RIAI Irish Architecture Awards reveal Ireland’s favourite building

The RIAI Irish Architecture Awards have revealed the country’s favourite building.

RIAI Irish Architecture Awards reveal Ireland’s favourite building.

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) held its annual Irish Architecture Awards yesterday (22 June). Among other categories, the awards revealed Ireland’s favourite building.

The RIAI Architecture Awards celebrate and promote the current work of architects registered in Ireland both within Ireland and internationally. They also aim to highlight the role of architecture in the country’s infrastructure, economically and societally.

Lauding this year’s entrants, Charlotte Sheridan, RIAI president, said, “It is clear from the level of entries that Irish architects are amongst the best in the world, supporting not just design but Ireland’s economic, cultural, and social structure”.

Limerick – the home of Ireland’s favourite building

Limerick is home to the International Rugby Experience.
Credit: Instagram/ @internationalrugbyexperience

This year’s shortlist included 53 outstanding candidates from all across the country. There were entries from Belfast, Donegal, Waterford, Clare, and Monaghan, to name but a few places.

As the awards celebrate international work by Irish architects, the shortlist also included entries from London and Lesotho.

County Limerick’s International Rugby Experience came out on top. The facility opened its doors in May, offering visitors interactive exhibitions on all things rugby in the hope of engaging current rugby fans and attracting new ones.

In a statement, the RIAI said that the project, designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects, has “a strong civic presence and a quality akin to a city hall, library, or gallery”.

The statement added, “Its scale successfully addresses both the immediate, local context, while also announcing itself to the wider city”.

Historical sites – the award’s runners-up

RIAI Irish Architecture Awards reveal Ireland’s favourite building.
Credit: Instagram/ @corkcountycouncil

Falling just behind the International Rugby Experience building were Cork’s Béal na Bláth and Dublin’s Tropical Fruit Warehouse. The two projects placed second and third, respectively.

Béal na Bláth was a collaboration between Cork County Council CPIU Architects, Scott Tallon Walker Architects, and Professor Finola O’Kane. Its update was commissioned for the centenary of Michael Collins’s death at the site.

The RIAI commends how Béal na Bláth “[enhances] the visitor experience and [reinstates] the authenticity of the memorial landscape”, describing the monument as “a public space that has utility and meaning”.

Henry J Lyons’s vision for the Tropical Fruit Warehouse was threefold: a restoration of the 1890s building, the introduction of an overhead glass extension, and a new seven-storey building at the rear.

Remnants of the Hibernian Marine School were discovered and successfully preserved and incorporated into the finished project. The RIAI labelled the Tropical Fruit Warehouse “a new urban landmark”.

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