NI wins 3 RIBA Awards

DowneHospital, Downpatrick

The success of the new regional hospital is due to a clear-sighted client vision about making healthcare a welcoming experience, executed with straightforward, legible and uplifting architecture.  The new building departs from the original institutional form by breaking down the mass of an array of smaller wings springing from a central entrance. One benefit of disintegrating a large building into smaller architectural forms is the effect it has on the sense of wellbeing in the hospital’s many rooms. All spaces are daylit and where possible naturally ventilated.  This is not groundbreaking or heroic architecture, but it is a sophisticated response to a complex building type, which owes its success to straightforward design that is welcoming and offers a sense of reassuring ease to its users.

Kevin Kahan Salon, Bangor

This is an unexpected project for many reasons, partly because of the sheer scale and depth of top-lit cavernous space quarried from the back yard behind a conventional terraced shop-front, but partly because of the sheer success of such a huge salon in this location. This is obviously a successful alliance between an entrepreneurial client and carefully crafted interior architecture.   The careful control of natural and artificial light, a palette of very few materials, and an ensemble of well-proportioned and detailed moments, all make for a charming, pampering environment. 

This space is both intelligently engineered around the pragmatic workings of an efficient and award-winning hairdressing service, but at the same time seems intimately crafted around the bespoke requirements of its many repeat customers.

St Malachy’s Church, Belfast

St Malachy’s is a delightful early Victorian church characterised by its robust brick exterior with toy- Gothic turrets, and an elaborately plastered interior which has been formed around a very unusual, but intimate congregational organisation on two levels.

The recent restoration has brought out the richness of the original painted colour scheme as well as restoring mosaics damaged by post-war interventions and brickwork that had suffered through years of weathering. A number of interventions, discreetly executed to meet modern requirements: disabled access, improved heating and appropriate artificial lighting, do not detract from the original character, but rather add important comfort and amenity for the benefit of the congregation.  They also draw attention to the beauty and humanity of the original building.

See Awards section for more information