Public Spaces Take Centre Stage At The 2010 Cork City Centre Better Building Awards

Public Spaces Take Centre Stage At The 2010 Cork City Centre Better Building Awards

This morning, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Michael O’Connell, announced the winners of the 2010 Cork City Better Building Awards, at the annual Breakfast Awards Ceremony in the Gresham Metropole Hotel.  

Cork Marketing Partnership Chairman Michael Geary commented, “The challenge for Cork Marketing Partnership is to exploit market opportunities and position Cork to maintain and build profile in domestic and international markets.   We must aim to be recognised internationally as a progressive European City Region, driving national competitiveness and focusing on high added value mobile investment and talent.”

This year’s 2010 Better Building Award judges were Tom Coughlan, Coughlan deKeyser Architects, Ronnie Mc Dowell, Planner, Cork City Council, Kevin Smyth, Architect with PLM Architecture, Caroline Counihan, General Manager, Brown Thomas, and Mr Tom Spalding, Cork Heritage Forum and member of An Taisc.

Across a total of nine categories the awards applauded the work of business owners and managers, property owners, and architects for design, creation, conservation and enhancement and maintenance of the buildings of Cork.

The judging panel had also created a new award category, the Public Realm Award, to focus on the contribution made to the city centre environment by the design and creation of new public spaces in the city. The judges, impressed by the refurbishment of existing public spaces and the creation of new and innovative streets, squares, green areas and boardwalks, decided to award the first Public Realm Award to Opera Lane (O’Callagahan Properties) and Emmet Place (Cork City Council).

Reflecting on the importance of Cork City’s built environment the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Michael O’Connell commented “Pride in our city is vitally important to the economy, the profile and the reputation of Cork”.Of the many fine retail premises and developments in the city centre the judges selected three retailing buildings, John O’Flynn & Sons ltd , Marlboro  St (1st), Interior Living, MacCurtain St (2nd) and Sheenas, Oliver Plunkett St (3rd).

The Pub Front Award was won by Bru Bar, MacCurtain St (1st), Larry Tompkins Pub, Lavitts Quay (2nd), The Flying Enterprise, Barrack St (3rd) and the Bodega, Cornmarket St (4th). The contribution of these city pubs to the city’s tourism offer was noted and commented upon by the judging panel.

The Café/Restaurant category is, like the Retail Front category, notable for the relatively modest size of the premises and included Liberty Grill, Washington St (1st), Café Gusto, the Boardwalk (2nd), and Amicus, Paul St (3rd). The contribution of these cafes and restaurants to the vibrancy of their streets during the day and in the evenings also impressed the judges.

By contrast the Commercial Business Frontage winners are focused on larger scale developments and first prize went to City Gate, Mahon, which impressed the judges with its high occupancy levels despite the current economic climate. Fachtna O’Driscoll Solicitors, South Mall (2nd) and Heineken – Murphy’s Brewery, Leitrim St (3rd) also won awards.

It was anticipated that the New Development category would have a fairly sparse entry level with few new developments undertaken in the last couple of years, however for this year at least, the New Development category proved popular; Foyer Project, Blackpool (1st), Clarkes Bridge House, Wandesford St (2nd) and Gurranabraher/Churchfield Community Resource Centre, Gurranabraher (3rd).

The 2010 Tourism Award is highly competitive with tourist attractions, facilities and the accommodation sector vying for attention; Hayfield Manor, College Road (1st), Cork Airport, Kinsale Road (2nd) and The River Lee Hotel, Western Road (3rd) all won awards.

The Heritage and Conservation category was noticeable this year for the care and attention of the winners in maintaining the integrity of their buildings, setting fine example and hopefully influencing similar actions within their neighbourhoods; Ursuline Convent, Blackrock (1st), Cluid Housing Association, White Street and Eamon Murray & Co. Solicitors, Sheares St came joint second.

Brookfield House, UCC is the winner of the coveted Judges Choice Award – the largest, integrated health teaching facility in the country and designed around the 19th century. Informed by UCC’s Conservation Plan the Project team decided to retain the house, not only on architectural and historical significance, but also as a result of a sustainability analysis.

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