Public asked to pick the nation's favourite building

Public asked to pick the nation's favourite building
Cork Butter Museum is one of the buildings shortlisted

Getting building projects “moving” over the summer and into the autumn will help the economy recover from Covid-19, according to the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.

“There has been a small sharp shock to the construction and design industry, which has stalled projects,” said RIAI president, Ciaran O'Connor.

“What we need to do as part of the economic recovery is to get those projects moving later in the summer and into the autumn so that it helps the economy recover.” 

Mr O'Connor, who was speaking on RTÉ radio, said everybody knew that the building economy was a very good contributor to the national economy.

“The conversion for every euro spent is much higher in construction than it is for many other industries.” 

The RIAI has launched the Public Choice Award, now in its 30th year, and 33 projects are on this year's shortlist.

Mr O'Connor said all the projects were unique and addressed a particular set of challenges and opportunities.

Among the projects are Cork's Butter Museum, Kylemore Abbey in Galway and a community project in Dublin supporting young people affected by social deprivation and drug abuse.

The restoration of Leinster House by the Office of Public Works' Architectural Services also made it onto the shortlist that was whittled down from 129 entries.

Mr O'Connor said the historic 1747 building, the symbol for the Houses of the Oireachtas, enriched the present while honouring the past.

The 2019 RIAI Irish Architecture Public Choice award winner was An Ríocht, Scoil Chríost Rí Boys National School, Caherdavin, Limerick, designed by Drake Hourigan Architects.

The Cork Butter Museum fit-out by DATUM Architecture Studio and Stephen Foley Architects includes the remodelling and the installation of elements for a collection of artefacts.

Describing the project, the architects said they played with the idea of interlocking spaces, producing sight-lines and interrelationships that guide visitors around the exhibition about the history of butter-making in Ireland.

Kylemore Abbey was built in the late 1800s by Mitchell Henry and Azo Architects have incorporated a new visitors' route and re-interpreted several rooms destroyed by fire in 1959.

Candle Community Trust's training centre in Ballyfermot was a red-bricked steel-shuttered building before architects, McGarry Ní Eanaigh transformed it using a new 3D wedge-shaped building and making the most of the natural surroundings.

People have until midnight on Friday, July 3 to vote for their favourite project. The RIAI awards will be announced at the institute's annual conference to be held later in the year.

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