OGU primarily work with socially conscious clients and local communities to improve public places and buildings through careful research, material quality and meaningful collaboration with makers and manufacturers. As a practice OGU try to tease out the particularities of a place in a way which resonates with people and the local communities in which they work through engagement with people, history and the site itself.
OGU is a dynamic and innovative practice led by directors Chris Upson and Dr Rachel Oâ€™Grady. The majority of the practiceâ€™s recent projects are for local authorities, public bodies, business, charity and community groups working on public spaces, public buildings and strategic urban design. OGU work at various scales from small, temporary interventions to much larger scale urban strategic work. Most recently, OGU have become known for their temporary projects testing the first moves in adjustments to the public realm in NI. These include the Ormeau Parklet, Adelaide Street Project, Derry Bishop Street Parklets and the recent interventions at 2 Royal Avenue Belfast. Working collaboratively with local makers and manufacturers, the practice treat each project as urban research. Both directors teach architecture at Queenâ€™s University Belfast where Rachel has led a design studio focusing on temporary construction since 2019.
The Adelaide Street Project in Belfast city centre was recently the winner of the Architects Journal Small Projects Award 2023 and was shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA McEwen Awards and the Pineapple Placemaking Awards. The Built East Pavilion at CS Lewis Square previously won the TRADA Wood Award for best Small Project in the UK.