28 October 2020

Announced at a recent virtual award ceremony, Cork based, Jack Coughlan Architects (JCA) were presented with the prestigious Royal Institute of Architects (RIAI) Award for the Urban Design and Master Planning of the historic Nano Nagle Place, Douglas Street Cork.


JCA Architects, founded by Jack Coughlan in 1985, worked on the conservation and new architectural design renewal project with Nano Nagle Place for over four years, with initial engagement with the Sisters occurring as early as 2002. This RIAI Grade 1, multidisciplinary Architecture and Conservation Practice has developed a wide range of experience in various areas of conservation and provides an exceptionally high level of expertise within the practice. With a European client base and many years of conservation experience in combination with the ethos of contemporary design that the practice is committed to, JCA’s award winning strength is a combination of conservation with a contemporary intervention. JCA have worked on numerous conservation projects in Cork such as the redevelopment of Camden Fort Meagher, The Lifetime Lab at the former Cork City Waterworks, the conversion of Cork Savings Bank, Lapps Quay and the restoration of Saint Patrick’s Bridge.


Gareth O’Callaghan, Director at JCA Architects stated, “We are honoured and delighted to receive this award for a project that has been such an enriching experience for us over the past number of years. The conservation and design of Nano Nagle Place has been one of the most memorable and career fulfilling projects that we have had the pleasure to work on. The design process was a real team effort that would not have been possible without the Presentation Sisters, Chairman and the Board of Directors at Nano Nagle Place, who were an integral part of the journey and had such clear vision from the beginning, that really steered us all forward.”


The annual RIAI awards are one of the most prestigious architectural awards in the country that aim to acknowledge excellence in architectural design and celebrate the contribution that architects make to society. The awards are organised across thirteen categories with the jury looking for projects that have produced a creative, intelligent, innovative and quality design. 


The jury of the RIAI Awards stated, “‘Nano Nagle Place’ is an exemplar urban renewal project demonstrating how large redundant building complexes can be sensitively transformed, with a varied mix of uses to create a very attractive destination that positively contributes to the surrounding area. The success of the completed project is on many levels, the sustainable reuse of historic buildings retaining their overall character and significance, the transmission of the sites values and the continuity of the memory of the original religious community, the re-organisation of private space to make it more accessible and to provide a contemporary meeting place and the considered and multi-layered professional approach and teamwork required for successful urban renewal and place-making of sensitive heritage.”


Nano Nagle Place is an integral part of Cork heritage and is home to over 250 years of architecture and landscaping that has been carefully conserved. The buildings, steeped in history, range from Ursuline convent and school buildings, built by Nano Nagle in 1771, to an 18th Century Graveyard and tomb, a Victorian Gothic Chapel and a 2016 Garden Café.


Shane Clarke, Chief Executive Officer of Nano Nagle Place stated,  “We’re over the moon that the JCA Architects have been awarded the RIAI Architect Award for 2020 for the Urban Design and Master-planning for Nano Nagle Place. Nano Nagle Place aims to be a shining light for sustainable heritage and community focused urban regeneration and development. JCA and the wider design team took forward the vision of the Presentation Sisters and have wrought a stunning but historically sensitive transformation of over three acres of convent architecture and landscaping dating back to the late 1700s. They have woven in the 21st Century modernist home for the UCC / CIT School of Architecture and their master plan is helping drive regeneration in Cork’s historic South Parish neighbourhood. Working with our esteemed Chairman Jim Corr and under the direction of Development Director Michael O’Sullivan, the team at JCA can be justifiably proud at securing the award. It’s a joy to come to work at Nano Nagle Place. Cork is culturally richer for such a restoration and evidence that heritage investment is investment in our shared history and in our living communities!”


To find out more about JCA Architects visit www.jca.ie, or to find out more about Nano Nagle Place visit www.nanonagleplace.ie.