The last hurrah: awards celebrate Irish architecture

logo-aaiNever before in the 24 years of the Architectural Association of Ireland (AAI) Awards have so many architects received recognition – and for such diverse projects, ranging from Bocconi University’s awe-inspiring Faculty Building in Milan to the Light House cinema in Smithfield and several cutting-edge houses. “One would be hard-pressed to find this density and level of architectural quality being produced in a year in any federal state in Germany with Ireland’s population,” says Wilfried Wang, former director of the German Architecture Museum and now professor of architecture at the University of Texas. But Wang, one of the AAI’s foreign assessors for the 2009 awards, said all of the individual buildings, as excellent as they might be, “will only be regarded in the historical context as fiddling while countrysides burn” unless architects in Ireland and elsewhere recognise their responsibilities to curb urban sprawl.

The Irish Times