Open House Festival Programme Launch at The Waterside, Belfast

The Waterside hosts the 2018 Open House Belfast Architecture Festival Programme Launch

The first programmed activity in more than a decade takes place at The Waterside with the programme launch of the fourth Open House Belfast Architecture Festival.

The festival, which will open up some of Belfast’s most iconic places to the public, held the programme launch today (Thursday 20th September) and the festival will run from the 19th – 21st of October. 

The Open House Belfast Festival is another step for The Waterside in engaging with the city and towards the long term aims of activating and regenerating the 16-acre site. The Open House concept was initiated in London in 1992 by Open City, and festivals now takes place annually in cities throughout the world. Organised by charitable organisation PLACE, the Open House Belfast festival aims to increase public engagement with architecture, planning, construction and related professions to promote civil society and community development. 

Osborne+Co, who last week were chosen as development partner to deliver Santander’s new landmark technology headquarters in Milton Keynes, are looking forward to continuing their progress in Belfast. Communications and Marketing Director, Patricia Hanson, discusses the festival programme launch and the role that The Waterside will play in the festival: 

"We are delighted to be bringing the first public activity to the site in more than a decade by hosting the programme launch of the 2018 Open House Belfast Festival. Fresh on the back of Osborne+Co being chosen as development partner to deliver Santander’s new landmark technology headquarters in Milton Keynes, we are keen to bring some energy and momentum to The Waterside, Belfast."

Patricia continues: "The Waterside reopens for the first time in many years as part of the Open House Architecture Festival. A former industrial site set over 16 acres, it was once home to the Sirocco Engineering Works, an endeavour that gave Belfast prominence in the industrial world in the late 19th Century. It is a fitting location for such a launch, bringing people into an area that, as a result of our ambitious plans, will become a focal part of Belfast’s flourishing creative eco-system, linking East Belfast and the City Centre.

"The £450 million masterplan for The Waterside will see the currently derelict site regenerated to become a place full of life and industry, with a mix of 700 new homes including private, affordable, and social housing, modern office accommodation, a new creative space, and vibrant public spaces. A pedestrian and cycle bridge will help connect this missing piece to the rest of the city”.

PLACE Acting Director, Amberlea Neely, talks about some of this year’s Open House Belfast highlights:

"The programme once again is eclectic and inspiring.  We’re delighted to be working with The Waterside for the 2018 festival and we look forward to seeing their plans for the site and their engagement with the city develop over the coming years. Alongside our core programme opening up the city’s best buildings, we are excited to include two new partnerships in the festival programme for 2018. British Council and the Belfast International Arts Festival are collaborating with us to bring a special programme of events relating to the Venice Architecture Biennale to Belfast during Open House Belfast 2018."

Amberlea adds: "For the first time, we are also working with Visual Artists Ireland to incorporate Belfast Open Studios as part of the Open House programme. Artists will open up unique studio spaces across the city, letting people see their work at close hand. As usual, you can expect site visits, public discussions, performances and special events catering for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. So, whether you are a resident of Belfast, or visiting the city for the weekend, join us! This is your opportunity to discover the city from new perspectives and uncover the wealth of beauty and activity that we pass by daily."

The Waterside project is being brought forward by a multi-disciplinary team including Danish architects Henning Larsen, and locally by Turley, Simon Brien Residential, Lambert Smith Hampton, Colliers International, Marks and AECOM.

The Waterside site will be open for guided visits on Friday 19th October as part of the Open House Belfast Architecture Festival. 

Pick up a programme from PLACE, 7-9 Lower Garfield Street, Belfast or go to to see the full listings.

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Last updated 9 months 4 weeks ago