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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 16 June, 2019
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This is Ireland's favourite building

Scoil Chriost Rí won the public choice award at the RIAI Architecture Awards.

An_Ríocht,_Scoil_Chríost_Rí,_Boys_National_School,_Caherdavin,_Limerick An Ríocht, Scoil Chríost Rí, Boys National School, Caherdavin, Limerick Source: RIAI

AN RÍOCHT, SCOIL Chríost Rí in Co Limerick has been voted Ireland’s favourite building.

The boys national school in Caherdavin has won the public choice award at the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) Awards 2019.

The building was designed by Drake Hourigan Architects in close collaboration with the principal and teachers of the school on Limerick city’s north side.

The school provides for a two-classroom Autism Spectrum Disorder suite with a central activities space and a sensory garden. It also has an entrance courtyard and atrium space for whole school circulation. 

Drake Hourigan Architects said the school was granted funding back in 2016 for a full suite of special needs accommodation which presented an opportunity for them to integrate all areas of the school.

The original school was split level, with a junior school and senior school linked only by the general purpose room internally. This meant pupils had to go outside to navigate through the school when the general purpose room was in use. 

3122_052D_Small_©DonalMurphyPhoto Central activities space opening to sensory garden Source: Donal Murphy/Drake Hourigan

3122_011D_Small_©DonalMurphyPhoto The use of colour, materials and finishes were carefully considered following research into autism and colour, where it was found that tones of blue, green, orange and mauves are relaxing, while stronger tones of grey, yellow, black and red can cause anxiety Source: Donal Murphy/DrakeHourigan

The architects behind the school, Ailish Drake and Conor Hourigan, told TheJournal.ie that they are “delighted” to receive the award, “especially for our clients, all the kids, teachers, staff and parents at Scoil Chriost Rí, Caherdavin”. 

“This project is about inclusion and integration so that all children get the opportunity to be educated together with their siblings, cousins and friends,” Drake and Hourigan said. 

The Department of Education and Skills provided the support and funding, but we must stress that this projects success is down to the how the special needs accommodation has been fully integrated, everyone comes through the front door together.

RIAI President David Browne said the importance of good design in all of our built environment and public spaces is reflected by public choice award going to a school.

“The positive impact this building will have on the learning experience of the pupils cannot be underestimated,” Browne said. 

3122_059D_Small_©DonalMurphyPhoto The entrance atrium Source: Donal Murphy

3122_027D_Small_©DonalMurphyPhoto Street facade of curving handmade brick with lime mortar Source: Donal Murphy/DrakeHourigan

Now in their 30th year, the awards are the primary architectural awards in the country.

The shortlist for the public choice award included 41 projects around the island of Ireland as well as London and India. 

The second place prize went to the Cork Criminal Courthouse, designed by PW Architects with Wilson Architecture and Bluett O’Donoghue Architects. 

In third place is the office building 13-18 City Quay, Grant Thornton HQ in Dublin by Henry J Lyons Architects.

Photo Ros Kavanagh Cork Criminal Courthouse Source: RIAI

Photo Ros Kavanagh Cork Criminal Courthouse Source: RIAI

06_13-18_City_Quay_Henry_J_Lyons_Donal_Murphy 13-18 City Quay, Grant Thornton HQ Source: Donal Murphy via RIAI

02_13-18_City_Quay_Henry_J_Lyons_Roger_OSullivan 13-18 City Quay, Grant Thornton HQ Source: RIAI

The rest of the winners, in 14 other categories, will be announced this evening at an awards dinner at the Mansion House, Dublin. 

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Adam Daly

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