The supreme award of the Architectural Association of Ireland (AAI) – its Downes Medal – has been won yet again by O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects, who have won more awards than any others in Ireland, for Dublin City Council’s Timberyard social housing scheme in the Liberties.
Not only that, but the same practice picked up one of the AAI special awards for Gaeláras, the new Irish language cultural centre in Derry. Architect and critic Charles Jencks, the jury’s distinguished foreign assessor, said the “grace and gravitas” of both projects was “exemplary”.
The second special award this year – the 25th annual AAI awards – went to Niall McLaughlin Architects for their Alzheimer’s Respite Centre on Temple Road, Blackrock, which Jencks described as “poetic” and likened to the much-lauded Maggie’s Cancer Care centres in Britain.
The four other awards went exclusively to housing schemes, some quite modest and mainly in Dublin, by Peter Carroll and Caomhán Murphy of A2 Architects, Clancy Moore Architects, Donaghy + Dimond Architects and Taka. That’s probably a reflection of the times we live in.
The AAI 2010 Awards exhibition, which includes 14 other projects that received “special mentions”, opens to the public on Saturday at the Light House Cinema, Smithfield, Dublin 7, and will continue until May 16th (opening hours 2pm to 8pm).