Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland marks Westport’s 250th birthday
Published: Friday, April 28, 2017
Mayo, 29 April 2017 - The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) will mark Westport’s 250th birthday with a free public talk and guided walk of the town on Saturday, April 29th.
Led by Simon Wall, Town Architect to Westport, a group of culture seekers will learn about Westport’s urban regeneration over the past two decades, during which time Westport experienced its largest building programme since Georgian times. Later in the evening, Westport 250 will light up the skies with an impressive firework display.
Westport is regarded as an exemplar in urban design because it was developed with a strong focus on design as part of the Westport 2000 plan, which provided a forward-thinking development strategy and framework. In 2012, the town was named by the Irish Times as ‘The Best Place to Live in Ireland’.
Westport is a national ‘Smarter Travel’ demonstration town, with €5m invested in cycling infrastructure over a five year period, linking 70% of its residential areas with an independent urban greenway network. The town has also pioneered the development of rural greenways, including the award-winning 45km Great Western Greenway, which links Westport to Achill Island.
Speaking at Saturday’s event, Simon Wall, Town Architect to Westport, commented: “Westport is a fantastic example of how a plan-led approach benefits every aspect of the community. The Westport 2000 plan set out specific projects to develop the town’s commercial, residential and tourist base with due attention afforded to its heritage and historic architecture. It highlights the value of collaboration from all stakeholders to ensure the community is always kept at the heart of development.”
Kathryn Meghen, RIAI CEO, added: “When it comes to sustainable development, we can’t look at either housing or town planning in isolation as both must work together to create a quality built environment that functions in the best possible way for each part of the community, whether that’s residents, business owners or visitors. It’s clear that the expertise and input of architects greatly benefits town planning and development and we firmly believe that an Architect’s Department should be established within each local authority in the country so that all of us can benefit from the skills of Irish architects, which are renowned the world over.”
The RIAI’s celebratory event includes a Westport Talk in the Westport town hall theatre and a 3km guided walk of the town from there, which will end at the harbour. Locals and visitors enjoyed an impressive Westport 250 public firework display at 10pm. The activities are kindly supported by AIB.
All events are free to attend but booking is essential. Members of the public who are interested in attending the Walk and Talk events are urged to register in advance at www.riai.ie
About the RIAI
Founded in 1839, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland supports and regulates the architectural profession and promotes the value that architecture brings to society for everyone’s benefit. We also provide support services to Architects and Architectural Technologists.
The RIAI engages with government, the professions, industry, clients and the public to promote quality in architecture; to deliver quality and sustainability in the built environment; to enrich our distinctive culture and heritage; to contribute to the competitiveness of our economy; and to improve quality of life for the people of Ireland, today and for generations to come.
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