imagining a new vision of Belfast

Late Night Art at PLACE: Non-Iconic Mackintosh and Robin Cordiner


Gordon Ash of Keppie Design introduces the Non-Iconic Mackintosh exhibition for the Late Night Art tour group - photo by Amberlea Trainor


Meanwhile, back at PLACE we had Late Night Art for June, with an introduction to the Non-Iconic Mackintosh exhibition by Gordon Ash of Keppie Design, and the launch of weePLACE003 - a selection of prints by Belfast artist Robin Cordiner: more on those projects from the PLACE website.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

New titles in the PLACE Bookshop

City Supplements - an Alternative Urban Survey


Image copyright Phil Hession

City Supplements is published by PS² and accompanied by a series of events. It documents adventures in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter by artists, architects and historians, with the aim of finding new insights into the area.

Short articles are accompanied by foldout maps, diagrams and illustrations.

From the introduction by Peter Mutschler of PS²:

"Any of us could make further additions, make our own city supplement. All it needs is curiosity and time for a leisurely walk through the city. One will soon start to discover, appreciate, dislike and wishfully imagine aspects of the urban environment. From there, it is only a few steps further to be engaged, to act, to lobby."

Now available in the PLACE Bookshop.
Price: £1.50

New Irish Architecture 24: AAI Awards 2009


università Luigi Bocconi by Grafton Architects - image from UnprobableView on Flickr

The Architectural Association of Ireland announced the winners of its annual awards earlier this year. Each of these projects is now documented in the AAI's largest edition yet of its accompanying book, New Irish Architecture 24.

An exhibition of the winners is now touring Ireland and will come to PLACE in Winter 2009.

Now available in the PLACE Bookshop.
Price: £21.50

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Derry's favourite buildings

Winners of the Derry Journal-Foyle Civic Trust Favourite Building Awards for 2008 were announced at a ceremony at the Guildhall in Derry last week.

Derry's outgoing Mayor Gerard Diver presented each winner with their well-earned Favourite Building Awards certificates. Mayor Diver praised all those who won an award as well as all those who were initially nominated by the public. He also commended the Foyle Civic Trust and, in particular, Honorary Secretary Colm Cavanagh, for creating the innovative awards.

The awards celebrated the very best of the city's built environment. The nomination and voting process spanned several months and saw local people voting in their thousands for the region's most popular buildings, open spaces, restorations and artworks.

The winners (all images courtesy of the Derry Journal):

Favourite Public Building
Holy Cross College, Strabane


Winner Award: Mrs Maria Doherty, Principal.
Architect Award: RPP Architects with HLM Architects

Favourite Residential Building/Development
Bayview Gardens, Waterside


Winner Award: Fermac Properties
Architect Award: ASI Architects

Favourite Commercial Building
The Sollus Centre, Bready


Winner Award: Bready & District Ulster Scots Association
Architect Award: Hegarty Carr Architects

Favourite Restored Building
The Opticians, 34 Waterloo Street


Winner Award: Janice Milligan
Architect Award: Paul McLaughlin, Architect.

Special Commendation
“Where Dreams Go” (AKA “Ambrose the Pig”) sculpture at The Alley Theatre, Strabane

Award: Strabane District Council
Sculptor: Martin Heron, Cookstown (now resident in France).


Favourite Open Space
Newmarket Street/Linenhall Street space

Winner Award: DSD N-W Development Office.
Architect Award: MWA

Favourite Public Artwork and 2008 Overall Winner
City of Oak sculpture “An Taoiseach Feasa” (Chief of Knowledge) at St Paul’s Primary School, Galliagh, by artist Kieran O'Doherty.


Winner Award: St Paul’s Primary School.
Artist Award: Kieran O’Doherty, sculptor.

Derry Journal: Favourite Building Awards