Sunday 23 July 2017

Hopes build as architects vie for award

Public to vote for nation's favourite building

The Jesuit Community College in Milltown, Dublin
The Jesuit Community College in Milltown, Dublin
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

THE nation's favourite building will be revealed at an awards ceremony on Monday night after a public vote decides the best of this year's architecture.

A shortlist of 37 landmark buildings -- including the Aviva Stadium, the Department of the Environment offices in Wexford and a drive-through restaurant in Galway -- are among the projects nominated for the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) 'Public Choice' award.

RIAI president Paul Keogh said that Irish architecture was internationally recognised as among the best in Europe, and that winning the People's Choice award was not only an honour, but it helped firms secure new work.

"It's an extremely strong field," Mr Keogh said. "Winning means an awful lot, because in theory it puts you into the front line for getting contracts. It gives clients a huge buzz."

The projects shortlisted include public buildings and private homes. Voting, which can be done online at www.architectureawards.ie, closes on Sunday.

Other buildings shortlisted include: Abbeyleix Library in Laois; the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Unit at Merlin Park Hospital in Galway; the Jesuit Community in Milltown Park; the Kilmainham Congregational Church; Long Room Hub at Trinity College; and the NUI, Maynooth, Humanities and Social Sciences Building.

But Mr Keogh said there was no sign of a recovery in the construction industry and it could be "years" before jobs were found for carpenters, bricklayers and tradesman.

He warned against the Government accepting the lowest bid for major projects because they could end up costing more in the long term. Cutting corners at design stage meant that quality buildings would not be constructed, he said.

"The real economy of carpenters and bricklayers working again must be a couple of years away, there's a huge crisis."

He added: "There is a debate about tendering for projects where lowest prices beat all. Tender figures are at level where they are totally unsustainable.

"Architects believe in competition but the most important thing is to get a quality product."

Irish Independent

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