NI Culture Minister puts emphasis on great architecture

We must strive for high standards in our architecture, even in the face of a recession, Culture Minister Nelson McCausland has said. The Minister, who is Ministerial Design Champion, launched the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) Development Plan for 2010-2012 yesterday evening.

The Minister said: “We must always strive for excellence in our architecture. Great buildings are not only attractive to look at, they are functional places where people want to live, work and spend time.

“It’s down to our architects to strike this balance between the practical and the visually pleasing, but the challenge they face is never more present than in a recession. When public spending is under pressure, it is imperative that what we build provides optimum value for money. Yet it should also be valued by people both today and for years to come.”

Speaking in the recently restored and award-winning Meter House at the Gasworks site, Belfast, the Minister added: “Raising standards in design quality requires strong leadership. Drawing the best out of construction projects means challenging clients – public and private – to raise expectations.”

The Minister said that the RSUA has the capacity and skills to express this vision of the built environment, which is set out in their Development Plan.

The Minister said he was particularly pleased that the RSUA Development Plan acknowledged MAG, the Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture and the Built Environment, as a strategic partner.

The Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) is the professional body for chartered architects in Northern Ireland with almost 900 members. Through its Development Plan 2010-2012, the society aims to be the leading voice for architecture in Northern Ireland, promoting the highest quality of design in new buildings, sustainable construction and conservation of the built heritage.

Architecture and the Built Environment for Northern Ireland was published by DCAL in June 2006, with the aim of vision of creating an attractive, healthy, safe and sustainable built environment which functions efficiently and enriches the experience of living for everyone in Northern Ireland. A Ministerial Advisory Group of a Chairman (Barrie Todd MBE) and eight members was appointed to advise the Minister and the Department on the development and implementation of the DCAL policy.