The RIAI Architecture Awards are given annually to acknowledge achievement in architecture, to celebrate work carried out by RIAI members, and to highlight the contribution registered architects make to the built environment. Projects submitted for the 2021 Awards were practically completed between 1 January and 31 December 2020.
Marking the thirty-second year of the awards, the RIAI announced seventeen winners across all categories, including Adaption and re-use; Culture/public; Learning environments; Wellbeing; Public space; Workplace; Living; and International. The award winners include projects in Cork, Dublin, Donegal, Down, Leitrim, Limerick, Louth, Offaly, as well as Punjab, India.
The adaptation and reuse of our existing buildings was particularly strong this year and the top award went to the transformation of the former anatomy school at University College Cork into a Student Hub by O’Donnell + Tuomey. An award for conservation went to the sensitive restoration of the Swiss Cottage in Co. Leitrim, by Buckley Partnership Architects.
New student facilities got further recognition in this year’s awards with Student Civitas (Lee Point Student Accommodation) by Scott Tallon Walker Architects sharing the top prize in the ‘Living’ category, along with two outstanding private homes: House for a Gardener by LiD Architecture and Baltrasna House by Ryan W. Kennihan Architects.
Winning public projects include the renovation and retention of the original Garda Station building in Donegal Town by Rhatigan Architects, which was a double award winner in both ‘Culture/public’ and ‘Sustainability’ categories.
A new extension to Scoil Uí Mhuirí by McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects was given top prize in the ‘Learning environments’ category.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Architects Department’s COVID-19 response for placemaking from Blackrock to Sandycove and in Dundrum was a joint winner alongside King John’s Castle in Carlingford, by Howley Hayes / OPW, in the ‘Public space’ category.
The quality of Irish workplaces was recognised with two awards this year – North Dock by ABK Architects and Babel Academy of English by nineteeneighty studio.
The award for ‘Wellbeing’ was given to Healy Partner Architect’s Padel Club in Limerick. The work of RIAI architects overseas was celebrated with McCullough Mulvin Architect’s Learning Laboratory at Thapar University in Punjab, India – the winner in the ‘International’ category.
A special award for ‘Research through Practice’ was awarded to Ryan W. Kennihan Architects for their work on Baltrasna House and Beach Road House. Finally, John McLaughlin Architects and Queen’s University Belfast were awarded for their research, ‘Keeping it Modern’, addressing how to conserve the social and architectural ideals inherent in twentieth-century Modernism.
The RIAI Public Choice Award was announced with over ten-thousand online votes being cast by members of the public. The winning submission was Field, Stonewall, House by Taylor McCarney Architects.
The RIAI Building for All / Universal Design Award, in partnership with the CEUD, will be announced at the RIAI Conference on 4 November, together with the RIAI Future Award and the RIAI Student Awards.
The jury also selected a further thirty-two projects for exhibition which will feature on the RIAI website. Full details and images of all the winning projects are available at riai.ie.
‘The wide variety of projects included in this year’s shortlist demonstrates the diversity of work being carried out by Irish architects across the country and further afield. Despite COVID-19 having an impact on construction projects delivered in the last twelve months, we received almost 150 entries for work complete in 2020 and the quality was exceptional. Architects are invaluable in how they enrich the communities we live in, our daily lives, our homes, schools and colleges, and the public spaces we enjoy. I would like to particularly congratulate the winner of our Public Choice award, Taylor McCarney Architects, for their exceptional design. Collaboration is at the heart of each of these projects, so we must also congratulate the clients and our design team colleagues whose contribution is key in achieving these results’. Ciaran O’Connor, RIAI President
‘It was a very exciting year to assess the awards with a very dedicated and engaged jury. The entries covered a very wide range of architectural programmes, themes, and issues, and gave the jury a huge challenge as we assembled our shortlist. Across all categories, there was a strong awareness of sustainability and recognising the importance of our existing building stock, while placemaking and the public realm also featured prominently. Housing, of course, was a huge category and it was encouraging to see so many innovative and creative solutions emanating from extraordinarily talented architects and, as always, public- and private-sector clients recognising the social, economic, and environmental benefits of good architecture’. Mícheál de Siún MRIAI, Chair of the Jury