Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland buildings win architectural awards

House at Maghera Image copyright Royal Society of Ulster Architects

A house in County Down has scooped the award for Northern Ireland's building of the year.

House at Maghera, three miles from Newcastle, won the Liam McCormack Prize at the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) awards in Belfast on Thursday night.

The award is presented to the entry that best demonstrates design excellence in all its attributes.

The house is home to a couple and their three children.

It was designed by the architecture firm McGonigle McGrath.

"This superb family dwelling exudes such excellence from the inspired development of the underlying concept through to the highly disciplined and detailed execution of the resultant design vision," the judges said.

"This wonderfully crafted home evokes a strong sense of place, paying subtle homage to local traditional building forms, whilst also creating a strong visual link to the calm solidity of the backdrop of the Mourne mountains."


Grillagh Water House

Image copyright Royal Society of Ulster Architects

The house also shared the top prize for award for the best single house or extension along with Grillagh Water House by Patrick Bradley Architects.

The home, outside Maghera in County Londonderry, was built using four shipping containers architect Patrick Bradley's family farm.

The judges described it as a "carefully composed piece of architecture making innovative use of shipping containers".

"The design of this delightful rural dwelling displays self-confident and bold decision making in both its exterior and interior treatments," they added.


Portico, Portaferry

Image copyright RUSA

Designed by Maxwell Pierce, Portico in Portaferry, County Down, was named the best cultural project.

The Friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church group took action to save the grade A listed building and it is now used by the wider community.

"The Portico is a very beautiful building rescued from near death, a reinvigorated place of worship but now also a catalysing and inclusive cultural focus for the Ards peninsula," the judges said.


Killynure Green, Carryduff

Image copyright RUSA

The award for best social housing project went to Killynure Green in Carryduff, designed by PDP London Architects.

"A series of social housing clusters are carefully positioned in a landscape of private, semi-private and public open spaces," the judges said.

"Enclosed south-facing winter gardens define the architecture of the housing clusters."


Banbridge health and care centre

Image copyright Donal McCann

Banbridge Health and Care Centre won the award for best public building over £3m.

Judges said the County Down centre, designed by Kennedy Fitzgerald Architects in association with Avanti Architects, was "a calm uplifting civic building deftly interwoven into its site, a tangible affirmation of the value of the public domain".


Lagan Weir Footbridge

Image copyright RUSA

The footbridge in the centre of Belfast, designed by AECOM, won the award for best public space.

The judges said that while it provided an attractive connection between the centre of Belfast and the Titanic Quarter, it was also a public space in its own right.

"The bridge is wide, enticing and elegant. It has created a place on the river for the public to pause and admire the vistas along the Lagan, both day and night," they added.


Girdwood Community Hub

Image copyright Adam McAteer

The hub is the first element of the development of a 14-acre former military barracks site in a contested part of lower north Belfast.

The judges said the building, designed by Michael Whitley Architects, "makes a significant statement of confidence in the area and its future".

"The challenge of developing this contested space in an interface area in north Belfast cannot be understated," they added.

"The design is welcoming, accessible to all and is an impressive beginning for the further regeneration of the area."


Crest Pavilion, Enniskillen

Image copyright RUSA

The educational facility for South West College, which doubles as a teaching model of sustainable construction for the local building sector, won the sustainability award.

Judges said it achieved its sustainability brief by "adopting innovative design and construction principles".


The Atrium at W5, Belfast Odyssey

Image copyright RUSA

The Atrium, a collaboration between White Ink architects and the artist Spencer Luckey, won the integration of art award.

"The Celtic Dragon sculpture invites children to climb the spans of its arched wings," the judges said

"A visually stunning and integrated interactive piece of artwork."


Other winners included:

  • Best conservation of built heritage - joint winners: The Graduate School at Queen's University Belfast by Consarc Design Group and Sion Mills Stables by Hearth Housing Association and Caroline Dickson Architects.
  • Best public building under £3m: Home from Home, near Belfast City Hospital by McGonigle McGrath
  • Best commercial project up to £3m: Creative Industries Building, Weavers Court, Belfast by Doherty Architects

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