RSUA and JP Corry launch Belfast Flare Design Competition 2017

01 September 2017

The RSUA/JP Corry Belfast Flare is a competition for early career architects to design a temporary or semi-permanent structure which will draw attention to the enormously important role that architecture can play in the future success of Belfast.

Flare is defined as, “A blaze of light used especially to signal, illuminate, or attract attention” and as such the competition aims to:

  • Create a temporary man made structure of beauty, intrigue and inspiration - a place and space that both locals and visitors will want to experience.
  • Showcase the creative talents of younger architects from the island of Ireland
  • Inspire people to consider the full potential of what architecture, at its best, could do for Belfast and all across Northern Ireland - for citizens, tourists and investors.
  • Encapsulate the ambition set out in The Belfast Agenda of a city re- imagined, beautiful, culturally vibrant and a place of innovation and creativity.
  • Highlight the importance of design in creating a liveable and sustainable city, raising the profile of architecture in Northern Ireland and opening it up to a wider audience.
  • Highlight the value to the city of meanwhile use
  • Help demonstrate Belfast’s determination to turn its words into actions and its aspirations into tangible reality.


This competition is open to early career architects either living or born on the island of Ireland. ‘Early career architect’ is being defined as any architect who has been actively in work as an architect for less than 15 years. This is in recognition that for many people, especially women, the journey after qualifying as an architect is not a straight run of employment without any interruptions. The competition is open to early career architects working in all sectors not just those in private practice. Early career architects can collaborate with each other to enter the competition.


As this competition is focused on supporting creativity and imagination we have aimed to keep the brief very open. The structure should be designed on the basis of:

  • Meeting the aims of the competition as set out above.
  • Being situated on a site of 250m2. The footprint of the structure can be any size that falls within this site.
  • A budget of £20,000 to include professional fees, materials and build costs. All materials will be supplied by Saint Gobain and JP Corry. (The professional fees will be negotiated post award. RSUA will seek to increase the budget in the course of the next few months and entrants will be informed of any significant change. Shortlisted entrants will be asked about delivery within budget.)
  • Location - We are currently in discussion with a number of partners regarding where the structure might be situated. It is most likely to be a location in Belfast city centre. If this is resolved whilst the competition is still running we will inform all entrants immediately.
  • Lifetime – The minimum life of the structure will be from May 2018 to October 2018 however it is quite likely that it will remain in place longer than this and may indeed be rebuilt elsewhere on removal from its original site.
  • Consideration being given to the sustainability or carbon footprint of the proposed materials
  • The structure will not be manned.


To enter the competition you must submit your concept design, provide a written statement and you have the option of submitting a short video as follows:

1. Visual - Submit a range of images/drawings to best convey your concept

2. Explain - In less than 1,500 words propose:

  • a name for your structure
  • how the space will be used
  • how the wider community might be engaged with the structure (during construction and post-construction)
  • material usage making reference to the sustainability or carbon footprint or your selection

3. Optional - record a piece to camera (max one minute) explaining your concept (mobile phone quality for potential use online)

Competition Timeline

The competition is being run on a relatively tight timetable. The indicative timings are as follows. (Participants will be notified of any changes):

  • 31st August 2017 – competition launch
  • 10th October 2017 – submission deadline
  • 27th October 2017 – Architecture Night (showcase of entrants and announcement of winner)
  • November 2017 to April 2018 – Design development and construction phase
  • May 2018 – Structure complete and open to public


It is envisaged that the judging panel will consist of:

  • Architects from the newly created RSUA Peer Endorsed Design Panel
  • A representative from Belfast City Council
  • A representative from the Arts Council
  • A representative from RIAI
  • A representative from Saint Gobain

Shortlisted entrants may be invited for interview to discuss their proposal and how they would deliver it.


To register, please email Gillian Lendrum ( You will be issued with a unique registration number.