Forkhill Barracks

18-800x565 Forkhill sketch Forkhill Client GroupForkhill Barracks, Forkhill (Northern Ireland), 2011

The University of Sheffield

This Live Project focused on the development of the site of a former military barracks in rural Forkhill, Northern Ireland. By developing a toolkit by which local community group FADDA could engage with neighbourhood development, the Live Project aimed to offer visions of a sustainable future for the area.

The unique setting, with its strong connection with ‘The Troubles’, posed many challenges in addressing this huge site. In order to generate appropriate responses to the site, the team required first hand understanding of the rural setting, the politics and history of the area, community attitudes towards the barracks and its effect on everyday life.

Public engagement methods helped to gather attitudes and ideas for the area’s future, however, the strategies had to be appropriate for the sensitive context. Community opinion was gathered through the exchange of postcards; low impact consultation such as this complimented observations on the ground during site visits. In response, the team produced a series of documents, making proposals for the site on small, medium and large scales. Rather than presenting a single, consolidated masterplan for the area, they instead generated a spectrum of propositions that encouraged ongoing participatory design approaches using ‘Mix and match’ ideas to permit a community-led development strategy.

The Live Project was not only an important part of informing the next community-led masterplan for Forkhill, but also a vital injection of momentum enabling community members to imagine the potential of the site and to demand a better quality of design in its redevelopment. The community now acknowledges the individuality of its heritage, as well as their own potential to define a precedent for similar development projects in the future.

Client: Forkhill and District Development Association (FADDA)

Mentor: Sam Vardy

Students: Bryan Davies, Elaheh Hajaei, Andrew Jewsbury, Max Lee, Vihn Linh, Matthew Martinkovic, Jing Peng, Imogen Softley Pierce, Catherine Tucknutt, Bingxin Xia

Research Question: How can a masterplan become an active tool in a community-led development strategy?

Link: Project Site

+, 0-10, Analytical, Client-funded, Commissioned, Curricular, Months, Postgraduate, Propositional, Sheffield Univ., Students with tutor, United Kingdom, Urban Design