Urban farm by MMAS and £118m hospital project by Avanti Architects with Kennedy Fitzgerald also win recognition in Northern Ireland
McGonicle McGrath Architects’ Hill House project has been awarded the Liam McCormick Prize for Northern Ireland’s Building of the Year as part of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects’ Design Awards 2023.
McGonigle McGrath won a RSUA Design Award and the RIBA House of the Year Award in 2019 with House Lessans; the practice’s House at Lough Beg won a RIBA National Award and a RSUA Award last year.
In addition to winning the overall 2023 prize for Northern Ireland’s building of the year, Hill House – a five-bedroom home overlooking the Lagan Valley – also picked up RSUA’s 2023 House of the Year Award.
Judges said the project was a demonstration of McGonigle McGrath’s “skill and mastery” with form, space, light and material.
“They have wrought a series of spaces providing ambitious and generous internal volumes that also offer domestic comfort and warmth,” judges said.
Hill House was one of 10 projects shortlisted for the RSUA Design Awards in February. Four other winners were named alongside McGonigle McGrath.
Consarc Design won an award for their £12.2m conservation of the Grand Opera House and the reworking of its modern extension. James Grieve, who worked on the project, was named Project Architect of the Year.
St James Farm by MMAS Architects won the Living Places Award for its contribution to the community. The architects worked with a small budget to create a simple yet attractive mono-pitch barn for an urban farm in West Belfast.
Avanti Architects with Kennedy Fitzgerald Architects won the Sustainability Award for the £118m Ulster Hospital Acute Services Block in Dundonald.
Studio idir won RSUA’s Small Project Award for its Ballyhackamore House Extension in East Belfast. Aisling Shannon Rusk was both client and architect on the project.
RSUA director Ciarán Fox said 2023’s winning projects highlighted the best architecture Northern Ireland had to offer and should serve to inspire clients, policymakers and other architects to be ambitious.
“The quality of architecture in a region has a very direct impact on the health, wealth and environmental wellbeing of its communities,” he said.
“Whether that be through our hospitals, homes, community facilities or theatres, the common thread should be a drive for thoughtful, creative and intelligent design.
“Our winners and shortlisted projects demonstrate that when clients make an investment in good design the benefits are both tangible and long-lasting. Architects can help deliver buildings which are both functional and beautiful and which enrich the lives of those who use them.”
RSUA’s winning projects will go forward for consideration for RIBA National Awards, winners of which will form the selection pool for the 2023 Stirling Prize shortlist.