Friday 28 April 2017

Criminal court voted public's favourite building

Ken Sweeney

Ken Sweeney

THE controversial new criminal courts complex in Dublin has won a major architectural prize voted on by the public.

Designed by Henry J Lyons Architects, the Criminal Courts Of Justice received 20pc of more than 9,000 votes cast in a shortlist of 55 buildings to be voted Ireland's favourite new building.

Located on Infirmary Road, and one of the most technologically advanced courts facilities in the world, it attracted controversy when it opened last January because its design prevented the media from photographing the accused arriving and departing the courts.

However, lead architect on the project, Peter McGovern of Henry J Lyons, said that this was a consequence of the brief which required that all parties be kept separate until they entered the court.

"The absence of the photographs with the guys coming out in handcuffs is just a consequence of the building design -- but the segregation of circulation was very much part of the brief to protect victims and witnesses within the court.

"This ensures that the jury never meets the judge, who never meets the public, who never meets the accused, until such time as they are in the courtroom. That in itself has a knock-on effect, and one of those things is the tabloids aren't able to take that photograph. But as we saw during the Lillis trial there was plenty of coverage of Eamon Lillis going in and out of the building," said Mr McGovern.

Costing €140m, Peter McGovern (39) said the young team, who began designing the complex in 2006, were thrilled by their award.

"Given the size of the building and its position, next to the Phoenix Park, we were anxious to make a building that was both functional and pleasing to the eye so it's a great honour," added Mr McGovern.

Others winners in the 2010 Irish Architecture Awards include St Patrick's Place in Cork City, designed by Scott Tallon Walker Architects, which won Best Sustainable Project, and Rush Library, which won Best Conservation/ Restoration Building for McCullough Mulvin Architects.

Irish Independent

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