Festival shows the people of Belfast the impact of civil engineers

ICE partnered with Open House Belfast, an engineering and architecture festival, to deliver free tours for people to enjoy.

View of the Lagan Weir which featured in the tours.
View of the Lagan Weir which featured in the tours.
ICE NI helped open the doors to some of Northern Ireland’s most interesting buildings and spaces for Open House Belfast, an engineering and architecture festival, last week. 

As a festival partner, ICE organised tours of five engineering sites to showcase the city’s infrastructure and the role that civil engineers play in maintaining transport, sewage systems, and recreational spaces.

There was a tour of the historical Belfast Harbour Commissioners Office, which was designed in the style of an Italian palazzo, as well as tours of the Lagan Weir, which was constructed in the 1990s and has transformed the riverside of Belfast.

A tour of the Dublin Road Sewer also took place, showing tour-goers the vast scale of work involved with the upgrade the infrastructure it is currently undergoing to reduce the risk of flooding and to raise environmental standards.

A visionary project

There were also tours of the Connswater Community Greenway, a visionary urban regeneration project which has provided the community of East Belfast flood protection, cycle routes, and a new civic square named after former resident and famous author CS Lewis. 

The tour of the iconic Harland and Wolff’s Dry Dock was another Open House Belfast highlight.

Emer Murnaghan, of GRAHAM and current ICE NI vice chair, took a group of 15 to the Harbour Estate to visit the docks, which are still in service today.

Tour attendees were very enthusiastic, with one describing the Lagan Weir tour as a “fantastic example of engineering and regeneration”, adding “it was super cool to walk under the Lagan!”

Behind-the-scenes look

Thirty-seven cities around the world currently run Open House festivals, and 2018 was Belfast’s fourth year running the programme that was organised by PLACE, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting great architecture, design and planning in Northern Ireland.

“ICE's partnership with Open House Belfast is vital to the success of our programme. Our audiences love getting behind the scenes of engineering projects in the city and this year we were delighted to include new developments such as the Dublin Road Sewer Upgrade sitting alongside old favourites like the Connswater Community Greenway”, said Amberlea Neely, Acting Director of PLACE NI.

 “People hearing directly from civil engineers about how infrastructure benefits society is an invaluable experience,” said Richard Kirk, ICE Regional Director.

“Open House Belfast is a fantastic festival to show the value of infrastructure and engineering and we look forward to collaborating with them again next year.”