Dublin, 22 November, The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) awarded the RIAI James Gandon Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Architecture to James Pike, FRIAI, of OMP Architects.
James Pike is the founder and director of O’Mahony Pike Architects, now OMP Architects and Past President of the RIAI. He has played a major role for 50 years in urban planning and housing in Ireland as well as the design of major educational, office, retail, hotel and industrial projects, and in projects in the UK and North Africa.
He was one of the first to introduce system-built housing to Ireland in the 1960s in his designs of social housing for the National Building Agency. This was the beginning of the modular approach to housing, driven by a shortage of construction labour at the time. In the 1970s, James Pike and his practice, Delany McVeigh Pike, worked with the Liberties Association to develop innovative housing schemes in Meath Street, the Coombe and Newmarket as well as an infill project on Lower Clanbrassil Street. The practice was also at the forefront of the demand for private apartments, designing schemes such as Hazeldene and Merrion Village, both in Dublin 4.
O’Mahony Pike Architects was founded in 1992, working across major new housing commissions, including the Herbert Park apartments on the former Johnson Mooney and O’Brien site in Ballsbridge, Mount St. Anne’s in Milltown, and Hanover Quay in the city centre, for which James Pike won the RIAI Housing Medal. James Pike also worked on the planning and design of Adamstown in West Dublin for Castlethorn. In the commercial space, O’Mahony Pike designed the buildings on Barrow Street that became the home of Google’s European Operations Campus. James Pike continues to work on the development of planned communities, such as the new Poolbeg Peninsula where the practice is progressing designs for a masterplan of housing, retail and commercial space on the former Glass Bottle site.
His involvement with the RIAI began with a National Housing Conference in the early 70s, which the RIAI jointly organised with the Department of Local Government. This led to the establishment of the Joint Housing Conference, which has organised conferences every 2-3 years since that date.
James co-edited, with Kathryn Meghen, the RIAI’s influential housing publications: The New Housing and The New Housing 2, focusing on building sustainable communities in urban areas. He was Chairman of the RIAI Public Affairs Committee from 1975-78 and was responsible for the RIAI publication Dublin City in Crisis, regarded as a key publication on urban development.
Carole Pollard, RIAI President said, “The RIAI Gandon Medal is the highest personal honour in Irish architecture, being awarded not for any individual design project but for the lifetime’s work of the recipient. In the development of housing in Ireland, James Pike has arguably contributed more than any other architect, bringing innovation and creativity to both the planning of communities and the building process. I am delighted to be awarding him the RIAI Gandon Medal for his work which has spanned 6 decades and continues today.”
James Pike said, “As an architect I have sought to help create high quality housing for all households and great communities through good planning and urban design. I am honoured to receive the James Gandon medal from the RIAI.
About the RIAI James Gandon Medal
The RIAI introduced the James Gandon Medal in 2011 and each President of the RIAI has the honour of selecting a recipient for the Medal during their two-year term of office. James Pike is the fourth recipient of the medal. Previous winners of the Gandon Medal were Des McMahon of Gilroy McMahon Architects, Dr Ronnie Tallon of Scott Tallon Walker Architects and the US-based Irish architect Kevin Roche.