Out of 23 schemes that were entered for the RSUA Design Awards in 2019, 8 have been shortlisted for further consideration for an award.
Throughout April all shortlisted schemes will be visited by the judging panel before the winners of are announced at a ceremony on May 17 at the Ulster Museum, Belfast. This building – a rare example of 20th-century Northern Irish architecture of international repute – was designed by the London office of Francis Pym from 1963 with the integral assistance of Portaferry man Paddy Lawson. The extension went on to win a RIBA award in 1972.
The buildings that have been shortlisted are:
Architect: Alastair Coey Architects
12th century castle remaining in the ownership of the Rowan Hamilton family. The castle has been extensively repaired in line with architectural conservation principles.
Architect: The HMS Caroline Project Team – Client: Consarc Design Group
The restoration of the ship, pumphouse and dock is a project to create an international visitor destination in Belfast’s docks. HMS Caroline dating from 1914 is the last surviving ship from the Battle of Jutland and has been restored as a floating museum.
Colin Town Centre Transport Hub
Architect: Hall McKnight – Client: Department for Infrastructure
The transport hub is the west Belfast terminus for the Glider and along with the new square will act as the focal point for further regeneration in Colin Town Centre.
Belfast City Quays 2
Architect: Grimshaw – Client: Belfast Harbour Commissioners
City Quays 2 is the second speculative commercial office building that forms part of a wider development of Belfast Harbour around Clarendon docks. The £15m building provides eight stories of flexible workspace.
Architects: McGurk Architects and ARdMackel Architects – Client: Raidió Fáilte
This is new facility for the radio station which serves the Gaelic speaking community across Ulster and beyond. The building, which includes a café, exhibition space and garden, brings ‘front door’ activity back to Divis Street in Belfast.
Ciarán Fox, Director of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA), said, “This year’s shortlist is brilliantly diverse with no two projects alike. From a distinctive local transport hub to the restoration of a ship from the first world war, there is much to celebrate. Northern Ireland always has some remarkable housing projects but it is great to see a social housing project make this list, reflecting a new focus by housing associations on architecture.
“The last two years have been challenging for architects seeking to deliver the best value to society in Northern Ireland. There have been quite a few sizeable commercial projects where perhaps design quality was not a major consideration for the client. A number of significant publicly funded projects have stalled and many of those that have proceeded have sought design on the lowest fee basis. In that context, the clients, architects, other consultants and builders involved in these shortlisted projects are to be particularly commended.
“Looking ahead architects are concerned about the flow of new public buildings due to the absence of devolved government. But there is hope too. Public bodies are now taking meaningful steps to help improve design quality through procurement processes that seek creativity and long term value. Simultaneously some local councils are becoming more aware of their role as guardians of design quality through the planning process.”
All of the shortlisted buildings are potential RSUA Design Award winners. If they are successful, they will be in the running to win the Liam McCormick Prize – the award for Northern Ireland’s building of the year – and will be considered for a UK-wide RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results of which will be announced in June.
For more information, visit www.rsua.org.uk