Inside and outside, and all the spaces in between; it can be tricky to find a limit to the architect’s remit. Reminiscing about the gesamtkunstwerks of yore, a building and all of its parts could be claimed as a single whole, directed towards one goal, one vision of design. In these icons of intent, it’s tempting to compare our own time to another and mourn a loss barely remembered, if at all. History has a tendency of footnoting the ordinary, and in most eras the practice of everyday life requires the architect to work on whatever fragments are available, and in those briefs, find ways in which to reshape space anew.
The Interior Design & Fit-Out Awards, at Architecture and Building Expo is one initiative which seeks to celebrate these endeavours – acknowledging the impact an architect can have on the interior life of a building. In 2017, the stand-out project was perhaps Elizabeths’s Treehouse by McCauley Daye O’Connell Architects, winning the Interior Design & Fit-Out Award, and Exterior Design Award (category: €1,000,000-5,000,000). Designed to accommodate a new dining hall for campers at Barretstown, the building sits lightly in its woodland setting. A plan which wraps and weaves around existing trees is rewarded with internal spaces which feel intimately related to the outside world. The use of natural materials, both inside and out, is a visual cue to the natural setting, while colour and form encourage a sense of playfulness throughout.
Of note also was the St. Jame’s Church / Pearse Lyons’ Distillery project by TOTP Architecture, which won an Exterior Design Award and was Highly Commended in the Interior Design & Fit-Out Awards (category: €1,000,000-5,000,000). A space with a chequered story of use – opened as a church in 1859, it subsequently functioned as a cash ‘n carry and lighting showroom following its deconsecration – a challenge lay in a brief that both required a degree of restoration and reconfiguration. The result is a rare combination of industrial purpose within a sacred sphere.
Further highlights included the DSG building by Kavanagh Tuite; Highly Commended in the Exterior Design Awards for it’s bold remodelling of a 1970s concrete-frame office block, and Slack European HQ by ODOS Architects; winner of an Interior Design & Fit-Out Award (category: €1,000,000-5,000,000) for it’s street-inspired internal layout which eschews the palette of primary colours often associated with the tech company aesthetic.
In 2018, the Interior Design & Fit-Out Awards shall be returning to Architecture and Building Expo, 5th and 6th October, to support the year’s best design work, both inside and out. The deadline for submissions is 12pm (noon), Friday 21st September. All entries will be displayed for the full duration of Architecture and Building Expo in a dedicated exhibition area and the winners will be announced at the event. For details regarding submission requirements and how to enter, please visit http://archiexpo.ie/fit-out-awards/