2015: Skainos

Client: Skainos

Project: Meeting present and future needs in the community

Student Group: Patrick Jones, Tanguy Briand, Magdalena Kisiel (MArch 1); Paul Ashenhurst, Adam Doherty, Rawan El Harir, Zhixin Huang (BSc 1)

The client’s brief: The Skainos Centre sought ideas and proposals on how to better utilise the retail and office spaces on the Newtownards Road and improve the rental uptake of their meeting rooms. They sought also to improve their interaction with the local community and build upon their social, charitable and community outreach work. It was important that any proposal did not have a negative impact on any other business in the area.

The group response: “We propose a change of use for the retail units, utilising them as flexible exhibition or gallery space, while also having the possibility of housing some of the activities which currently take place in meeting rooms further into the building. We believe this will make better use of the opportunities the glazed frontage provides relating to engagement with the community and raising awareness of what goes on in the centre. Housing exhibitions provides the opportunity to engage with the growing creative community in East Belfast, and perhaps allow these people to reach a wider audience.

“At a time when spending on the arts is being reduced, it is important to promote it when possible, introduce it to more people, and promote the positive societal effects the arts have. The Skainos Square was the second area which we identified as having untapped potential. The most well received proposal is the hosting of a market environment in the square, bringing retail to the site, if only on a part time basis, attracting people to the centre. There exists ample scope for advertising of the the centre and its facilities in this space.”

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