The restoration of the Pavilion in Lisdoonvara, the construction of an innovative community children’s centre in Tuamgraney and Ennis Youth Café are among the winning projects at this year’s Clare Design and Conservation Awards Scheme 2011.
The winners were announced by Clare County Council at a ceremony in Glór earlier this week, where over 200 people attended.
The awards scheme, co-ordinated by the planning department of Clare County Council, was open to any building completed in County Clare between 2005 and 2011 and nominations or submissions were invited from owners, designers, contractors, community groups and members of the public under 12 categories.
Mayor of Clare, Councillor Pat Hayes, told those present on Monday night, “I am very pleased that this awards scheme has taken place as it is an objective of our new Clare County Development Plan. It is also important in highlighting the good work that has been done and key issues for people such as good public buildings, energy efficiency, accessibility and lifetime adaptability of our houses.”
The mayor also expressed his pride that a number of projects initiated by the local authority won awards and said their entry was made possible by the fact that the judging was independent of Clare County Council.
David O’Connor, Fingal county manager, Sinéad Carr, director of service with South Tipperary County Council and Ennis native Rosita Boland, who is a features writer with the Irish Times, were the judges for the competition.
The judges short-listed the close to 100 entries received based on material submitted and visited each of the approximately 30 entries that were short-listed. It was at the judges’ discretion to give a commended, highly commended or winner award or to choose not to present an award in each category.
According to the council’s senior planner, Gordon Daly, the council recognises that there are a number of excellent awards at national level in the area of architecture and that it was “not intended to compete with or duplicate those, rather to reward at a more local level”. In this regard, he said it was particularly pleasing that a number of community groups had won awards and that they had shown “great courage in pushing the boundaries in terms of design”.
Winner of the best new single house in the countryside was a house in Drim, Quin owned by Elaine Bowe (architect) and Kenneth Kennedy.
The winner of the best new residential development was Cappavilla Student Village at the University of Limerick. Pat O’Hara, architect, described it as “a well-considered development of consistent design quality with a focus on the student user needs that results in a development with a distinct and elegant sense of place”.
Recognition also went to Dún an Óir Community Housing Development and to housing in the Burren, Ballyvaughan, by Cracken Properties Ltd under this category, which both received highly commended awards.
The best reuse/refurbishment and or extension award went to an addition to 1930s cottage on the coast road in Ballyvaughan submitted by Fintan O’Toole and Clare Connell.
Highly commended awards in this category were given to the extension of a house at Cloghaundine, Liscannor, owned by Brian and Shiela Ferguson and designed by Paul Stafford of Axis Architects Ltd and the Courthouse Gallery and Studios, Ennistymon.
The best new commercial building award went to Doolin Cave Visitor Centre, designed by Maria Josefina Fernandez Frelier (architect) and was described by the judges as a simple design that sits comfortably in its setting.
Best new civic building award went to Áras Contae an Chláir. There were two winners of the best innovation award, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre designed by Reddy O’Riordan, Staehli Architects and Brigit’s Hearth, Tuamgraney, designed by Brian O’Brien, MRIAI, Solearth Ecologic Architecture.
Similarly, there was a joint winner of the best conservation project, which went to Tulla Stables and The Pavillion Hall in Lisdoonvarna.
The winner of the best new infill development award went to The Rowan Tree Hostel, Ennis, designed by Peter J Bradfield, Associated Design Ltd.
The best accessibility/social inclusion award went to Ennis Youth Centre, Cloughleigh, as designed by Healy & Partners Architects, while Liscannor Playschool was commended in this category.
The best green technology award was given to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, while Áras Contae an Chláir was also highly commended in the same category.
A booklet that showcases the winning entries has been produced by the planning department and is available from the planning office or the council website, www.clarecoco.ie.