The Irish government has launched an international contest for a new €16 million integrated embassy – dubbed Ireland House – in Tokyo
Administered by the RIAI on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the anonymous competition seeks proposals for a landmark structure ‘that captures the spirit of Ireland’ and its relationship with Japan.
The 3,000m² project, planned to start on site in 2021, will deliver a new embassy, ambassador’s residence, and venue for state agencies such as Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland on a prominent site in central Tokyo. Judges include Sou Fujimoto and Irish furniture designer Joseph Walsh.
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Tánaiste and minister for foreign affairs and trade, said: ‘Japan and Ireland are strong international partners. As we celebrated 60 years of diplomatic relations in 2017, the government decided that it was the right time to make a strong statement of our commitment to that relationship with one of the world’s most advanced economies with a rich cultural heritage.
‘This project also forms part of the Global Ireland initiative, which aims to double our impact globally between now and 2025. I am delighted that, with a site secured, we are now moving to the next phase and I look forward to the development of a really strong design for what will be a flagship platform for the promotion of Ireland for decades to come.’
RIAI chief executive Kathryn Meghen said: ‘The RIAI is delighted to partner with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on this competition to design Ireland House in Tokyo and welcomes the investment by government in architecture-led design.
‘This competition is an opportunity to promote a strong international identity of Ireland as a nation that values quality design in the built environment and the public realm.’
The integrated Ireland House project in Tokyo is part of ambitious plans – dubbed ‘Global Ireland’ – to open 26 new embassies or consulates by 2025. The programme aims to double Ireland’s impact on the world stage by 2025 while boosting development aid and forging new connections with the country’s 70-million-strong diaspora.
The Tokyo scheme will be the flagship for the department’s new Ireland House concept which aims to ‘promote a strong, coherent, and consistent presentation of Ireland on the international stage’. Following the completion of the Tokyo scheme, the Ireland House concept is expected to be rolled out to other Irish diplomatic posts around the world.
Alongside Fujimoto and Walsh, other jurors include former Irish ambassador to Japan Anne Barrington, Karen McEvoy of Bucholz McEvoy Architects, and Ireland’s state architect Ciaran O’Connor. Stage one submissions must include two A1-sized display boards featuring an initial concept along with a written report on five A4 pages.
Between five and seven architect-led teams will be selected for the competition’s second phase and will each receive a €10,000 honorarium to develop more details proposals. An overall winner will be announced in late 2019.
The deadline for applications is midday, 17 April.
How to apply
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
80 St Stephen’s Green