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Adjaye Associates

Understanding and reconnecting the community

We believe in the power that community has in shaping the individual, but that power can only be borne in conditions of safety, comfort and well-being. In essence, we aim to position architecture as a source of protection, creating spaces that function as safe havens for families, groups and individuals of all backgrounds and experience, without exception – a new definition of home. Voting is now closed!
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Current rating: (45 votes)

The starting point for our proposal for the Mackie’s site is a granular understanding of the people, places, positives and problems of this area of West Belfast. From the knowledge we have learnt through our in-depth research, we have envisioned a masterplan that stitches the needs of the Mackie’s community into one interwoven and connected system of support. The spaces, infrastructure, and public realm we have designed directly supports the composition of this community. Our vision for a new masterplan for this site offers new interpretations of welfare, mental health provision, shelter, surveillance, accessibility, and of opportunities for mutual support.

Ground level masterplan
Ground level masterplan

We recognise the value in reclaiming this land as a place for people to call home – we are aligned with this project’s brief that this is an urgent and significant endeavour. We also recognise the complexities of its undertaking, and have worked in direct knowledge of the issues that have persisted in this specific area of Belfast over time. Our masterplan will consider historical and prevailing issues of homelessness, social tensions, dilapidation and deterioration, and disconnection. It will also consider the parameters that impact the future residents of the site; chiefly, issues of physical disability, mental health issues, and financial hardship.

Aerial masterplan
Aerial masterplan

We believe that architecture and place-making offer physical definitions of community support. By interrogating the ways in which the Mackie’s community has historically come together and shared moments of joy, we have envisioned new possibilities for their collective well-being. Our proposal therefore seeks to demonstrate the power of space to curate a new meaning of togetherness, of home, and of security.

Homes and community
Homes and community

Central to this is providing a new ‘heart’ to that home. The heart to our masterplan proposal is a core green space, which we call the Mackie Garden. Its position within the entire site recalls the magnetism of a village or town’s main street – the place where people are drawn to in unison to gather together, walk around, stage events, and live in vibrant activity.

Communal sanctuary
Communal sanctuary

On this new masterplan, the street becomes a garden, and the garden becomes a place that is shared by all. A place to meander through safely, to linger amidst swathes of grass and foliage, to take in vibrant hues of colour, and to breathe clean, fresh air in comfort and safety.

Play oasis
Play oasis

The roof spaces are utilised as a communal allotment garden from which the residents can grow and learn to manage self sufficient small holdings. There would be possibilities of mutual exchange of skills and produce and allow the creation of a community farmers’ market.

Food-sharing rooftop gardens
Food-sharing rooftop gardens

Surrounding the Mackie Garden will be a connected tapestry of built spaces that redefine traditional master-planning formulae. Clinging to prescribed understandings of nuclear living lies at the heart of many of the problems with anti-social and negative behaviours in cities.

Design, build, live
Design, build, live

Historic developments formed of rows of terraced houses nowadays can breed a growing sense of detachment – a feeling of only having to look out for oneself. Our proposal upends these systems and instead presents unified and diverse campuses for living, intuitively inviting acts of support, sharing and community to replace those of separation, tension and isolation.

A day in the lives at the Mackie's site
A day in the lives at the Mackie’s site

Architecture is at its most powerful when it brings people together. Building places is about building communities – about finding the blueprint for unity and unlocking its full potential. The result is achieving new standards of well-being, and shaping what it means to live safely and joyfully in the world today.

Download full plan
Current rating: (45 votes)


Click the 'Rate This Masterplan' button above to leave your own comment.

Beautiful presentation and roof terraces are a very interesting idea. It feels like every block is its own neighborhood though..each cluster is very centric. Is there an opportunity where everyone meet each other to have an activity?
— On Mon Mar 20 2023 @ 6:09:21 PM
My favourite, marginally; doesn't seem to build over the whole site but leaves enough space for meaningful habitat and retain biodiversity
— On Mon Mar 13 2023 @ 4:30:27 PM
Surprised this has so few votes, simple strategy that has some scope apart from roof gardens, nice idea but hard to believe that could work in terms of cost and long term use.
— On Thu Feb 09 2023 @ 9:16:20 AM
This is my favourite. When you first look at it from above it looks a bit like old flats but when you check it all out its actualy really smart designs for the future with all of the sustinable materials and lifestyles built in.
— On Wed Nov 16 2022 @ 2:26:15 PM
We are in the middle of a food crisis, housing crisis, everything crisis. Our politicians can’t turn the heat on never mind work a government. But a couple of families on the waiting list and architects can pull this off. Fair play guys. You really are leading by example. Inspirational work. Belfast is lying derelict because of our zombie politics. This design does it for me - it’s all about life and hope and healing.
— On Fri Nov 11 2022 @ 7:39:20 AM
The Planning looks grounded and has understood the users. Also, there is a sense of flow that connects the built and the landscape.
— On Sat Nov 05 2022 @ 5:00:01 PM
The roof gardens are class 👍
— On Fri Nov 04 2022 @ 10:57:16 AM
Beautiful. Love all the green spaces, rooftop gardens, water recycling / energy plans. Looks like that would be a lovely place to be.
— On Fri Nov 04 2022 @ 9:38:01 AM
Love the 'day in a life' viewpoints
— On Mon Oct 31 2022 @ 3:44:05 PM
I love this!
— On Fri Oct 28 2022 @ 9:29:57 AM
It’s terrific to see a world-class architecture firm talking about homelessness, mental health & financial pressures on families - and producing such a detailed & thoughtful design for West Belfast
— On Thu Oct 27 2022 @ 5:13:37 PM
Love the rooftop gardens. Views should be great from there. Lacking realism - where are you putting the cars?
— On Tue Oct 25 2022 @ 9:47:54 PM
absolutely love the amount of green space in this design!
— On Tue Oct 25 2022 @ 8:20:42 PM
very good, huge park
— On Mon Oct 24 2022 @ 5:04:22 PM
This looks good, great outdoor space. The facade of the buildings isnt very attractive though
— On Mon Oct 24 2022 @ 12:59:42 PM
Nice courtyards and landscapes
— On Sat Oct 22 2022 @ 12:09:19 PM
This is this idea
— On Fri Oct 21 2022 @ 9:34:24 PM
So much possibility... if only there could be political will and putting people first mentality! Would be fantastic. For now we hope and wait with everything ready.
— On Fri Oct 21 2022 @ 4:32:07 PM
Looks class. Imagine having that in belfast.
— On Fri Oct 21 2022 @ 4:26:30 PM
Love the abundance of green spaces everywhere including allotment spaces on rooftops.
— On Fri Oct 21 2022 @ 3:15:42 PM
This is a fabulous vision! It just shows what's possible with a little imagination.
— On Thu Oct 20 2022 @ 9:22:37 AM
this is a beautiful design - the rooftop gardens and the landscaping would make it an amazing place to live!
— On Thu Oct 20 2022 @ 8:59:27 AM
A superb and comprehensive vision for Mackie's. It could contribute to seriously addressing homelessness, but without the poorly designed estates we're used to. Allotments, communal spaces and good density housing blended into the natural habitat. Love it!
— On Thu Oct 20 2022 @ 8:52:54 AM
Take Back the City logo The Take Back the City coalition was formed in 2020 to develop sustainable solutions to Belfast’s housing crisis. We are families in housing need supported by experts in architecture, urban planning, housing policy, technology, communications, permaculture, human rights and equality.
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