A new initiative needs the help of local architects to regenerate town and village centres across the county.

It’s all about taking the initiative

A new initiative is calling on community groups and architects in county Cork to join forces and help regenerate their local towns and villages.

The Irish Architecture Foundation’s (IAF) Hometown Architect initiative focuses particularly on smaller towns and villages where accessing funding and resources can often be a challenge.

Between now and February, 5 successful projects will be selected from across Ireland and will be awarded €10,000 each to bring their proposals to life.

Submissions will be assessed by a panel of experts, including architects, IAF staff, and Town Centre First policy experts.

Projects should focus on town centre regeneration and can involve encouraging increased residential occupancy in rural towns and villages, addressing the issue of vacant properties, and highlighting the economic, social, and cultural importance of Irish towns and villages.

Projects can also examine how changing patterns of work can transform the way people live, to reverse the trends of suburban sprawl, commuter belts and hollowed-out town centres.

Submissions should also align with the Town Centre First Policy published by the Government earlier this year which aims to promote the regeneration of town and village centres across Ireland.

Commenting on the launch of the open call, Nathalie Weadick, Director of the IAF said: “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the advent of widespread working from home, many people have left cities to return to their hometowns or other towns and villages across the country, including in county Cork. These people bring new energy and useful skills to their local area, and they can work alongside the existing community to revitalise their home.”

An in-person Reimagine Café event will take place from 1-2pm on 6 December in the Science Gallery Dublin, Naughton Institute, Trinity College, where those involved in placemaking and reimagining their built environment can meet and discuss their ideas. Booking for this free event is now open at eventbrite.ie.

The following week an online information session for communities interested in taking part in the initiative will take place from 12-1pm on 13 December. To register, visit ReimaginePlace.ie/open-call.

The deadline for submissions is 16 January 2023. The 5 successful overall projects will be announced in early February 2023.

Full details of the Hometown Architect open call, including the project brief and application form, are available from the website www.ReimaginePlace.ie/open-call.

Hometown Architect is funded by the Arts Council and the Department of Rural and Community Development, with additional support to the Irish Architecture Foundation from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.