Triple celebrations for Cork at architecture ‘Oscars’

by HomeDecorBeauty

From a family to a parish to an entire town, three celebrations will take place in Cork this weekend as three designs from Rebel County top the prestigious Irish Architecture Awards.

A purpose-built office at the end of the garden, Hornan Chapel at University College Cork and the entire town of Cobh are winners of the Royal Institute of Irish Architects (RIAI) awards.

Presented annually, the award recognizes achievements in the field of architecture and recognizes the quality of work of RIAI members and the contribution of registered architects to the built environment.

Casement Square: Cobh Public Domain Urban Design Plan.

The RIAI announced the 18 winners in 13 categories at an awards ceremony held at the Irish Literature Museum on Thursday night.

Henan Church Preservation Project by FMP Architects.
Henan Church Preservation Project by FMP Architects.

Henan Church

FMP Architects’ Henan Church Preservation Project won Gold in the Adaptation and Reuse category.

It also took home the top prize in the climate change category, with the jury saying the project “demonstrates the extraordinary wealth of craftsmanship and conservation skills that Ireland has today”.

Henan Church Preservation Project by FMP Architects.
Henan Church Preservation Project by FMP Architects.

Charlotte Sheridan, President of RIAI, said: “These awards once again demonstrate architects’ commitment to climate change, as evidenced by the intense competition in our existing architectural awards for adaptation and reuse. “

Cove Public Domain Urban Design Program.
Cove Public Domain Urban Design Program.

COBH Urban Design Program

Cobh’s ‘people-centred’ collaborative approach to urban design ensured it won a podium in the Urban Design and Master Planning category for projects from Cork County Council’s Capital Projects Division.

Another winner in this category is the Ramelton, Co Donegal project by Dedalus Architecture.

Cork County Council’s plan to enhance the design of Cobh’s city centre also won second prize in the prestigious RIAI Public Choice Award.

Cobh’s design aims to make the town centre more pedestrian-friendly and inclusive, introducing greener streets, planting more than 80 new trees, a new park, rain gardens and sustainable urban drainage to enhance biodiversity.

Urban planning makes room for outdoor activities, including 50 percent more seating and space for more than 200 bikes.

Working closely with the local community, Cork County Council has designed what it describes as an “overall vision for Cobh that promotes compact development in the city centre”.

RIAI hailed Cobh’s design as a “model” for creating sustainable communities.

It added that the project underlines the important role played by local authority architects in creating desirable and attractive town centres.

Cork County Mayor Cllr Danny Collins said: “These awards are fantastic for the town of Cobh. It is an honour to be chosen by the public as one of the top two construction projects in the country in particular.

“The award-winning design is the result of tremendous collaboration between different departments within Cork County Council, elected members, external stakeholders, expert advisors and most importantly the local community. These exciting city centre plans are designed to provide Cobh injects more energy and creates a more attractive place to live, work, visit and invest.”

Tim Lucey, chief executive of Cork County Council, added: “To receive a judge’s award at a national competition and to be highly regarded by the public is an amazing achievement.”

Douglas' Garden House. Image: Celeste Burdon
Douglas’ Garden House. Image: Celeste Burdon

Douglas Garden Office

Simply Architecture in Douglas, Cork, owned by Gareth Sullivan, has won the workplace and fit-out award.

It has outstanding partners in this category, with two other winners being Henry J Lyons’ Bottleworks in Dublin and Le Cheile Education Centre by Taka Architects.

RIAI President Charlotte Sheridan presented the award to Simply Architecture's Siobhan Keogh, Peter Luddy, Paul Higgisson and Gareth Sullivan.

RIAI President Charlotte Sheridan presented the award to Simply Architecture’s Siobhan Keogh, Peter Luddy, Paul Higgisson and Gareth Sullivan.

The jury found the Douglas Garden Room office created by Mr Sullivan during the pandemic lockdown was “inspirational”.

“This project addresses the challenges of working from home head-on in a restrained and engaging way. The design blends workplace and home in a seamless way,” said RIAI.

The fourth shortlisted Cork project, Horgan’s Quay Phase 1, designed by O’Mahony Pike Architects, received the award.


In the Sustainability category, the award went to the LSE Marshall Building by Grafton Architects and The Willows House, designed by Peter Nickels Architects.

The winner of the Public Choice Award is 10-12 Hanover Quay, Dublin Docklands, designed by O’Mahony Pike Architects and Mola Architecture.

Shortlisted entrants are located in Cork, Carlow, Donegal, Dublin, Wicklow, Kilkenny, Meath and Westmeath, as well as internationally in London and Liverpool in the UK and Chicago in the US.

Ms Sheridan added: “The quality of the entrants is of the highest standard and projects in all categories are exemplary in their respective fields. Irish architects are some of the best in the world, helping to address complex societies such as climate change problems and transform our public spaces into great places to work and live.”

Cork winner of the RIAI Award.
Cork winner of the RIAI Award.

This year’s awards also recognised Metropolitan Workshop’s Annesley Gardens and Taka Architects’ Middleton Park Gate Lodge in the competitive living category. Enriqueta Llabres Valls received the Public Space Award at Le Fanu Skate-BMX and Play Park in Ballyfermot for an exemplary project that strongly demonstrates active public spaces suitable for all ages.

The Wellbeing Award was awarded to the Portland-based National Forensic Mental Health Service by Scott Tallon Walker Architects in association with Medical Architecture.

The Universal Design Award, supported by the Universal Design Centre of Excellence, was awarded to Liverpool’s Indian Architecture by Falconer Chester Hall.

Castletymon Library by Henchion + Reuter Architects wins Cultural/Public Architecture Award; International Award, backed by Enterprise Ireland, goes to LSE Marshall Building by Grafton Architects; Ratoath College Extension by McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects Received top award for learning environment. In the Research category, Denise Murray’s Restorative Practice with CoLab took the overall winner.

For full award details see


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