MMAS Architects

MMAS Architects

Situated between the Bog Meadows nature reserve and the terraced streets of St. James’ neighbourhood in West Belfast, an existing piece of vacant, publicly owned land was identified by local people as a potential community resource.  A proactive group of residents decided to adapt the space as an urban farmyard, and have since erected ad hoc structures and enclosures, populating the site with some crops and livestock. The farm has become a much–loved aspect of the neighbourhood, with inner city citizens waking to the evocative and stirring sound of a cock crowing. Local children are learning about life and food, gaining new skills and interests. With views of nearby Bog Meadows, surrounding hills and city landmarks, the farm occupies the peripheral space between landscape and city.

The initial design intention was to use a linear form of simple mono–pitched buildings to shelter central, interior space from road noise, fumes and excessive breezes, thus creating a micro–climate conducive for growing, playing and hosting performances, discussions and events.  These pre–fabricated modular forms would be clad in reflective metal on the exterior to refer to typical agricultural buildings while creating a robust ‘shell’ to the outside. Within the main farm and garden space, the buildings will be clad by the farm’s volunteers with ‘found’ timber, to be treated and fixed on site. The resulting structure of the community building will display tactile and characterful facades, reflecting the ad–hoc and self–built spirit of the farm at present.  With the involvement in the construction and curation of the building’s external appearance, a deeper pride and ownership of the finished project will be cultivated.

A ‘colonnade’ of ‘V’ shaped timber posts support the projecting roof above on the inner side of the buildings, heightening the sense of enclosure within the courtyard garden. These columns are planted with creeper species from concrete planters, allowing the buildings to embed within the garden over time.

Situated between the Bog Meadows nature reserve and the terraced streets of St. James’ neighbourhood in West Belfast, an existing piece of vacant, publicly owned land was identified by local people as a potential community resource.  A proactive group of residents decided to adapt the space as an urban farmyard, and have since erected ad hoc structures and enclosures, populating the site with some crops and livestock. The farm has become a much–loved aspect of the neighbourhood, with inner city citizens waking to the evocative and stirring sound of a cock crowing. Local children are learning about life and food, gaining new skills and interests. With views of nearby Bog Meadows, surrounding hills and city landmarks, the farm occupies the peripheral space between landscape and city.

The initial design intention was to use a linear form of simple mono–pitched buildings to shelter central, interior space from road noise, fumes and excessive breezes, thus creating a micro–climate conducive for growing, playing and hosting performances, discussions and events.  These pre–fabricated modular forms would be clad in reflective metal on the exterior to refer to typical agricultural buildings while creating a robust ‘shell’ to the outside. Within the main farm and garden space, the buildings will be clad by the farm’s volunteers with ‘found’ timber, to be treated and fixed on site. The resulting structure of the community building will display tactile and characterful facades, reflecting the ad–hoc and self–built spirit of the farm at present.  With the involvement in the construction and curation of the building’s external appearance, a deeper pride and ownership of the finished project will be cultivated.

A ‘colonnade’ of ‘V’ shaped timber posts support the projecting roof above on the inner side of the buildings, heightening the sense of enclosure within the courtyard garden. These columns are planted with creeper species from concrete planters, allowing the buildings to embed within the garden over time.

St. James’ Farm, Bog Meadows