Grimshaw has narrowly seen off finalists Foster + Partners and BDP to win the international contest to redevelop the Curragh Racecourse in Ireland
Collaborating with Limerick-based Newenham Mulligan & Associates, the design team was chosen ‘unanimously’ from more than 100 firms from around the world.
Plans to redevelop the Ireland’s most important thoroughbred race track first emerged in 2005 but sunk in 2008 as the economic downturn hit the country.
But the scheme was resurrected in 2011 after a number of key stakeholders of the Turf Club decided there was a ‘continuing and compelling need’ for a major overhaul and, last summer, an architectural contest was launched (AJ 06.06.2013).
The jury, which was chaired by Angela Brady, initially selected ‘visions’ by six practices before asking three contenders to come back with more worked up designs.
Grimshaw’s concept scheme was described as showing ‘real innovation while at the same time respecting both the great heritage of the Curragh and the unique environment surrounding the racecourse’.
Brady said: ‘This was a very well run competition and being anonymous for all stages until the final presentation was an essential element in the judging process.
‘We examined six short listed projects all very different and unique. In the final stage of the competition our jury were faced with three exemplar designs and it was always going to be hard to decide the winner. However after much discussion and testing of the design ideas our jury came to a unanimous decision. ‘
John McStay, chairman of the Curragh Racecourse Redevelopment Committee said: ‘As we pointed out, at the initiation of this competition, long-term funding is the critical requirement.
Long-term funding is the critical requirement
‘The Turf Club is committed to promoting this project in association with key stakeholders for the benefit of Irish racing. We envisage that the finance will be raised through a mix of private/public funding, sponsorship, existing Turf Club funds and limited bank borrowing. Decisions and agreements in relation to all such matters remain to be put in place. We will be discussing all of these issues with Horse Racing Ireland and the other interested parties in the coming weeks’.