Congratulations to Clonakilty who have won the ‘Great Town Award’, and Waterford’s Viking Triangle Initiative receiving the award under ‘The Great Place’ category as part of the Academy of Urbanism 2017 Urbanism Awards. The awards ceremony took place on Wednesday 16 November at U+I in Victoria, London.
The awards cover both Ireland and the UK. Clonakilty also has the honour of being the only Irish town to make the initial 15, before that was dwindled down to three. The West Cork town was up against Blackpool in Lancashire and Tormoden in West Yorkshire for the prestigious award.
The reception for The Urbanism Awards Ceremony included the launch of their third book, Urbanism, to be published with Routledge, which captures the learning and lessons from the 75 Urbanism Awards Finalists celebrated between 2009 and 2013. The other awards handed out on the night were the European City of the Year and – for the UK and Ireland – The Great Town, Neighbourhood, Street and Place. The judging involved a visit to the town by a group of architects from the Academy of Urbanism at the start of April and a second assessment visit took place during the summer when the town made the final three.
Clonakilty is no stranger to award ceremonies as it picked up the Public Choice Award and Highly Commended for the Public Space Award in the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Irish Architecture Awards in 2014. The award was for Clonakilty 400 Urban Design Masterplan Phase 1 designed by Giulia Vallone, Town Architect, Cork County Council. Through her role as town architect, Vallone has reinvigorated Clonakilty’s town centre, making it a place, which favours people over cars, with a sense of community on the streets.
Waterford was up against Greenwich Market, London and Leicester Market, Leicester for the award. The restoration and landscaping of the Waterford Viking Triangle was by Waterford City and County Architects with contribution by GKMP Architects, Mitchell and Associates, Bluett O’Donoghue, Duffy Henry Bent, John O’Connell, Wigham McGrath, John Kennedy, Falconers & Associates, and Gavin Duffy. The Viking Triangle is one of the oldest and most significant urban quarters in the country. In this project, the highest quality materials and street fittings are used to make a series of spaces that reflect the civic and historical importance of the area. The overall approach is to repave the streets in granite and to make the surrounds of the Cathedral in Irish blue limestone, with large inset areas of Ballylusk gravel. Though specific in context, place and materials, the project is characterised by a positive uncertainty with regard to use. Its emptiness assumes change, across a season or a century. The scheme was Commended in the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2014.