THE GASWORKS Architect: O'Mahony Pike Architects Housebuilder: Royceton Landscape architect: Tiros Resources Brownfield development conjures up images of swanky wharf conversions or regimented rows of red-brick two-up two-downs. It is difficult to imagine, then, a derelict gasometer lending itself to urban living. Dublin's Barrow Street Gasworks, however, has been convincingly transformed into a 3.2ha, high-density mix of commercial, residential and retail units.
The project sits within the Dublin Docklands Development Area - one of the city's most extensive and rapidly growing brownfield regeneration programmes. At its heart stands the former Alliance gasometer, now converted into 210 apartments.
The sympathetic incorporation of the original cast-iron frame, built in 1885 and one of the few remaining in Dublin, immediately captured the judges' imagination. Encasing the iron skeleton in glass was declared a cogent solution to the challenge of transforming an ugly redundant structure into a striking centrepiece.
Inside, apartments are stacked over nine oors and accessed via lifts and gangways overlooking a circular courtyard. Both architect and developer were praised for challenging the dominance of brick in house building. It was agreed that if people can y 12,000m high, protected by a few inches of aluminium, then they can live nine storeys up, insulated by glass and iron.
Radiating away from the gasworks is a mix of single- and two-storey courtyard houses, apartment blocks, shops and offices, built on land formerly dominated by industrial units and warehouses.
These have been designed in a mix of retro formats to blend in with existing housing and neighbouring infrastructure - a strategy welcomed by the judges.
Each square metre of The Gasworks earns its keep. The development boasts a residential density of 260 units per hectare - outstripping the UK government's target of 175 homes per hectare.
Brownfield house building has failed to make significant headway since the '30s, bemoaned the judges. The Gasworks is an untouchable winner, they applauded, demonstrating valuable lessons in brownfield regeneration.
CROWN WHARF IRONWORKS Architect: Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects Housebuilder: London Green Developments Landscape architect: Farrer Huxley Associates
CHAPEL SOUTHAMPTON Architect: Chetwood Associates Housebuilder: Persimmon Homes (South Coast)