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The IAF’s second Hometown Architect call for projects is now open. We invite community groups to apply in partnership with an architect who has a connection to their town or village.
As communities around Ireland face challenges like vacancy, dereliction, traffic management and depopulation, the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF) is calling for local architects and community stakeholders to propose collaborative projects to regenerate their town or village centre.
The project proposals are being called for under a new round of the Hometown Architect initiative that has opened for applications today (09.11.23). Hometown Architect is a key initiative of the IAF’s Reimagine placemaking programme.
This is the second round of Hometown Architect, whose focus is supporting small and medium towns outside of major urban centres. Three projects will be selected for development funding of €10,000 each plus mentoring and practical support from the IAF’s experienced placemaking team.
Project proposals for Hometown Architect 2024 must be made jointly by community stakeholders and an architect with a local connection. Proposals should focus on issues of particular concern, opportunities or innovations for town centre regeneration in line with the Government of Ireland’s Town Centre First Policy. This policy aims to make town centres across Ireland viable, vibrant and attractive locations for people to live, work and visit.
Submissions will be assessed by a panel of experts, including the IAF team, Town Centre First Policy specialists and independent experts.
Hometown Architect 2024 builds on the success of the 2023 round of Hometown Architect, which is supporting projects in Aughrim, Co Wicklow; Belmullet, Co Mayo; Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare; Tipperary town; and Tuam, Co Galway. Hometown Architect is a catalyst for active citizenship in the built environment, encouraging creative connections between community groups and architecture professionals to deliver ground-up implementation of the national Town Centre First Policy.
Announcing the opening of the second round of Hometown Architect, Director of the Irish Architecture Foundation, Emmett Scanlon, said: “As an organisation with a national focus and remit, Hometown Architect is a key initiative in the Irish Architecture Foundation’s Reimagine placemaking strand of work. I am very pleased that we can launch a new call for a second round of proposals. The IAF is committed to supporting and enabling communities and architects to use their local knowledge, experience and ambition to transform their towns into sustainable places to live, while fostering and protecting civic pride. The IAF is dedicated to enabling and supporting local architects and communities to engage with the national Town Centre First Policy, and other national policies and initiatives focused on the future of towns in Ireland. We value our continued collaboration with and value the continued support of our funders without which the IAF could not have such local impact right across Ireland.”
Also commenting, Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, said: “My Department of Rural and Community Development shares responsibility for the national Town Centre First Policy. A key aim of this policy is to enable local communities and local businesses to be key drivers of development, as well as central to the reimagining and planning of their towns for the future.
“I am delighted to welcome the second call for applications to the Hometown Architect fund. Projects like these set the scene for others attempting a similar focus on vacancy and dereliction in our rural towns, and on bringing new life and focus back to our town centres, empowering people to affect change at a local level. The IAF’s Reimagine programme, with its focus on placemaking, further enhances the Town Centre First approach and the work of local groups towards making our towns attractive places to live, work and visit.”
Applications will be accepted from Thursday 9 November 2023 until Friday 19 January 2024, through an online application form.
The full brief for Hometown Architect applicants can be downloaded from the Hometown Architect Open Call page on the Reimagine website.
Two online information sessions will outline the application process in detail and provide an opportunity for potential applicants to ask questions during a Q&A:
The three successful projects will be announced in February 2024.
Hometown Architect is part of the Irish Architecture Foundation’s Reimagine placemaking programme and is funded by the Arts Council and the Department of Rural and Community Development, with additional support to the IAF from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
Visit reimagineplace.ie to be kept up to date with Hometown Architect and other news and events from across our Reimagine programme.
Photos: Aughrim accessibility survey, St Patrick’s Day 2023, photo by Ste Murray. Aughrim sensory walk, photo by Louis Haugh. Lisdoonvarna Tapping the Well community meeting (2 photos), courtesy of Lisdoonvarna team. Aughrim all-ages activity sheets, St Patrick’s Day 2023, photo by Ste Murray.