Irish government announces new architecture policy

The Irish government has announced the development of a new architecture policy that is set to include a six-year action plan focusing on sustainable development.

John Gormley, minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, made the announcement at the launch of Open House Dublin 2007 last week.

He said: “It is important to respond to the changing nature of issues relating to the evolution of the built environment, and it is in that context that I have approved the development of a new policy on architecture.

“It will place more emphasis on sustainable development of the environment and on urban design. It will continue to encourage and support high quality modern architecture.

“The policy also aims at incorporating architectural heritage in a holistic, integrated manner. Finally, it will develop an action plan which will respond to, and promotes awareness of, all those areas.”

A steering committee made up of public and private sector representatives is to be appointed to oversee policy development.

Three focus groups will specialise on the core themes of promoting quality in the built environment, promoting sustainability and promoting awareness.

“During the development of the new policy on architecture there will be extensive public consultation,” said Mr Gormley.

This is expected to include what Mr Gormley called “think ins” – a series of nationwide public seminars involving individuals and organisations working in the built environment.

He added: “It is intended that the policy and action plan would have a six-year lifespan.”

Last weekend’s second annual Open House Dublin is organised by the Irish Architecture Foundation is a free event in which historical buildings around the city are opened to the public.

David Gibbs

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