Who should win the RIAI Gold Medal?

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    • #708158
      Paul Clerkin

      Hype has long been associated with the BAFTA awards, the Booker Prize and, more recently, the Stirling Prize for architecture awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Now its Irish counterpart, the RIAI, has joined the media circus by issuing a shortlist for its 2005 Gold Medal. And just like all the other major gongs, the winner of this coveted award won’t be known until a sealed envelope is opened at the formal presentation on November 10th, by President Mary McAleese. So there is ample time for the bookmakers to offer odds on which of the 10 shortlisted buildings might win. Today’s announcement of the shortlist also marks the launch of the Loving Architecture Festival, which runs through October and November, with up to 60 events all over the country, including almost 30 lectures and more than 15 exhibition openings. It is being organised by the new Irish Architecture Foundation.


      apolgies for the quality of some images – having problems locating my better ones – delay due to a hard drive failure this week

      The Liffey Boardwalk – McGarry Ní Eanaigh


      Smithfield Civic Space – McGarry Ní Eanaigh


      1 Castle Street, Dublin – de Blacam & Meagher

      Wooden Building, Temple Bar – de Blacam & Meagher


      Esat – de Blacam & Meagher

      Fingal County Hall – Bucholz McEvoy Architects

      Model Arts and Niland Gallery – McCullough Mulvin


      Millennium Tower – O’Mahony Pike Architects


      Ranelagh Multi-denominational School – O’Donnell & Tuomey

      Tulach a’ tSolais – Scott Tallon Walker

    • #762013

      Looks like the de Blacam & Meagher office have all paid a visit to the site since this morning. Don’t recall the Wooden One having quite that many votes earlier today.
      At least they didn’t go for that muck on Castle Street. 😮

    • #762014
    • #762015
      Paul Clerkin

      While I’m still undecided about who should win, I know which one should definitely not win, and that’s Smithfield.

      The more I think about the makeover, the worse it becomes it my mind – the shoddy finish level, the lack of any humanising factors, the by-now-pointless communications structure; and the destruction of the original cobbles. While I do like the idea of the braziers, they’re crudely executed.

      I think in practical terms, if they were to award the Gold Medal to Smithfield, it would show just how great the chasm between architects and the public actually is.

      Pictures of the original cobbles:

    • #762016
      Paul Clerkin

      Tulach a’ tSolais – Scott Tallon Walker is the only finalist that I haven’t visited in person, I’ve only seen a few photographs of. But I’m leaning towards Fingal County Hall – Bucholz McEvoy Architects to win.

      I’ve also corrected the poll results due to a ballot stuff excercise on one building.

    • #762017

      have to say i think Tulach a’ tSolais looks very impressive, although i haven’t seen it in person either … surprised to hear it came out of STW to be honest … link below

      Tulach a’tSolais


    • #762018

      The Ranelagh school is remarkably bland, without the limited pleasure of being anodyne. I can’t believe the ‘Millenium Tower’ is even in the running. Castle St is one of the better reuse projects in the city, but that’s probably not enough on its own. The Wooden Building stole nearly a year of my life and I still haven’t forgiven it, so I won’t comment there except to say that high-priced apartment schemes add nothing to the architectural discourse outside of other high-priced apartment schemes. I suspect the boardwalk and Smithfield projects are there merely to fill out the ‘non-building’ component, but both are fundementally compromised.

      I think Fingal. You heard it here first.

    • #762019

      Castle Street is a reuse project in the same way the Wax Museum was a reuse project. You wouldn’t even know the Garden of Delight had been there. Also, I know someone who works in it and she’s not impressed (and I’m not even talking about the ‘Dublin’ ‘Cool’ windows 😮 ).
      The interesting but sad thing is that it has been admired sufficiently to be cited as an example of good design- check out the ‘adapted’ corner feature on the building going up on the corner of Henrietta Street and Bolton Street- three dangling square lamps and all.

      I have to say, I think the Ranelagh school is a very fine piece of work- sits well in context, sensitive to its near and far surroundings, well-appointed accommodation (I know one child who goes there and loves it). One of the few 1990s buildings that I think won’t date badly in this country.
      Haven’t been to the Fingal offices, but I hear they’re super to work in, and they sure look classy from the bus.

      I’m guessing it’s between these two (though the Niland looks fascinating from Paul’s photo- is it the photo or is it a great building?).

    • #762020

      STW’s is a surprisingly striking structure. It’s difficult to see how judges can fairly appraise this in the context of the other conventional entries.

      I like Castle St in how it so effortlessly reinforces the streetscape, both in design and material with that lovely plum brick, though fully agreed about the ‘feature’ window – you can just see De&M standing on the street as it went up and muttering ‘uh oh…’ – a token feature, it just doesn’t hang with the rest of the building.

      Fingal seems a likely winner – in terms of quality, scale, ‘civic value’, and being amongst the first of now many quality county HQs going up about the place.

    • #762021

      I can’t understand how the usher library isn’t in the running and I have to say Ias much as I like castle st I don’t think its of great enough a scale to merit the gold medal saying that I do like the wooden window and the steping up of the facade and just because others have since tried to copy it and done a bad job deffinitly doesn’t make the original less good. also I think I remember the reason for the use of the brick being that it was the planners even though there were no brick buildings on that street at the time?! and the copper brick wood does have both kahnian and aalto references which couls be made.but thats hardle surprising from deb+m

    • #762022

      Think I read last week that the apartment on sale in the building is the most expensive on the market in Ireland.

    • #762023

      Hasn’t it been on sale for some time now? Perhaps a little overpriced?

      Agreed, fergus, that no building can be held responsible for the adaptation and corruption of its features by lesser buildings, but I still think the building’s pretty poor. In writing, it seems to push all the right buttons- materials, respect for different scales and all that. But in the flesh I just think it looks lumpy and clumsy and, though the Castle Street front isn’t too bad, the whole doesn’t hang together well. Interesting that the brick was at the request of the planners- one of its redeeming features, I’d say. Yay for planners. 🙂
      I’d give my right arm for the roof garden, though.

      Agreed also about the Ussher- I’d completely forgotten it was eligible. I use it occasionally, and it’s a joy to work in, as well as cleverly unifying the libraries with the lower ground floor lobby. A friend described it as like a wine bar with all the dark wood desks and mood lighting, and I think he has a point. Could do with better table service, though.

    • #762024

      forget about ‘yay for planners’………. planners did not request brick!!! brick was always going to be used… it is a debm job afterall….planners wanted yellow stock brick to be used instead of the overburns?!? planners and architects are a bit like nurses and doctors…… i think the doctors tell the nurses what to do…… !!!!!

    • #762025

      td- I direct you to fergus’s post above for the origin of the planners/bricks comment. I direct you further to the smilie attached to my ‘yay for planners’ comment.
      Also, anyone who’s ever been in hospital will tell you that it’s the nurses that really know the score. 😉 In fact, maybe you’re right, in that the doctors swan into the ward/room doling out instructions in a high-handed manner which the nurses must then translate into practical actions…

      Though I’d like to point out for the avoidance of doubt that I fundamentally disagree with your analogy. For the record, I was just being light-hearted in the paragraph above.

      Were you involved in the design of 1 Castle Street, perhaps?

    • #762026

      :confused: ah…smilies… just having a gentle dig………. 😀 😀 😀 😀

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