Welcome to Open House Belfast 2016

Between the 21 – 23 October we will open up some of the city’s most interesting and exciting buildings and spaces for you to experience, free of charge.

The aim of our festival is to highlight and celebrate well designed architecture and engineering in the city, and engage with you, the public, to initiate discussion about the impact of good design on our lives. We have a diverse line up for 2016 which includes some of last year’s favourites, along with a host of new additions: iconic Belfast buildings, fascinating engineering projects, new sites and developments, sneak peaks behind the scenes at some of the city’s most intriguing work places, and a few very special events.

Whether you are a resident of, or a visitor to Belfast, this is your opportunity to discover the city from unexpected perspectives. Our programme invites you to relive the past, and see into the future.

Who is PLACE?

PLACE is an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting great architecture, design and planning in Northern Ireland.

Our purpose is to create a better place to live, work and play.

We work with various types of organisations, institutions and government departments across Northern Ireland to encourage high standards of design and engineering, and increase public engagement with their built environment to promote community development and healthier societies.

Notes from our sponsors

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

FCBS Belfast is delighted to continue our sponsorship of the ‘Open House’ event in Belfast.

As evidenced throughout the world, Open House is a fantastic event to be involved in, for both designers and the general public alike.

The opportunity to build upon the success of last year’s festival offers FCBS a chance to be involved in bringing this great event to a wider audience in Northern Ireland.


Arup is a global leader in infrastructure design, building engineering and professional services for the built environment.

Our Northern Irish business was founded in 2000 and our 70+ strong team of planners, project managers, transport specialists, sustainability consultants and engineers are building a reputation – project by project – as leaders in their fields.

Our current project portolio includes Connswater Community Greenway, upgrades to the A26 and A6, and building projects ranging from the renewal and expansion of the IFA National Football Stadium to plans for a maritime museum in Derry.

Arup is also one of the UK’s largest employee- owned businesses, known for our commitment to recruiting graduates and apprentices and for supporting the professional development of our staff.

Perspective / RSUA

Perspective is the journal of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects and its aim is to spread the word on great architecture and great design.

What could be better then than a festival celebrating some of the outstanding buildings which we have in our city?

Now in its second year it is also fantastic to see the Open House Belfast Festival go from strength to strength, we’re right behind it.

Ulster University

The School of the Built Environment at Ulster University is happy to be sponsoring the OHB festival.

The School is home to a range of disciplines, from Civil and Energy Engineering through Construction to Real Estate, Environmental Health and Planning. We are recognised leaders in Built Environment education and research. We are ranked =6 in the UK for research, while our teaching ranking places us 3rd for Real Estate (Sunday Times) and 7th for Civil Engineering (Guardian).

We offer a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD courses. Our research specialises in Sustainable Energy, Building Services, Fire and Buildings, Hydrogen Storage, Real Estate, Planning, Highways Engineering, Civil Engineering and Construction Management.

How to Book

To book for any of the guided tours or special events please visit the event page and use the EventBrite link to book your tickets.

The tours and events are free of charge but are numbers are limited, so please book only what you know you will need and also let us know in good time if you cannot make the event.


Booking for guided visits is essential. As many of the buildings are still under construction or have been empty for a while, numbers on each tour vary and are limited.

We have indicated which visits and events are most family friendly.

We are committed to making this weekend as accessible as possible for everyone, we have noted general accessibility info for each building but if you have any additional special requirements please let us know when planning or booking your visit and we will do our very best to accommodate.

Please be aware that there could be changes to access times and venue info so do keep an eye on our website for up to date information, or join us on Facebook and Twitter.


The PLACE team would like to sincerely thank our sponsors; Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, ARUP, the School of the Built Environment at the Ulster University and Perspective magazine, for their generous enthusiasm throughout and contribution to the programme. The festival certainly would not have been possible without your financial and creative support.

This year it has been really exciting to have been able to grow our programme to include engineering projects, and this was made possible by a new partnership with the Institution of Civil Engineers. We have also developed our relationship with Queen’s University Belfast who have also contributed creatively.

We would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank all our guides for giving of their time so generously, for free, and also all the venues for opening their doors for free. In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in people campaigning for healthier, better designed urban spaces in the city, and we are proud that Open House Belfast is a platform for these projects.

We are really fortunate to have a great team of volunteers to help guide our audiences throughout the weekend. The festival couldn’t happen without your contributions and we are very grateful.

We would like to thank the festival’s funders, The Department for Communities and Belfast City Council.

We would also like to acknowledge and thank our core funder ACNI, and Victoria Thornton from Open House Worldwide, who have welcomed Belfast into this growing international series of events celebrating our urban spaces!