Architectural education is vitally important, as both the public and professionals alike can stimulate a collaborative community seeking the best for their future. The diagram below shows how architecture, planning and urbanism, and landscape architecture in the UK are treated as three separate areas. I believe the missing core to this diagram is the education of the built environment, encouraging the public and professionals to be engaged with future developments that may concern themselves.
In Northern Ireland, the efforts to connect these areas through public awareness is PLACE. PLACE (Planning/ Landscape/ Architecture/ Community/ Environment) was established by the Royal Society of Ulster Architects and Belfast City Council in 2004 as Northern Ireland’s Built Environment Centre. Later in 2011, PLACE was registered as a Charity.
Located in Belfast City Centre, PLACE runs a vast public programme across Northern Ireland. From exhibitions and discussions, to community projects and design workshops educating many of different ages. Educating the youth, as well as older generations, is key to engaging future generations.
I was recently involved in a community project with PLACE, the 2012 Belfast Children's Art Festival. Situated in the oldest building in Belfast, the Assembly Rooms, the festival involved many artists and organizations, including PLACE. One particular activity, Cardboard Cities, is a product of PLACE. The idea is simple: allow children to build their own city out of cardboard. From observing and participating in this activity I learned the importance of the built environment, even to the youth of our generation.
Despite all the great efforts of PLACE and other educational bodies, Northern Ireland has not established a key interest in architecture and the built environment; hence, the missing core in the early diagram. What else can be done in the area of education to garner public interest in the future of their built environment?
Credits: Image by Neil Harrison and linked to source. Data linked to sources.