Housing Development in Limerick Awarded RIAI Silver Medal for Housing

Housing Development in Limerick Awarded RIAI Silver Medal for Housing

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) awarded the RIAI Silver Medal for Housing to Southill Older Persons’ Accommodation, Limerick by ABK Architects. The RIAI Silver Medal for Housing is the highest award for housing design given by the RIAI. It is a biennial award made to encourage excellence of design in housing. The medal is awarded several years after completion so that the success of the building can be confirmed by the passage of time. This year’s award is for projects completed in 2013-2014.

RIAI Silver Medal for Housing Winner

The award-winning development of 35-apartments at Colivet Drive, Southill, was built by Clancy Construction at a cost of €5.6m. The complex consists of 14 one-bed and 21 two-bedroom fully accessible apartments together with communal facilities, organised around a central garden court. The project is the first phase in the re-development of the Southill area of Limerick City.

The Medal was presented to ABK Architects by Minister Damien English TD, Minister of State for Housing & Urban Regeneration, at the Joint Housing Conference hosted by the RIAI and Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The conference, which is in its 50th year, has traditionally been the occasion for the presentation of the RIAI Silver Medal for Housing.

Government Response

Speaking at the presentation, Minister Damien English TD, said: “The Southill development is testimony to the work being done by local authorities across Ireland in the delivery and provision of social housing. The apartments are specifically designed for older persons over 50 years of age and are a good example of the need for our housing stock to adjust to demographic changes. We need a range of housing appropriate to individuals and families at different life-stages and this development accommodates that. The Southill development is a well-deserved winner and I am delighted to present the RIAI Silver Medal for Housing to ABK Architects.”

Kathryn Meghen, RIAI CEO, said: “The resurgence in housing being designed and developed by RIAI members across Ireland is very welcome. It is important to see local authorities championing good design in the provision of housing and also ensuring that social housing projects are maintained for the enjoyment of residents ongoing. The Southill development won the Best Housing Category at the 2014 RIAI Irish Architecture Awards and it’s a testament to ABK Architects and all involved in the design and delivery that it continues to receive plaudits.”

Comments from the Jury

Niall Rowan, MRIAI and Chair of the Jury said: “It was great to see such a high standard of submissions for the RIAI Housing Medal this year. The Southill apartments were designed with the needs of the community at the heart of the process and demonstrate how a new lease of life can be brought to an area through sensitive and thoughtful design. This development provides a perimeter block, enclosing a relaxing, calm and convivial central communal garden space for all residents, with carefully considered active street frontages. This RIAI Silver Medal winning scheme sets a high benchmark for older persons and related housing types”.


Winning Scheme: Southill Older Persons’ Accommodation

This development for Older Persons accommodation and communal facilities in Southhill, Limerick responds to an existing context and anticipates the future in being part of a larger, developing masterplan of incremental intervention and careful management of existing housing stock.

The jury described it as “an exemplar of sensitive and successful regeneration, while managing the requirements of the client body, changes in brief, changes in regulations, funding, and delays. This is a housing development that is both rich and modest at same time, unforced in its handling of spatial organisation and expression and which provides a highly successful, well maintained and convivial living environment of which residents, housing body and client are justifiably proud.”

Highly Commended Scheme: Wainscotted (four apartments in a protected structure)

The jury also Highly Commended ‘Wainscotted’, a scheme of four apartments in an early 19th century terraced Georgian townhouse (a protected structure) on Northumberland Road, Dublin by Lawrence and Long Architects.

The Jury noted in particular “the design intelligence and judgement evident in the discrete integration of the fire safety strategy, the handling of communal areas and the Architects’ perseverance through the statutory approvals processes, while preserving intact the conceptual clarity”.

The RIAI Silver Medal for Housing 2013-2014 was supported by Wienerberger of Kingscourt Coutry Manor Bricks.

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