REQA undertake design competitions and feasibility projects as useful methods to enhance creativity and expand our knowledge base. The competition brief asked entries to blend a multi-housing strategy with build approaches and solutions that have widespread environmental benefits. The proposed site is located in the East Belfast suburb of Carryduff.
The original village of Carryduff formed where six roads and a river crossed and is in the site of the ancient Queens Fort Rath. A rath, or Ringfort, is essentially a fortified settlement, and in its purest form is a circular space surrounded by a bank, often constructed in stone. There are several theories on how the raths were utilised, from having defensive significance to containing simple dwellings, to protecting livestock from predators.
In principle, the notion of the rath as a focal point around which roads, pedestrian and on cycle paths converged while providing a secure area for the community formed the basic concept of this proposal.