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StreetSpace is a research and teaching project at Queen's University

Belfast, led by Dr Agustina Martire, which seeks to understand the
significance of mixed use streets, by analysing their physical, historical and
experiential aspects. This multidisciplinary and international project aims
to provide an alternative way of planning, preserving and developing

Workshop - City Hall - 19-20 June 2018

A two-day workshop to explore the complexity of local mixed use streets in

Belfast. We will explore North Street and Castle Street, and the potential for
projects that provide fair, accessible and diverse streets for all. Based on the
one-year live project between students of the MArch/MSC urban design
and regeneration and Department for Communities/Belfast City Council,
we will develop a series of activities that will lead us to 6 new maps of
North Street and Castle Street.

Exhibition - PLACE –22 June-21 July 2018

The maps and proposals of the project will be exhibited together with the
new set of maps produced in the workshop. The exhibition is free and open
to the public.

Queen’s University Belfast Amy Service
June 2018 Benjamin Stevenson
Rebecca Thompson
Project coordinator Rebecca Wilson
Dr Agustina Martire
Planning Students
Editors and convenors Andrew Allen
Dr Agustina Martire Katia Joana Santana Antonio
Brett Mahon Rachael Black
Mark Donnelly Karolin Bludau
Ben Stevenson Shaobin Cai
Anna Skoura Christopher Carson
Feng Chen
MSc Planning coordinator Brendan Comber
Neil Galway Marie Crangle
Sophie Devlin
Sponsor Lisa Hagan
Department for Communities Devyn Hanna
Chenchen Hong
Host Arnaldo Sombo Camunda
Belfast City Council Michael Keown
Yifei Long
Supported by Ciaran Mac Allister
Culture and Society Aaron Maguire
SNBE - QUB Brian Mc Parland
Lindsay McCorkell
Architecture Students Barry McKinley
Lucy Atkinson Shuoqing Qiao
Chloe Campbell Catherine Rossborough
Sarah Carson Beth Russell
Conall Casey Qian Wang
Bernard Curtin
Praveen Daivasigamani
Mark Donnelly
Naomi Faulkner
Fiona Feeney
Jack Knights


Tuesday 19th June Wednesday 20th June

9.00 – Registration 9.00 – Work in groups

9.45 – Opening speech Greg Keeffe
10.00 – Agustina Martire 12.00 – Pecha Cucha – 3 talks x 7 min
10.15 – group organisation Jane Clossick ‐ London
10.30 – derive walk StreetSpace team - Belfast
Darja Marincek ‐ Ljubljana
12.30 – Pecha Cucha – 3 talks x 7
minutes 12.30 – lunch
Bedour Hameid – Hamburg/Cairo
David Littlefield ‐ Bristol 1.30 – work in groups – prepare map
Marianna Ascolese ‐ Napoli/London
4.00 – group presentations
1.00 – lunch
5.00 – Reception
2.00 – fieldwork in groups

Image credits

Culture and Society Cluster. SNBE. QUB

Geography Map Library. QUB
Joe Laverty
NMNI. National Museums Northern Ireland
Philip McAlpine
PRONI. Public Record Northern Ireland
RIA. Historic Towns Atlas
SaveCQ Campaign

StreetSpace Studio 17-18

StreetSpace explores streets that risk losing their distinctive identities,

while seeking to understand and value their diversity and complexity. This
year we developed a collaborative live project, where MArch students
worked together with MSc Urban Design and Urban Regeneration
students, under a brief agreed with the Department for Communities and
Belfast City Council. The project aims to provide alternative ways of
planning, developing and designing mixed-use streets in Belfast City

Architecture and planning students analysed North Street and Castle Street,
to understand their present conditions and their potential. This analysis
looked at six themes:

Histories and heritage

Housing and communities

Arts and culture


Public space

Movement and access

The first semester was a collaborative analytical studio joining architecture

and planning students, while the second one challenged architecture
students to produce proposals for the area that consider and enhance the
diversity, vibrancy and spatial quality of the streets.

1900 2017
1920 1950 1980

Castle Street previously Dance Halls - Romano’s 1961 | Inside Feely’s 1973 | Car 1970s punk Kelly’s Eye Bingo
called Mill Street and Maxims located off Hair Salon bomb explodes scene Hall is still in use
Queen Street
1960 | Protest march of
200 men for higher pay
Teashops were popular
at the turn of the 20th Cinemas - Belfast Picture 1977 | Disturbances Old Smithfield market
century House and Smithfield/ as Nationalist parade burns down
The Ritz located off is prevented from
Royal Avenue continuing into City

Visualising Culture Castle Street

‘A more effective approach to cultural

regeneration may involve making urban
and Education

design central to the process of revitalizing urban

areas. This requires the notion of urban design to be
firmly derived from an understanding of culture in
Culture , Arts

both the general and particular sense. In other words,

the practice of urban design in such areas should be
closely linked to the practice of artistic and cultural
activities.’ (Matthew Wansborough & Andrea Mageean,

Culture and art define the identities of cities. They

provide the background to most activities and help
sustain the authenticity of places. They appear as
part of the establised community or in the back lanes
and interstices of the city. North Street is part of the
Cathedral Quarter, which has, in recent decades, seen
a resurgence of the arts community and a revival of
local arts and music. Castle Street on the other hand
is part of a more engrained and traditional culture,
where food, music, pubs and all kinds of services have
survived through blitz, troubles and globalisation. Visual Activism Belfast
Activism groups have recently resurfaced to claim
these spaces from the threat of commercial redevelop-
ment. This group investigated the arts and culture of
the area, involving the local arts and activism

‘In our investigation into culture, arts and

education, we attempted to define what culture means
in the context of Belfast. We mapped cultural activi-
ties in the subject area; mainstream and alternative.
Identifying these uses and overlaying diagrammatic
maps built up a picture of current and past patterns
of cultural use in the area. Comparing this
information with current development plans for
Cathedral Quarter and the city centre highlighted the
negative impact that the Royal Exchange masterplan
could have on the network of artists studios, cultural
hubs, independent shops and galleries operating in
the area.’ Rebecca T, architecture student

Visualising Culture North Street

North Street & Castle Street

Night Clubs

Sporting Clubs


Surviving Music Venues

The Sunflower- Union Street Berts Jazz Bar - Skipper Street The Fountain Tavern - Fountain Street Kelly’s Cellars - Bank Street The John Hewitt - Donegall Street Pizza Boutique - Castle Street The Hercules - Castle Street The ARC - Donegall St Place Fenderesky Gallery - North Street The Mac - Exchange Street West Pollen Studios - Queen Street Array Studios - King street Cathedral Studios - Donegall Street
New Music Venues

Dance Halls existing pre 2017

Music venues existing pre 2017



Craft & Design Collective - Fountain Centre Sawyers - College Street The Mourne Seafood Bar - Bank Square Black Box - Hill Street Cafe Red - Castle Street Cosgrove’s Bar- Castle Street Boyle’s Bakery - Castle Street Aether & Echo - Lower Garfield Street PS2 Paragon Studios - North Street Belfast Exposed - Donegall Street Belfast Print Workshop - Waring Street Oh Yeah Music Centre - Gorden Street Bigg Life Arts Centre - North Street Other Eateries

Eateries existing pre 2017

Universities / Higher Education



Community Centres
PLACE - Lower Garfield Street
Refugee Centres

Homeless Centres

Religious Centres / Churches / Cathedrals

Art Galleries

Art Studios
Queerspace - Waring Street
Art galleries existing pre 2017

Surviving Cinemas

New Cinemas

Cinemas existing pre 2017

Urban Activism - Regarding built infrastruc

ture, planning changes, built heritage and
Greater Shankill Partnership - Shankill Rd
building use.

Social Activism - Regarding social issues

such as same sex marriage, abortion, etc.

Political Activism - Regarding political

issues such as the unstable government,
lack of governing bodies and austerity.

Women’s Centre - Shankill Rd Visual Activism - Regarding street art and


Divis Community Centre - Ardmoulin St

St Mary’s RC Church - Bank Square

Berry Street Presbyterian Church

St Anne’s Cathedral - Donegall Street

Belfast Central Library - Royal Avenue

Provincial Masonic Hall - Rosemary St

Royal Belfast Institution - College Sq East

St Stephen’s Church - Millfield

Ulster University - York Street Belfast Metropolitian - Millfield St Mary’s Primary School - Divis Street Nursery School - Stanhope Street Linen Hall Libray - Donegall Square
Comparative Housing Studies

Apartment Terrace House

Apt 2F Kent Street 65 Boyd Street Belfast
GIA - 62.5 sqm
GIA - 67.3 sqm NIA - 55.4 sqm
NIA - 65.1 sqm
GREEN space - 5.71 sqm
GREEN space - 1.12 sqm

Timberyard Town House 2

Alexandra House
2 Bedroom
‘Place is always important in heritage, as 1979 - London Soical Housing
3 X Persons
memories are produced in and through 2009 - Dublin
GIA - 85.6 sqm
particular places, journeys and mobilities’ NIA - 75.7 sqm O’Donnell Tuomey
GIA - 86.1 sqm

(John Urry, 1996) GREEN space - 32.7 sqm NIA - 73.2 sqm
Housing and

The concept of heritage has largely evolved in GREEN SPACE - 18 sqm
the last 50 years. There was a very clear shift GREEN SPACE - 43%
from protecting single buildings of monumental
Town house 1
significance to a broader approach of the urban
3 Bedroom
landscape and intangible heritage. 4 X Persons

Although the need for protecting a single or GIA - 112.2 sqm

group of structures of ‘fine architecture’ was NIA - 103 sqm

widely accepted even among modernist GREEN SPACE - 71 sqm

architects (CIAM 1946), it is only with the
Recommendation on the Historic Urban
Landscape (UNESCO 2011) that the street as
public space has been recognised as an element
of the urban fabric worthy of protection. This
group explored the value of built heritage and
historic urban landscapes of the streets analysed
and aimed to develop a strategy of protection of
the significance of mixed-use streets.

‘The StreetSpace project really helped me to

develop and improve my understanding of
heritage in Belfast. Through research and
analysis into conservation areas, the listing
process and what it actually meant for a
building to have listing status, I developed a
clear understanding of the importance and
necessity of retention of this heritage,
especially today in Belfast city centre.’
Naomi, architecture student

North Street & Castle Street

‘Work on sensory urban experiencing needs to
address more fully the diversity and
paradoxes produced by different forms of
mobility through, and perceptual memories of,
built environments.’ (Degen and Rose, 2012)
Movement &

Streets are not only corridors that help you

get from A to B. They are complex spaces,
very difficult to control and manipulate, but
which have been cleverly designed by road
experts to suit the most important of means
of transportation: the private car. Now this
prominence of the car is challenged from all
fronts: health, activity, sustainability. Walking
is an experience, while driving can transform
from a pleasure to a nuisance depending on the

Belfast has suffered enough from road led

development. It is time to question this
tendency and start providing proper
alternatives for public transport, cycling and

walking, that will allow the communities in

the inner city to have a pleasant experience of
arriving to the city centre. This group analysed
movement and access through close observation
and diagrams, focusing and understanding
schemes of best practice in other cities to provide
alternatives for the existing streets.

‘I found the experience of multidisciplinary work NO

very formative and informative, particularly the EET

presentation stages because these

offered an opportunity to understand how
people from different backgrounds looked QUE

critically at Castle Street and North Street.’

Katia, planning student HI


‘The group looked at the existing patterns of


cars, buses, vans, cyclists and pedestrians


within the city. From these studies we saw how


the city has been designed to favour vehicular COLLEGE


access over pedestrian movement. One example

of this we considered could be improved, was

the amount of street space given over to on


street parking, as opposed to a larger, safer and


improved public realm.’ GROSVENOR RD

Mark, architecture student

North Street & Castle Street


Car park
Public Footpath/Square
Private Land
Green Space
‘When outdoor areas are of poor quality, only
strictly necessary activities occur. When
outdoor areas are of high quality, necessary
activities take place with approximately the
same frequency – though they clearly tend to take
a longer time, because the physical conditions
are better. In addition, however, a wide range of
Public Space

optional activities will take place because place

and situation now invite people to stop, sit, eat,
play, and so on.’
(Jan Gehl 1987)

Streets are essentially public spaces and connect

diverse areas of the city, weaving together the
urban fabric. Few would disagree that streets are
an essential component of urban life.

Yet, questions such as what makes a good street

are not so readily addressed. Some answers have
been given by urban designers and planners,
but these tend to be simplistic and avoid the
complex reality of streets. Academia has largely
defended the value of streets as public spaces,
while urban design firms have proposed
solutions to the design and improvement of
streets for pedestrians. Meanwhile, some cities
have failed to address problems of streets such
as low occupation, dereliction, demolition and
replacement of the built fabric, leaving them in
the hands of private development. It therefore
appears important to understand the current
value of streets as public spaces, long before
implementing or even designing an intervention
in the built fabric. This group looked at streets
as public spaces, analysing the spaces, materials,
atmosphere and thresholds between public and
private space.

‘I found that working on North Street / Castle

Street was quite an informative module due to
the ongoing discussion about future plans for the
area. I valued the opportunity to work with the
other disciplines on a joint project to understand
how working in practice will be.’ Andrew,
planning student

North Street & Castle Street

‘Reformers have long observed city people

loitering on busy corners, hanging around in

candy stores and bars and drinking soda pop
on stoops, and have passed a judgement, the
gist of which is: ‘This is deplorable! If these
people had decent homes and a more private or
bosky outdoor place, they wouldn’t be on the
street!’ This judgement represents a profound
misunderstanding of cities. It makes no more
sense than to drop in at a testimonial banquet
in a hotel and conclude that if these people had
wives who could cook, they would give their
parties at home.’ (Jane Jacobs, 1961)

City centres would not exist without trade.

Retail needs to be sustainable and to cater for
the local community. It needs to provide profit
for the trader and sell products needed by the
community. What kind of trade do we want
for our city? Where does the profit go? Castle
Street and North Street are strongholds of local
traders, different from the rest of Belfast City
Centre. However, is this trade sustainable? Can
the city contribute to the survival of local
traders under the pressure of international
trade giants? There is an identity and an image
of these shops reflected in the way they are
designed, built and maintained. This group
studied the retail and commercial value of
North Street and Castle Street to understand
their physical and commercial significance for
the city.

‘I learned how important it is to ensure a mix

of activity for the city centre, so that it can be
used throughout the day and evening.
Generally, if a place is empty of people,
combined with poor lighting it gives a
perceived feeling of not being safe, and areas
of Belfast currently seem to shut down past
normal operating hours for businesses. Mixing
housing with other uses of retail, offices,
workshops etc. ensures flexibility of activity so
that a place can be enjoyed throughout the day
and night. Jane Jacob’s theory of having ‘Eyes
on the Street’ should not be
underestimated as a key part of building a
successful community that feels welcoming and
safe.’ Rebecca A, architecture student

North Street & Castle Street

Listed Buildings

& Heritage

‘Place is always important in heritage, as

memories are produced in and through
particular places, journeys and mobilities’
(John Urry, 1996)

The concept of heritage has largely evolved in

the last 50 years. There was a very clear shift
from protecting single buildings of monumental
significance to a broader approach of the urban
landscape and intangible heritage.

Although the need for protecting a single or

group of structures of ‘fine architecture’ was
widely accepted even among the modernists
(CIAM 1946), it is only with the
Recommendation on the Historic Urban
Landscape (UNESCO 2011) that the street as
public space has been recognised as an element of
the urban fabric worthy of protection. This group
explored the value of built heritage and historic
urban landscapes of the streets analysed and
aimed to develop a strategy of protection of the
significance of mixed-use streets.

‘The StreetSpace project really helped me to

develop and improve my understanding of
heritage in Belfast. Through research and
analysis into conservation areas, the listing
process and what it actually meant for a building
to have listing status, I developed a clear
understanding of the importance and
necessity of retention of this heritage,
especially today in Belfast city centre.’
Naomi, architecture student

North Street & Castle Street

The Charged Void : Half Bap Brewery
Mark Donnelly

The thesis investigates the relationship between solid and void within the
urban block. It sought to understand how the void could be used to create new
connections and public spaces within the city. The space between is envisaged as
a series of between entryways, passageways, alleyways, streets, junctions, yards
and courtyards creating a new type of fabric within the city center. Brewery was
chosen in relation to existing surrounding uses; cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs.
It provides an example of how industry could be re- introduced sustainably within
the city centre.
Urban Foodscape : Belfast
Fiona Feeney

Based upon the concept of re- introducing production into West Belfast, while
at the same time bridging the commercial gap that exists between residents
of Belfast City Centre and the Shankill, Peter’s Hill, Divis and the Falls.
TheSiteatMillfieldincorporatesamarketplace, cookery school and production facility,
with each area occupying a designated internal growing space, in an effort to re-
claim the land for the purpose of the ad- joining facility. The scheme involves the
development of a greenway.
Creating Community in the City: Live/Work
Rebecca Aitken

Bringing more housing into the city extends activities beyond this 9-5 routine,
and the traditional typology of living and working in the same place even more
so. The project looks at how this typology can create a community, with domestic
and everyday life is at the forefront of the design. Architecture can encourage and
enhance social experiences - Belfast needs a place for these connections; to allow
its demographic of residents to grow. Prioritising public space creates a resilient
architecture that has room for a mixture of tenants, and city visitors, to interact and
enjoy the city.
Making Art Public – North Street Art
Sarah Carson

Creation of a stepping stone for recent art graduates and up and coming artist
within Belfast. The hub is also a place for part time artists to explore their interest
while encouraging the public to appreciate Belfast’s local arts. North Street Art
Hub provides 32 rentable studio spaces of size variety along with shared workshop
facilities and an alternative gallery where artists can display and promote their
work. Regular breakout spaces encourage collaboration between artists. The hub
also boasts a public square, a walled garden, internal street along with areas to
socialise, a restaurant, café kiosk and bar.
Broken Fabric
Ben Stevenson

The Success of a physical space can be judged by its ability to generate human
habitation. As a result of this habitation the social engagement between neighbours
can facilitate the decline of individual isolation. The ability to use public spaces
socially creates a sense of belonging, providing enough physical intrigue to spark
the powerful human ability of creativity.
Alternative Cinema
Amy Service

The aim of this project is to provide an educational, community and leisure space
for all members of the community and elsewhere to come and enjoy film. The
scheme is located in two parts using an existing building on North Street and an
empty lot adjacent on Donegal Street, this area was once frequented with several
cinemas. Using an gap site it aims to address the dwindling density of the city by
building into the existing fabric rather than creating a new one. With adaptable
spaces and façade made of large metal bi-fold shutters the spaces within this project
are ever changing just as fast as the film industry.
Grey to Green: Creating Green Space
Chloe Campbell

Belfast city centre lacks public green spaces. This brief proposes a Horticultural
school with protected public gardens. The site is currently a carpark on North street
and Winetavern street. There are many car parks in the city centre area and having a
carpark here has left a hole in the urban fabric of North street. The design provides
a green space that is more than just a park, the gardens include a natural science-
based educational institution, a museum of botanical plants, a cafe and plant shop.
This creates a public green space in the city centre which also benefits the local
education of Plant science and provides a space for both learning and leisure.
Autism and the city: Housing
Conall Casey

People with autism can find change very difficult and are often unable to visualize
what life might be like in the future. The proposal is a new urban typology got
mental health rehabilitation, which focuses on the multi sensory and therapeutic
qualities of architecture to stimulate psychological, social and physical recovery.
The live/work facility acts as a stepping-stone to assist transition back into society
for young adults with autism. This aims to encourage independence, the learning of
new skills and the provision of appropriate support to restore users’ personal and
professional identities.
Market Square & Apartments
Jack Knights

The Belfast City Centre Regeneration Proposal is proposing drastic changes to

North Street including the demolition of many of the street’s local independent
retailers with the intention of replacing them with larger retail units that are likely
to be too expensive for the independent businesses to afford.This project seeks to
transform Writer’s Square from an over sized and under used public space into a
vibrant and busy destination in the city centre. The independent retailers that will
be affected by the ongoing proposals will be housed at ground floor level opening
onto a colonnade that will surround the new market square.
Stitching the Historic Urban Fabric


1:100 Site Plan

th St
Donegall Street


Lucy Atkinson

The project aims to regenerate the rear of Donegall Street, North Street and the
North Street Arcade by extending from the historic urban fabric, creating a new
public space which is surrounded by commercial units on the ground floor and
housing on the upper floors. The existing entries act as the primary access routes
into the new space and will determine the location of new courtyards creating a
flow through the site into the arcade with a new entrance. The new surrounding
extension will be ‘stitched’ into the existing fabric on North Street and Donegall
Street as a way of restoring what was once a high density commercial area.
Royal Ulster Academy Public Arts Centre
Naomi Faulkner

The proposed design involves the reuse and extension of the former Bank of
Ireland, to house a public arts centre and permanent gallery space for the Royal
Ulster Academy (RUA). Due to its location within the Cathedral Quarter and
in close vicinity to the University of Ulster art college, the reuse of this building
as a public arts centre would encourage activity and the growth of arts in this
significant area of Belfast. There has been, and still is, neglect within many streets in
central Belfast. This neglect has caused many buildings to fall vacant and disused,
including this one.
Internal Courtyard - Looking North | Multi-functional Space
The Stitchery




Rebecca Thompson ca


1 : 200 Ground Floor Plan

The Stitchery consists of a Community Textile Workshop and pedestrian priority
street occupying land situated off North Street, on the fringe of Belfast City
Centre. By reusing existing buildings, the brief aims to coherently tie together the
urban fabric, currently fragmented by surface car parking and derelict buildings.
Conceptually, the proposal manifests as a timber framework formed around the
existing, one that is flexible, woven to fit the building use over time. The proposed
facilities include an open workshop, staffed by artists in residence as well as a
market space housing commercial space for independent designers.

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