House at Maghera named NI’s Building of the Year

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Kieran McGonigle (left) and Aidan McGrath (right) are presented with the Liam McCormick Prize by Martin Hare, RSUA PresidentThe Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) has awarded the Liam McCormick Prize for Northern Ireland’s Building of the Year to ‘House at Maghera’, in Castlewellan, County Down, by multi award-winning architects, McGonigle McGrath.

The family dwelling joins an illustrious list of buildings including the Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre and the Lyric Theatre which have previously won the prestigious award named after one of Ireland’s greatest 20th century architects.

Other winning buildings at the RSUA Design Awards 2016 included the uplifting Banbridge Health and Care Centre by Kennedy Fitzgerald Architects in association with Avanti Architects; an innovative social housing scheme in Carryduff for Choice Housing designed by PDP London Architects; and the sensitively restored Graduate School at Queen’s University by Consarc Design Group.

Martin Hare, RSUA President, said, “The RSUA Design Awards’ primary purpose is to promote excellence in the design of our built environment, with the view to making Northern Ireland a better place to be. There is no doubt that all 13 projects that have received awards this year have truly enhanced our landscape and our communities. These projects demonstrate the positive impact good design can have on our society, including its critical role in making Northern Ireland a more attractive place for citizens, tourists and investors.

“I applaud the determination of the clients, architects and everyone involved in the delivery of these projects as they have upheld design quality, often against a backdrop of severe budgetary pressures. “It shows it can be done, and sets down a challenge to everybody involved in creating our built environment to match or even exceed that design quality. We all have a role in creating a brighter future for Northern Ireland and architects are ready to play their part.”

However, while McGonigle McGrath took the plaudits for the Liam McCormick Prize winning project, House at Maghera, the RUSA Design Awards 2016 have also illustrated the breadth of quality work carried out by architects.

This year’s awards included a number of new categories, including those that recognised smaller projects, yet each winner had one common denominator – they all promoted excellence in the design of our built environment with the view to making Northern Ireland a better place. The RSUA Design Awards 2016 winners included:

Liam McCormick Prize
Winner: House at Maghera, Castlewellan, Co.Down by McGonigle McGrath
About: This family home for a professional couple and their three children was designed to be bright and spacious and complementary to the character or the village.

Best Social Housing Project sponsored by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive
Winner: Killynure Green, Carryduff by PDP London Architects
About: A social housing development commissioned by Choice Housing Ireland with sustainability at its core.

Best Single House or Extension Over £100,000 sponsored by Lowry Building and Civil Engineering
Joint Winners: Grillagh Water House, Maghera, Co. L’derry by Patrick Bradley Architects and House at Maghera, Castlewellan, Co.Down by McGonigle McGrath
About: Grillagh Waterhouse is an experimental housing project designed to help change the perceptions of what rural contemporary architecture is or can be.

Best Public Building Under £3millon sponsored by the Central Procurement Directorate of the Department of Finance
Winner: Home from Home, near Belfast City Hospital by McGonigle McGrath. This project also won a RIBA Regional Award and RIBA Regional Client of the Year Award.
About: One of a series of ‘Homes from Home’ for CLIC Sargent, the Cancer Charity. This facility offers the families of children undergoing treatment in the nearby Regional Cancer Centre free accommodation for the duration of the treatment. It also separately accommodates the charity’s local office.

Best Public Building Over £3millon sponsored by the Central Procurement Directorate of the Department of Finance
Winner: Banbridge Health and Care Centre by Kennedy Fitzgerald Architects in association with Avanti Architects. This project also won a RIBA Regional Award.
About: A local health facility to provide a range of primary care, community care and acute diagnostic services.

Best Commercial Project up to £3million sponsored by JP Corry
Winner: Creative Industries Building, Weavers Court, Belfast by Doherty Architects
About: A building that was a candidate for demolition and replacement became the feature of this project to provide Grade A office space on behalf of Linfield Properties.

Best Public Space sponsored by the Department for Infrastructure
Winner: Lagan Weir Footbridge, Belfast by AECOM
About: The bridge, designed for both cyclists and pedestrians, was conceived as a silver blade spanning the River Lagan and as an extension of the public realm from Donegal Quay.

Best Cultural Project sponsored by the Department for Communities
Winner: Portico, Portaferry, Co Down by Maxwell Pierce
About: The Friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church took action to save this Grade A listed building and to put in place a sustainable business plan involving the building being used by the wider community.

Best Conservation of Built Heritage sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council
Joint Winner: The Graduate School at Queen’s University Belfast by Consarc Design Group. This project also won a RIBA Regional Award and a RIBA Regional Conservation Award.
About: The Grade B listed Lynn Building is a high profile building on the main site at Queen’s University and one of the best examples of Ruskinian Gothic architecture in Belfast.
Joint Winner: Sion Mills Stables, Co.Tyrone by Hearth Housing Association and Caroline Dickson Architects.
About: One of the most prominent building in the Sion Mills conservation area which had been disused for 50 years has been transformed into an educational and community facility including a cafe, museum and craft shop.

Regeneration Award sponsored by Metal Technology
Winner: Girdwood Community Hub, Belfast by Michael Whitley Architects
About: 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 facility, commissioned by Belfast City Council, is a community space aimed at supporting peace, reconciliation and further investment in the area.

Sustainability Award sponsored by the Strategic Investment Board
Winner: Crest Pavilion, Enniskillen by Paul McAlister Architects Ltd
About: The educational facility for South West College doubles as a teaching model of sustainable construction for the local building sector.

Integration of Art Award sponsored by the Arts Council
Winner: The Atrium at W5, Odyssey, Belfast by White Ink.
About: An art installation which is designed to be climbed.