Two buildings have won a RIBA Northern Ireland Award 2017 and will now go forward to compete for a RIBA National Award, the most highly regarded architecture prize in the UK.
Fallahogey Studio was designed by McGarry Moon Architects to accommodate their small but growing practice in Kilrea. The practice is led by Jessica McGarry and Steven Moon who have created the shortest commute to work by setting the new studio within the garden of their home – an award winning project itself. The studio was completed in January 2017 for £160,000. Its simple form and weathered steel cladding references the metal skinned sheds seen across the local countryside. The judges said, ‘This is a precisely crafted, confident and delightful building which provides a series of beautiful spaces for its users, engages with its site and local context, and which clearly demonstrates the ‘can-do’ attitude, enthusiasm and evident skill of its architects.’
Ballymena Health and Care Centre
The Ballymena Health and Care Centre was completed in November 2016 at a cost of £14m. The project was designed through collaboration between two large Scottish practices, Keppie Design and Hoskins Architects, following a competition by Northern Ireland’s Department for Health. The big challenge in the design was how best to accommodate both NHS and Council run services alongside six GP practices in order to make the services more integrated and accessible to the community. The judges said, ‘Externally, simple and controlled detailing corresponds with an assured and restrained selection of materials, resulting in a building that has the potential to endure and develop as a key element of the town’s public realm.’
Ciarán Fox, Director of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA), said, ‘What this year’s award winners demonstrate most clearly is that it doesn’t matter if the overall project budget is small or large, it pays to invest in good design. Architecture impacts on all our lives. At its best it results in projects like these which enhance our landscape. Here we have one project providing an uplifting place of work and the other a vital range of caring services in a bright, healthy and vibrant environment. We hope these projects can help inspire the private sector, government departments and our local councils to put design quality at the centre of their future building plans. I congratulate all the architects that were shortlisted for the RIBA Northern Ireland Awards 2017. The two winners stood out and I wish them every success as they go forward to the UK-wide awards.’
The 2017 jury for Northern Ireland consisted of architects Kieran McGonigle (McGonigle McGrath), Alastair Hall (Hall McKnight) and Jane Larmour (Arigho Larmour Wheeler Architects). The lay judge was world renowned artist Colin Davidson.
The two Northern Ireland Award winners will now be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results of which will be announced on 22 June. The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning buildings later in the year.