The RIAI and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government have announced the winners of Ireland’s first involvement with Europan. 2008 was the first year of Ireland’s participation in Europan with competitions on two sites; Cork City Council provided a Greenfield site in Cork and Dublin City Council provided a suburban site in south-west Dublin. Submissions were received from 36 teams across Europe. 73 European Cities in 22 countries held competitions.
Europan 9 is a European federation of national organisations, which run architectural competitions for young architects followed by building or study projects, launched simultaneously by several countries on common theme, objectives and rules. The objective of Europan is to bring to the fore Europe’s young architecture and urban design professionals, and to publicise and develop their ideas. Its objective is also to help cities and developers which have provided sites to find innovative architectural and urban solutions for the transformation of urban locations.
The international jury for Ireland, chaired by Eddie Conroy – South Dublin County Architect, visited both sites and judged the (anonymous) submissions, creating shortlists from which the winners were chosen after much deliberation at the Cities and Juries Forum held in Catania, Sicily at the end of November 2007.
‘Better Cheaper Housing’ by Irish architects Hugo Lamonte and Andrew Griffin won the competition for the site in Dublin and Italian architects Marco Plazzogna and Silvia Bertolone won with their submission for the Cork site entitled ‘Refilling Green’. The two sites offered different sets of challenges, but were rooted in the two overarching problems of Irish Housing – how to expand the city and how to counteract suburban decline.
The Dublin winner ‘Better Cheaper Housing’, by Irish architects Hugo Lamonte and Andrew Griffin, correctly notes that the open space is underused and lacks a consistent and clear edge condition. It proposes a new curving wall of apartments to both the park and the infill site. The inhabited wall rises and falls in height and opens and closes in plan in response to differing site conditions adjoining.
Cork’s winner ‘Refilling Green’, by Italians Marco Plazzogna and Silvia Bertolone, revisited the original masterplan with its own responses to the pressures bearing on the site – slope, railway corridor and views. The new masterplan proposes a sectional separation of traffic and pedestrians, a winding curve of green space and a set of urban blocks encouraging a range of typologies. The overall tone of the scheme feels appropriate to this edge of city site without resorting to a tired suburban language.