‘The Village’ area, Donegall Road, South Belfast, is a part of the city that is characterised by traditional, red brick buildings, particularly red brick terraces. It is an Area of Townscape Character. ‘The Village’ and other locations across Belfast have lost many valuable red brick terraces to redevelopment. This project aimed to connect ‘The Village’ and its people, with their red brick heritage and explore ways to harness the value of that heritage to regenerate the area.
The project involved a group of young people together with a range of practitioners from architecture, archaeology, ceramics and digital arts background. Over a twelve week period participants in the project recorded and interpreted red brick terraces, factories and churches identified as deserving of greater attention.
The group visited the Public Record Office (PRONI) to consult historic documents and to carry out research into the buildings being explored. The group investigated examples of restored terraces at McMaster Street, in the east of the city, to understand how retention of terraces and imaginative re-use of historic buildings can meet a wide range of dwelling needs and help retain distinctive local character. Participants got to grips with hands-on repair of damaged brickwork with repointing in lime at the listed Carnegie Library in North Belfast. They even formed and fired their own brick-inspired tiles for use in their community garden. Participants helped to make a short film documenting the project featuring maps, photographs, footage and interviews the project generated.