• 08 Jun 2022

Ireland’s new National Policy on Architecture showcased in New European Bauhaus Festival

A new Irish film entitled Places for People, which marks the launch of Ireland’s new National Policy on Architecture, features in the inaugural New European Bauhaus (NEB) Festival. The NEB Festival is the highlight of this years’ NEB programme and runs from 9-12 June online and in-situ in Brussels.

This ambitious and culturally diverse festival will bring together exemplar projects and presentations from Europe, including hosting 60 speakers from all around the world in the Forum, over 100 innovative NEB projects will be showcased across the city in the Fair including over 200 side events in Brussels and in European countries. For this reason, Ireland is delighted to be participating and contributing to this cultural initiative.

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At the centre of the film, Places for People, are extensive interviews with Ireland’s Cultural Ambassadors for Architecture, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, who recently won the most prestigious prize for architecture in Europe, the EU Mies Award 2022. Using stunning footage of new Grafton Architects’ projects set in three very different contexts, the historic Georgian city, former institutional lands to the edge of the city and the historic and industrial port of Dublin. The film explores how we can transform our cities into places for people, through high-quality architecture and thoughtful ‘urban acupuncture’ through the inspirational work of Grafton Architects - the ESB Building, the Educate Together School within the Grangegorman campus, and their transformative plans for reconnecting Dublin Port to the historic core of the city. The film also resonates deeply with the values of the New European Bauhaus of an architecture that is ‘beautiful’, ‘sustainable’, and brings people ‘together’. The film Places for People narrates the vision of the national policy on architecture and speaks to the values of the NEB – the importance of a culture of architecture and how a high quality built environment can benefit people, nature and planet.

The film was commissioned by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) and the RIAI and made by architectural filmmaker Ros Kavanagh.

It is available on the RIAI Website and the New European Bauhaus Festival website, from 9-12 June. The film is also included in a Mobile Exhibition, travelling across several public spaces in Brussels: Gare Maritime, Mont Des Arts, Place De Brouckere, and Marche Aux Poissons.


Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD said:

“I think it is crucially important how we design the places we live in. Our expertise in Architecture is a really vital resource for us to draw up. While addressing many of the challenges we are facing, I firmly believe that our new policy, Places for People, and its actions will enhance this resource and will enable us to draw effectively on it, helping to deliver high quality homes and work places as well as public amenities in which our communities can flourish.



Minister of State at the DHLGH, Malcom Noonan, TD, added:

“The National Policy on Architecture forefronts the vital role of Architects and built environment professionals in addressing sustainability and social challenges. The policy’s emphasis on working creatively, innovatively and respectfully across boundaries, capturing the values of the New European Bauhaus, is key to long-term sustainability and well-being”.


Charlotte Sheridan, RIAI President, said:

“We were delighted to participate in this new film, celebrating Ireland’s new National Policy on Architecture, Places for People. The RIAI is the home of Architecture in Ireland, and Architecture is all about creating places for people, buildings and the spaces between buildings. Architecture brings immense social value, it enriches our distinctive culture and heritage, our sense of place and identity, and it can improve our quality of life, our health and wellbeing and can support us to live sustainably.”

The National Policy on Architecture recognises the vital contribution that architecture can make to the implementation of government priorities including Project Ireland 2040, the Climate Action Plan 2021, Housing for All, Heritage Ireland 2030, and Town Centre First.

The policy also acts as a bridge to new European Green Deal initiatives and the mobilisation of the New European Bauhaus, linking Ireland to this new creative and interdisciplinary initiative. The New European Bauhaus is a meeting space to design future ways of living, situated at the crossroads between art, culture, social inclusion, science and technology. It calls for a collective effort to imagine and build a future that is sustainable, inclusive and beautiful.

Places for People, The National Policy on Architecture is available here.


Other Irish events in the New European Bauhaus Festival include:

State Architect panel discussion: how can State Architects contribute to the NEB-goals?

Friday, 10 June 13.30 – 15.00 (in person event in Brussels)

Ireland’s State Architect at the OPW, Ciaran O’Connor FRIAI, is participating in a panel discussion with other State Architects in Europe, discussing how Sate Architects can contribute to the NEB-goals. The event takes place on 10 June 13.30 – 15.00 (public event) at StamEuropa, Rue d'Arlon 104, 1040 Bruxelles.

Speakers include also Wouter Veldhuis (Chief Government Advisor, the Netherlands); - Erik Wieërs (Flemish Government Architect, Belgium); Kristiaan Borret (Government Architect Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium); Nathalie de Vries (City Architect Groningen, the Netherlands); and Helena Bjarnegard (National Architect, Sweden). Moderator is Dutch journalist Sophie Derkzen.


Irish Architecture Foundation: Communities in Transition – Reimagining Place, Communities and Climate Action

Friday, 10 Jun, 15.00 (online) Communities in Transition – Reimagining Place, Communities and Climate Action

In this event, the IAF are exploring innovative post-industrial projects which place sustainability, culture, heritage, and aesthetics at their heart, with the aim of finding inspiration for the Irish peatlands. We will hear from two innovative projects from the Ruhr region in Germany. The Zollverein Foundation undertook the task of transforming a coal mine into a World Heritage Site which has been a catalyst for the entire region. Urbane Künste Ruhr are the curators behind a hugely ambitious Emscher art trail along a newly restored river system, including art installations that function as tourist accommodation. Importantly, we will hear from community leaders in Offaly and Roscommon, who currently find themselves at the heart of national climate action policies, with the shutting down of Bord na Móna peat extraction. Through this event we aim to spark discourse and inspire action to support these communities in this major transition. 


Lusk for Life – Nominated for a New European Bauhaus Prize


'Lusk for Life’ is a community-led Action Plan for the town of Lusk. It was commissioned by Lusk Community Council in 2020 (supported by Dublin Rural Leader) and undertaken by consultants AP+E in collaboration with Miriam Delaney and Tara Kennedy, the project was completed in August 2021. The plans main focus is on climate resilient strategies, including designs and proposals for more intensive use of public and green space, active travel networks, biodiversity and densification of the historic town centre. The project has been chosen as one of 52 overall finalists out of 1,100 submissions from across the EU and will be eligible for both the public choice prizes and those selected by the jury.

Lusk for Life is nominated for a New European Bauhaus Prize 2022. The prizes recognise and celebrate existing beautiful, sustainable, and inclusive achievements and support the younger generation to further develop emerging concepts and ideas. There will be prizes in 4 different categories that reflect the thematic axes of transformation identified during the New European Bauhaus’ co-design phase and are inspired by the views and experiences of thousands of EU citizens and organisations:

  1. Reconnecting with nature
  2. Regaining a sense of belonging
  3. Prioritising the places and people that need it the most
  4. Shaping a circular industrial ecosystem and supporting life-cycle thinking

The finalists can be viewed online and are also exhibited at Gare Maritime, Brussels. The prize ceremony will take place on Saturday 11 June from 17:00 – 19:00 in the presence of EU President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioners Mariya Gabriel and Elisa Ferreira.

The full schedule of the New European Bauhaus Festival can be found here.