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PLACE architecture centre funding withdrawn


PLACE architecture centre has lost it’s Arts Council of Northern Ireland funding after a decade and a half of Arts Council Northern Ireland support, a dedicated team and an ambitious programme year on year.

There was an air of shock last week as the arts and architecture fields absorbed the news that PLACE had lost it’s Arts Council Northern Ireland support.

In the 15 years since PLACE opened its doors as the Architecture Centre of Northern Ireland, a small, dedicated team has delivered numerous high quality events, exhibitions and projects that engage the public in architecture, urbanism and the built environment. As well as flagship events – the annual Open House Belfast architecture festival, the Urban Design Academy for young people and our podcast series, The Infinite City – this team produce exhibitions, events and tours throughout the year.

IAF Director Nathalie Weadick has responded with this statement of support.

“It was a shock when I heard the news on Friday that PLACE architecture centre in Belfast is facing closure because their regular funding for 15 years from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland will stop in July.  Coincidently and ironically, Friday was also the day that Close Encounter, curated by Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of 16 projects by contemporary Irish architects opened in the Glucksman Gallery Cork. This exhibition was a public celebration of the exceptional, internationally recognised talent in this country. Close Encounter was originally shown in the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, alongside other projects including Hall McKnight from Belfast: it was a significant moment for Irish architecture.  At the opening in Cork, Shelley spoke generally about the need to grow the desire for architecture.  It struck me, in the context of the “exit” of Arts Council of Northern Ireland from architecture, that growing the desire for architecture is something that agencies like PLACE work hard everyday to do. Since its inception PLACE has been championing the power of architecture to transform lives and improve the places where we live, learn, work and play. Through its creative, inclusive and stimulating programme it has raised awareness and generated conversations, as well as critically engaging a diverse public. Please continue to support successful agencies like PLACE to grow the public’s interest in their built environment and desire for quality architecture, not least when architecture is an art-form that is so closely entwined with the cultural, social and economical vibrancy of a city. “