Re: Re: AAI Awards 06.

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Craig Davis

What I’ve outlined in my last post is a general opinion held by many architects and onlookers of the architectural scene here, including people I’ve talked to who worked for firms that received AAI awards over the years.

On the issue of visiting the projects surely a shortlist could be drawn up of finalists, of say 4 or 5 projects, from whom the winner of the Medal is chosen, as is the case with the Stirling Prize. Even the OPUS awards have incorporated site visits in their decision-making process. With the buildings short-listed this year it should have been quite easy to do, considering that 3/4s of the projects are in Dublin.

Originally Posted by what?
The idea that the awards list should be more varied this year is ridiculous.
Out of the 14 projects that got something this year 11 of them are by architects that didn’t feature at all last year.
Only 2 architects on that list were given anything last year.

What?, I think you’ve been quite selective with your statistics here. Only 4 of the architects have not featured in the AAI awards previously. From your extremely defensive post I suspect my comments may have been too close to home, but I won’t pry. I think the point you make about the award boards being ‘anonymous’ is irrelevant here due to the relatively small size of the architectural scene in this country and considering that several of the projects have been featured in international publications. I certainly have no resentment towards the current or previous winners, in fact I applaud them for doing so well.

In defence of the AAI, they can only award what has been submitted. I do take issue however with what I perceive to be a lack of representation in the projects chosen; of those from Ireland only 3 are outside of Dublin. I find this troubling because it suggests that not a lot is being done in Ulster or west of the Shannon. This topic itself is worthy of a separate discussion.
Also there are very few large-scale projects here, the biggest probably being Athlone Civic Centre. Large projects offer the capacity to fulfil some of the intentions of the AAI awards; to inform the public of movements in contemporary architecture, as unlike with many of the private dwellings selected, here the public can interact and use and thereby appreciate more the value of well-designed buildings.

Maybe type-specific awards can deal with this problem; for instance an award for the best unbuilt project. Perhaps a special award is required for larger projects such as retail, industrial projects & hospitals, and looking ahead, perhaps an award for the best
Public Private Partnership project.

It could be argued that this is stepping on the toes of the RIAI awards. Again however I’d point out that as they have not been published in several years, the AAI awards book is now the de facto annual resource on quality Irish architecture, and because of this I feel that the AAI awards should broaden it’s representation to reflect that.

I had a look on maccreanor lavington’s website; which is worth a look; they’ve done some really nice stuff, and hopefully we’ll be seeing more of them in the future now that they’ve got an award!

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