International distinction for Northern Irish architects


Two projects designed by Northern Irish architecture practices have been recognised in the “Ireland Tokyo House Competition”, an international competition hosted by The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in conjunction with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland to design buildings to host Ireland’s diplomatic presence in Japan.

Belfast and Dublin firm Arigho Larmour Wheeler, in collaboration with Ostick and Williams, were awarded second place for their designs which drew inspiration from Irish Georgian Town Houses, while another Belfast firm Hall McKnight was highly commended in the contest which drew entries from around the world.

The competition was divided into two stages. The first stage saw over sixty entries from across the globe. The jury shortlisted five projects to be further developed for the second stage, two of which were from Northern Ireland. The winning project “2019-1642” was designed by Dublin firm Henry J Lyons architects.

RSUA President, Donal MacRandal commented:

“The success of local practices in this global competition is welcome recognition of the abundance of architectural quality available here.  Practices in Northern Ireland are showing that they can compete at the highest levels with designs which reflect the ambitions of their clients.  Whether it’s on the world stage or closer to home, design quality enhances projects large and small”.

Explaining the project, Jane Larmour, Director at Arigho Larmour Wheeler said:

“Drawing together an international design team with which to collaborate, we found common ground in the design for a building which would represent Ireland in Japan, expressing what we saw as confluences in ideas about landscape, light, connectivity, and cultural narrative inspired by the simple organisation of a Georgian Townhouse on a square.”

“Our proposal transposes the inherent logic and qualities of the Irish Georgian Town House to this special site in Tokyo, seeking a strong sense of visual connection between people within Ireland House to the landscape of the city and to new pockets of landscape and light within the Embassy.”