Three Irish architectural firms shortlisted for Stirling Prize

Prize has been awarded annually to honour high-quality design in EU buildings

The Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre by Heneghan Ping

The Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre by Heneghan Ping


Three Irish architectural firms have been shortlisted for this year’s Stirling Prize, the Royal Institute of British Architects’ prestigious award offered for new buildings.

Dublin firm Heneghan Peng has been nominated for the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, which, the judges say, has “tuned in” perfectly to its environment on the Antrim coast.

The University of Limerick Medical School by Grafton Architects is described as being an “exceptional example of how to create a vibrant new public space through the careful design and placement of buildings.”

‘Dramatic buildings’
“[These are] high-quality, beautiful and dramatic buildings that punch far above their rock-bottom budget,” says the institute of the nominations list for the £20,000 prize, which is released today.

Meanwhile, the third Irish architectural nomination on the shortlist of six has gone to Niall McLaughlin Architects, which, though London-based, was set up by a Dubliner. This is for its design of the Bishop Edward King Chapel in Oxfordshire, England.

This development is an “uplifting spiritual space of great potency that the client has described as ‘what we dreamed of but didn’t think we would get’.” It offers “an incredible showcase” for modern British craftsmanship.

The Stirling Prize has been awarded annually for the last 18 years to honour high-quality design in buildings erected throughout the European Union.

Architects who want their work to be considered have to be members of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The institute’s president, Angela Brady, a London-based Irish architect herself, expressed delight that three of the shortlist were from Ireland – this is the first time this has ever happened.

Virtues of design
Two of the other nominations – the first phase of the iconic Park Hill redevelopment in Sheffield and a suburban housing estate in Essex – show what can be done for housing by good design.

“Nowhere is fresh thinking needed more than in housing.

“The UK is blighted with unimaginative, poor-quality houses that people don’t want to live in but have little other choice,” says Ms Brady.

“These projects show how, when talented architects and clients work together and focus on quality, affordable and desirable new homes can be created.

“They shine a light on what the future of UK housing can be.”