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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

PLACE Urban Design Summer School Day Four | Urban Design & Building Visits

The PLACE Urban Design Summer School is a week long event for 14 - 20 years olds to explore architecture, design, public art, sketching, photography, urban history and more! The week offers the 27 young people registered a chance to learn about the built environment through exciting workshops, fascinating tours and more!

The Summer School is a part of 'out of PLACE' in Ireland's tallest building, The Obel. With support from Karl Group and McConnell Property PLACE are occupying the ground floor with fantastic views over-looking the River Lagan until September. Out of PLACE will also host the 'Secret Laboratories' exhibition and the 'RSUA President's Medal: The Shortlist' exhibition.

Let's see what everyone got up to on day four with a particular focus on Urban Design and some exciting Building Visits...


Day four of the PLACE Urban Design Summer School and the sun was out for one of the hottest days of the year! Perfect for walking around the city to visit the Ulster Museum, Lyric Theatre and Refound. Meeting at the Ulster Museum the Summer School participants gathered for a group shot outside the recently renovated Museum.

The PLACE Urban Design Summer School Participants.
Photo by Robin Cordiner.

Inside Les McLean presented a fascinating insight into the Ulster Museums history and daily life. Les described the three stages of the Museum: The Original, The Extension and The Renovation.


Les McLean, Ulster Museum. Photo by Robin Cordiner.

On route to the Lyric Theatre the Summer School passed Friar's Bush Graveyard where Gary Potter explained the significance of the site to Belfast and delved into some of the fascinating history of the site.


Gary Potter leading the group past Friar's Bush to the Lyric Theatre.
Photo by Robin Cordiner.

Walking along Stranmillis and turning down Ridgeway Street the Summer School arrive at the Lyric Theatre.

The entrance staircase inviting visitors into the Lyric.
Photo by Robin Cordiner.


The Lyric Theatre began as the Lyric Players in 1951 when a small production took place in the consulting room of Dr Pearse and Mrs Mary O'Malley's house at 117 Lisburn Road. In 1952 a stable loft at the O'Malley's new home was converted into studio space and for the next sixteen years a wide range of cultural activities took place from the small space in Derryvolgie Avenue. 
In 1965 Austin Clarke laid the foundation stone for a new £80,000, 350 seat theatre on Ridgeway Street which opened to the public on October 26th 1968. For forty years the Lyric operated out of the 1960's building at the bottom of Ridgeway Street, however the 21st century brought new challenges the building could not cater for. 
Did you spot the H & W cranes?
Photo by Robin Cordiner.

Following an extensive fundraising campaign launched in 2003 to develop a new purpose built theatre building the existing theatre was closed in January 2008. Deemed no longer fit for purpose the building was demolished in June 2008 and construction on a new £18.1m theatre got underway in March 2009. The Lyric continued as a touring theatre company during the three year construction period. The new Lyric Theatre opened on May 1st 2011 with a Gala Performance of 'The Crucible'.

The building invites the natural environment in.
Photo by Robin Cordiner.


The Lyric Theatre is the result of an RIBA International Design Competition held in May 2003 from which O’Donnell & Tuomey Architects (Dublin) proposal was announced as the winning design. The final design, submitted for planning approval in July 2007, was approved by DoE Planning Service in April 2008. A combination of factors including: the irregular shape and elevation of the site, a corner location and river setting and the surrounding brick street-scapes and green park areas, led to an architectural design that responded to the urban and landscape conditions. The design incorporates a blend of 'Belfast' brick, Iroko wood, glass and steel.


Dominic talks about the Lyric Theatre.
Photo by Robin Cordiner.


The new Lyric Theatre is almost three times the size of the previous building and provides around 54,164 sq ft of usable space over four floors. A 389 seat auditorium hosts main Lyric stage whilst the 12m by 15m Naughton Studio provides flexible space for between 125 - 170 persons. The Lyric also includes a rehearsal room the same size as the main stage, an education suit, green room, dressing rooms, backstage facilities, box office, cafe/bar and board room.

The Summer School at the Lyric.
Photo by Robin Cordiner.


The Lyric has won numerous awards including the RIBA, RIAI, Civic Trust, AAI and Liam McCormick Building of the Year Awards 2012.

The Lyric Theatre. Photo by Robin Cordiner.


After a detour to the Crescent Park for lunch on the grass (with sunshine!) the Summer School headed back to the Obel for an Urban Design Workshop with Architect Geoff Sloan who works within the Design Unit of DoE Planning.

Geoff Sloan discusses Urban Design with the Summer School.
Photo by Catherine McCormick.

To complete another exciting day at the Urban Design Summer School the participants visited Refound at Wellington Place as Jill O'Neill highlighted the growing significance of pop-up shops play in animating our towns. Jill is now creating a permanent home for Refound within the 1830's Georgian building and working to slowly but surely repair the damage caused through dereliction. 


Jill from Refound talks pop-up shops. Photo by Gary Potter.

To finish the day four blog entry we will leave you with some photos from the Refound building at Wellington Place...

The Refound building. Photo by Gary Potter.

The Refound building. Photo by Gary Potter.

The Refound building. Photo by Gary Potter.

The Refound building. Photo by Gary Potter.

The Refound building. Photo by Gary Potter.

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