Wednesday 17 June 2009

RIAI unveils 35 projects shortlisted for Irish Architecture Awards

Building blocks of success: Thomond Park and Wexford Opera House on shortlist

WEXFORD OPERA House, Thomond Park in Limerick and two ground-breaking social housing schemes in Dublin’s inner city are among the 35 projects shortlisted for this year’s Irish Architecture Awards.

Announced yesterday by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), the list also includes major public projects such as the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore, Co Offaly, as well as nine individual houses and three domestic extensions.

At a time when many architects have been made redundant by the collapse of Ireland’s construction industry, RIAI director John Graby said it was heartening that so many projects – 225 in all – had been submitted and that the quality of those that made the cut was so high.

The two shortlisted social housing schemes, both commissioned by Dublin City Council, are at York Street – designed by Seán Harrington Architects – and Timberyard, in the Coombe area of the Liberties, by multiple award-winning O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects.

Seán Harrington Architects have also been shortlisted for the only public space scheme on the shortlist: the Tallaght Zip and Plaza, a dedicated promenade and cycleway designed to “zip” the old village and Square shopping centre together.

Three education projects are included: A2 Architects’ Eurocampus in Clonskeagh, Dublin; Hazelwood School in Glasgow, which was designed for children with disabilities by GM+AD Architects; and the University of Ulster’s new Belfast campus by Todd Architects.

Apart from the Midland Regional Hospital, jointly designed by Murray O’Laoire and Brian O’Connell Associates, public projects on the shortlist include the Heritage Council’s new headquarters in the former Bishop’s Palace, Kilkenny, by Office of Public Works (OPW) Architects.

OPW Architects, in association with Keith Williams Architects, are certain to win an award for Wexford Opera House.

Others in the running include O’Briain Beary for the new Garda station in Leixlip, Co Kildare, and A+D Wejchert for Irishtown Health Centre in Dublin.

Leisure projects feature strongly.

Apart from the new rugby stadium at Thomond Park, designed by Murray O’Laoire and AFL Architects, the list includes Ballyfermot Leisure Centre, by McGarry Ní Éanaigh, and the Light House Cinema in Smithfield by DTA Architects.

The other shortlisted leisure projects are a spa and conference centre at the Hotel Europe in Killarney, Co Kerry, by Gottstein Architects; a swimming pool at St Michael’s House in Dublin by Michael Collins Associates; and a cafe-bar on Deal Pier in Kent by Niall McLaughlin Architects.

Three restoration projects have made the list: St George’s Church on Hardwicke Place, Dublin (Joseph Doyle Architects); the Ulster Bank on O’Connell Street, Dublin (Consarc Design Group); and the library in Abbeyleix, Co Laois (de Blacam and Meagher Architects).

De Blacam and Meagher have also been shortlisted for a beautiful villa on the Balearic island of Ibiza, while both FKL Architects and Odos Architects are in with a double chance of winning awards for two houses each, all unapologetically contemporary in design.

Four other houses are on the list: Cody House in Co Kilkenny by Boyd Cody Architects; Domus House in Rathmines by Donaghy Dimond; Origami House in Co Antrim by Jane D Burnside; and Lake House in Co Kerry by Clancy Moore Architects, who have also been shortlisted for a new parish centre at the Church of St George and St Thomas on Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin.

The architects shortlisted for domestic extensions are: McCullough Mulvin; Lid Architecture; and Catriona Duggan Achim Gottstein Architects.

Only two commercial projects are included: Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast by BDP; and Tesco’s “eco-store” in Tramore, Co Waterford, by Joseph Doyle Architects.

The awards will be presented next Monday at the Cow Shed Theatre, Farmleigh, by Minister for the Environment John Gormley.

Irish Times

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