Dún Laoghaire library recognised at architecture awards

Restoration of St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford wins three prizes at the RIAI ceremony


The restoration of St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford by Fitzgerald Kavanagh + Partners has won three prizes in the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards, including the public choice award.

More than 10,500 people voted for their favourite buildings with St Mel’s, which was devastated by fire at Christmas 2009, coming out as the favourite.

Another winner was the new library building in Dún Laoghaire, the dlr Lexicon by Carr Cotter & Naessens Architects, which won awards for best culture and best public building.

Public space

Also adding to the public realm was public space award-winner Kavanagh Country by Sheridan Woods Architects, while Fire Restaurant beside the Mansion House in Dublin city centre has been changed around to become better integrated into Dawson Street, handing it back to the public. It was designed by Seán Harrington Architects which won best commercial/retail award.

Taka Architects, which is renowned for beautiful brickwork houses, have used the concept with the walls of the Merrion Cricket Pavilion in Dublin where the angled silver roof speaks gently to the pitched roofs nearby while claiming its own contemporary character. This received the best leisure award.

A school in Athlone by McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects has a similarly angled roof in a building that sympathetically hugs the land and adds joy in its use of red and pink.

Double winners

Athlone Community College took the best education award which it shared with Donaghy + Dimond Architects for the Model School in Inchicore. The latter also won the best house extension award for Gate Lodge.

Scott Tallon Walker was another double winner: for the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (best health) and Keeper House and Lodge (best house) in which the warmth comes from wood.

Warmth of a different sort was rewarded for PassivHaus Architecture Company for a pharmacy in Clonmel which won best sustainable award.

The housing award went to two villas in Monkstown, Co Dublin by Shaffrey Associates, which won thanks to a beautiful balanced composition.

The best emerging practice award went to John McLaughlin Architects. Mr McLaughlin, who has been championing architecture abroad in Venice and Milan, was formerly head architect at the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

Heneghan Peng Architects won the international prize for a library at the University of Greenwich in London.