The Government has launched a new National Policy on Architecture – ‘Places for People’, aimed at boosting public engagement with architecture, empowering the profession and more.
National Policy on Architecture
On the 18th May 2022, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, launched the new National policy on Architecture, entitled ‘Places for People’, after it was approved by cabinet.
The new policy is considered to be a mechanism for boosting public engagement with the profession, as well as empowering the discipline in general. Additionally, the policy intends to set the scene for raising design quality, improving data and research on the built environment, and creating better outcomes that align with sustainable development goals.
A reflection was made within the National Policy on Architecture on the need for supporting architects and other professionals within the built environment in working together to achieve a high-quality living environment for all.
This would be brought about by bringing economic, social and environment benefits to communities in Ireland by delivering sustainable, quality buildings and public spaces.
1. Design Quality Criteria
The priority is design quality criteria – a set of objective tests to assess the quality of all phases of built-environment projects, including design, procurement, construction, management, use, conservation, repurposing and disassembly.
These will be assessed based on the European high-quality design criteria and circular economy principles. This objective approach of assessment of design quality will effectively strengthen public procurement procedures and enhance our capacity to deliver buildings that work for all.
2. Public Engagement with Architectural Design
‘Places for People’ aims to generate a greater public engagement with architectural design, using tools that encourage all stakeholders to work together to deliver homes, workplaces and public spaces that create and sustain resilient, vibrant and inclusive communities.
A public sector information exchange network has been proposed as a priority, aiming to share knowledge and best practice with architects and public sector and State professionals across the wider built environment.
3. National Architecture and Built Environment Research Service
This policy commits to scoping out the establishment of a national research service.
This intends to create, maintain and enhance the research capacity of the profession, as well as advancing multidisciplinary research in order to drive innovation, high-quality design, and sustainable construction responses. It also enables the measurement of progress towards net-zero buildings and places.
These actions are to pave the way towards a multi-annual programme of work, led by Ciaran O’Connor (the State Architect) and a Delivery Board responsible for the plan’s implementation.
4. Policy Linkages
The policy recognises the particularly important contribution made by the architecture discipline to government objectives such as Project Ireland 2040, Housing for All, the Climate Action Plan 2021 and more.
This will also serve as a link between New European Green Deal initiatives and the mobilisation of the new European Bauhaus, linking Ireland to the new creative and interdisciplinary initiative.
The New European Bauhaus is a space to design future ways of living – a culmination of art, culture, social inclusion, science and technology. It calls for a collective effort to imagine and build a sustainable, inclusive and beautiful future.
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