Design and Research Assistant (Architecture/ planning/ design)

Studio idir and Starling Start are looking for a Design and Research Assistant to work on 9ft in Common – an investigation into Belfast’s alleys as social spaces.

About you:

You could be a part 1/2 architect or a recently graduated planner, geographer, or designer. You will have strong drawing skills, an interest in socially engaged and collaborative practice and be highly motivated, solution-oriented and able to work independently.

About the post:

This is a one year post, part time, with a minimum commitment of 3 days per week, with a start date in January 2024.  This post is primarily office-based, with plenty of site, public- and client-facing experience, working on a range of projects and work stages.  We are happy to facilitate flexible working around other commitments.

The successful candidate will work with us on 9ft in Common, where you will be researching, mapping, illustrating and designing concepts for Belfast’s alleyways.

(For part 1/2 architecture applicants, there will be the opportunity to also work on other architectural projects within Studio idir practice, gaining experience across all stages of the RIBA Plan of Work – up to 2 days per week)

We promote a flexible and motivated atmosphere, encouraging a healthy work/life balance, a culture of kindness, and providing support to progress your development and gain a breadth of experience.

This is a great opportunity to become an integral part of our talented team, working on high profile projects that have the potential to make a difference to both individuals and communities.

About 9ft in Common:

9ft in Common is a collaboration between Starling Start and Studio idir.  We are embarking on a new and exciting phase as part of Belfast 24; Belfast’s biggest ever creative and cultural celebration, beginning next spring. This new phase of 9ft in Common: A Manifesto for the Alleys is developed and directed by Starling Start and Studio idir, in partnership with Social Farms & Gardens, Laurelbank Farm, and the residents of Belfast.



Studio idir is an award-winning architecture practice working on a range of residential, commercial, hospitality and place planning/engagement work.

Starling Start Limited is a creative practice and consultancy, undertaking a diverse range of strategic arts and creative placemaking projects.

The successful applicant should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • exceptional creativity
  • a passion for placemaking and collaborating with communities
  • ability to undertake investigative research
  • capable of producing high quality architectural visuals
  • proficiency in AutoCAD, SketchUp and Adobe Creative Suite (ArchiCAD/BIM also an advantage)
  • well organised, enthusiastic, and passionate about their work
  • able to work both independently and as part of a team
  • strong communication skills
  • evidence of time spent in an architecture practice or similar
  • bachelor’s degree in Architecture/Interior Architecture/ planning/ design or other relevant degree

Also desirable:

  • full driving licence and access to a car
  • previous experience working on live projects with communities
  • understanding of construction methods through technical detailing
  • previous professional experience in an architecture practice, or similar, in the UK or Ireland

To apply, please send an email to by midday on 14 December 2023 and include the following:

  • cover letter outlining your relevant experience and suitability for the position
  • CV of no more than 2 pages
  • sample portfolio of no more than 10 pages, and 8MB

Candidates must be able to prove their eligibility to work permanently in the UK and have fluent written and spoken English.

Studio idir (the employer) is a Real Living Wage and equal opportunities employer.

By submitting your application to us, you are providing Studio idir with your full consent to process, manage and retain your personal information for the purpose of considering you for potential employment.