learning architecture


a PhD in live projects and architectural education

Straddling the North Channel

Two unrelated events tomorrow, one on either side of the North Channel between Britain and Ireland, are drawing the attention of architecture students and practitioners to the city around them.

In Belfast, you can catch up on the progress of the second annual Forum for an Alternative Belfast (FAB) Summer School. It’s been running all week, with groups being assigned different sectors of the city to investigate and study. At 16:00 tomorrow in the ground floor of the University of Ulster’s York Street complex, you can see the culmination of the week’s events. FAB seems to be keeping their activity close to street level, so their website hasn’t been updated since 2009. From the email I received announcing the event, here’s the skinny:


The 2nd Forum Summer School will take place on the ground floor foyer area of the University of Ulster’s York Street campus. This year’s focus is on part of inner north Belfast. The primary purpose of the School is to respond to the ‘Missing City’ agenda; the outcome of last year’s Summer School. This will see a particular focus on the three areas outlined below. Importantly though, the School will promote a strategic understanding and a strategic response to each focus area. Key themes for the week’s work, therefore, will include: connectivity; the pedestrian experience; ground floor animation of buildings; good quality public spaces; workable street layouts; high standard sustainable urban housing; and robust block design.

The School Event

In order to promote a strategic analytical approach to the development of the city, the Summer School process will facilitate ongoing discussion around a large table with a map of the entire study area. All the main discussions/workshops will take place around this table. Satellite study groups will focus on specific areas/ Issues within this strategic context. Evening sessions which will be open to the public will sum up each day’s work.

The Outcomes

The Summer School seeks to demonstrate the benefits of a thorough analysis of city form and structure and a design process that is strategic, imaginative and inclusive. It anticipates that the outcomes will help steer and guide a number of existing and proposed individual projects within the study area. A poster map will be published initially and later a booklet documenting the results, all contributors will be acknowledged. The work will be copyrighted to Forum for Alternative Belfast as a Community Interest Company.

Meanwhile, in Glasgow, there’s a whole day of events running throughout the city as part of the inaugural workshop of the Scottish Architecture Students Assembly. Entitled Collective Identity: Past, Present Future Glasgow, you need to register for participation, events include a pop-up cinema matiné in the Barras market and evening soirée at Mono. The ‘wegies seem to be more down with the interwebs than their Belfast compatriots, so you can join the Facebook event page or follow their blog.


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