“Sailortown was once a bustling community with 5000 people living near the docks in Belfast. My ethnographic research focused on conversations with a former resident. His vivid and humorous stories of everyday life in the 1960s helped me to understand the complexity of the area and how the density, mixeduse and efficient street network all contributed to the strong sense of community. This was all wiped out by the mass demolition in the 1970s to make way for the construction of the motorway.
The thesis aims to bring a vibrant community back to Sailortown by creating a dense, mixed-use environment which will provide healthy and affordable city centre housing with lots of green space. The blocks are influenced by the historical street layout and are divided into a mixture of small plots for self-build and larger residential buildings with ground floor retail or light industry.
The plot-based system will allow owners to build and adapt their home at their own pace. A Design Code clearly explains the site parameters and sets out rules for home builders, aiming to ensure a level of consistency between individual plots. This plot system will make the area resilient to future change and create a rich and diverse urban environment. Particular focus has been paid to designing a mixed-use courtyard which will be used at all times of the day. Split levels allow a mix of uses to occur in close proximity to each other while creating thresholds between public and private spaces.”