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Revealed: Only two schemes handed RIBA Regional Awards in Northern Ireland

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Just two of the six buildings shortlisted for RIBA Northern Ireland Awards have won regional honours  

The ‘precisely crafted, confident and delightful’ Fallahogey Studio by McGarry Moon Architects and the £14 million Ballymena Health and Care Centre by Keppie Design with Hoskins Architects were chosen for local gongs (see full shortlist here).

In 2015 – a bumper year which produced four much-publicised private homes (see AJ 23.04.15) – the architectural scene in Northern Ireland was widely praised when RIBA Regional Awards were handed to five buildings.

Ciarán Fox, director of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects, said he was unconcerned by the drop, adding that the decision to award just two accolades was ‘not unusual’. He said: ‘The highest number of awards ever made is five. It just comes down to the projects submitted in any particular year and each jury’s application of the criteria.

‘Of course we would love to see more local projects get awards but it is important that the standard is set high. With the public sector accounting for over half of all construction spend in Northern Ireland we’re working hard to help put design quality to the fore in public procurement.’

Talking about the two 2017 regional award winners, Fox said: ’‘What this year’s award winners demonstrate most clearly is that it doesn’t matter if the overall project budget is small or large; it pays to invest in good design.’

All the shortlisted buildings were visited by a regional jury, which included Alastair Hall of Hall McKnight, Kieran McGonigle of McGonigle McGrath and Jane Larmour of Arigho Larmour Wheeler Architects. The lay judge was artist Colin Davidson.

Both the buildings will now go on to be considered for national honours, with the successful projects revealed in June. The finalists for the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize will be drawn from the national winners.

The winners

Ballymena Health and Care Centre by Keppie Design with Hoskins Architects 

Ballymena health and 1591 donal mccann pressimage 1

Ballymena Health and Care Centre by Keppie Design with Hoskins Architects 

Source: Donal McCann

Judges comments:

Externally, simple and controlled detailing corresponds with an assured and restrained selection of materials, resulting in a building that has the potential to endure and develop as a key element of the town’s public realm

Fallahogey Studio, Kilrea, by McGarry Moon Architects

Regional award winner: Fallahogey Studio, Kilrea, by McGarry Moon Architects

Regional award winner: Fallahogey Studio, Kilrea, by McGarry Moon Architects

Source: Adam Currie

Judges comments:

‘This is a precisely crafted, confident and delightful building which provides a series of beautiful spaces for its users, engages with its site and local context, and which clearly demonstrates the can-do attitude, enthusiasm and evident skill of its architects.’


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