The new criminal courts complex in Dublin has found favour with the Irish public. The complex next to the Phoenix Park, which was opened by President Mary McAleese in January, won the Public Choice Award at the 2010 Irish Architecture Awards, announced yesterday at a ceremony in Farmleigh.
Designed by Henry J Lyons Architects, the Criminal Courts of Justice was voted Ireland’s favourite new building from a shortlist of 55. Since the shortlist was unveiled a fortnight ago more than 9,000 votes were cast, 20 per cent of which went to the new courts development.
The newly opened complex on Infirmary Road is among the most technologically advanced courts facilities in the world and also won the Best Accessible Project award. Situated on the corner of Parkgate Street and Infirmary Road, the complex contains 22 courtrooms of varying sizes.
The Athlone IT Engineering and Informatics Building won Best Educational Building while St Patrick’s Place, a mixed-use development in Cork, won the Best Sustainable Project award.
Eddie Conroy, chair of the judging panel, said the jury was pleased with the broad range of submissions received this year, despite the economic downturn.
“Domestic work, where the architect-client relationship is closest, was the most vigorous and innovative. Procurement regimes seemed to have a deadening effect on public projects particularly in the health and education sectors”.
RIAI director John Graby said: “It is gratifying that as the quality of the buildings produced every year continues to increase, so does public interest in good design, as we can see from the strong response to the Public Choice Award”.
Ciarán Cuffe T.D., Minister of State for Sustainable Transport, Horticulture, Planning and Heritage said that “Contemporary Irish architecture is regarded as equal to the best in Europe – proven by completed buildings and the international awards and prizes won by Irish architects of late”. The Minister also noted that “the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards uniquely recognise the importance of the client’s role in the commissioning and delivery of award-winning buildings for the betterment of the built environment”.
The Minister referred to the Government Policy on Architecture 2009-2015 and indicated that “central to the Government’s drive to regenerate our economy is the development of the smart economy and the fostering of “˜green collar’ jobs. The Policy on Architecture complements and supports the Government’s wider economic strategy Building Ireland’s Smart Economy: A Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal in areas such as research, green enterprise and the development of efficient and sustainable technologies for the built environment”.
In acknowledging the magnificent achievement for this year’s award scheme to attract 182 entries the Minister congratulated all who reached the final shortlist of 55 and declared that “confident, ambitious and forward-looking architects will be important players in spurring growth in our economy and ensuring that growth is sustainable”.
The awards exhibition will travel to 10-15 venues around Ireland, to London and South America promoting the work of Irish architects, quality in Irish architecture and public interest in the issues affecting quality within our built environment. Further information is available at www.irisharchitectureawards.ie.