The winning projects, which include a school, a community hub and residential housing were judged across six categories, community benefit, commercial development, public sector, refurbishment/revitalisation, residential, and heritage.
Winners in Northern Ireland were:
Commercial Development: Merchant Square, Belfast (also won Refurbishment/Revitalisation Project):
Merchant Square has become one of the catalyst structures within the Belfast skyline. Completely transformed from its previous concrete façade, the revisited Merchant Square provides a distinct identity augmenting the existing urban frontages, the use of Corten steel cladding resonates with the city’s industrial heritage and draws inspiration from the red and orange hues of Belfast’s brickwork. Delivered within Belfast 1, the project was technically challenging with over 250 piles and 1000 tonne of steel installed. Completed in the midst of the pandemic, Merchant lead the redevelopment of the Linen Quarter and uplifted the area.
Community Benefit: An Chroi Community Hub, Londonderry:
Top of the Hill Community Centre as it was previously known was constructed in the 1970’s and was located on the Bard Hill Road in Gobnascale. The centre was demolished in 2011 due to poor accessibility and condition. This new community centre, named An Chroí, (‘The heart’ in Irish) for Derry City and Strabane District Council and Hillcrest Trust includes a creche, youth wing, training spaces and a multi-purpose hall encircling a central communal courtyard. The centre creates a focal point or gateway to a wider set of developments at the Top of the Hill Park and surrounding area.
Public Sector Project: Erne Campus, South West College, Fermanagh:
Erne Campus, nominated by Hamilton Architects, is the world’s first educational, and currently the largest, Passive House Premium rated building. The first building in the UK to achieve both PHP and BREEAM Outstanding accreditations, yielding an anticipated 90% reduction in energy costs, it provides an international exemplar in the achievement of nearly Zero Energy Building for the Public Sector. The Campus, at the heart of the communities in Fermanagh and Tyrone, provides higher education across a range of disciplines, with an emphasis on sustainability and cyber security, to deliver impactful career opportunities for local young people nationally and internationally.
Residential Project: The Banks, Bangor:
APD Architects Ltd., is privileged to have been involved and working with Ulster Garden Village, a charitable organisation whose aim is to make real and lasting difference to the lives of people in Northern Ireland to complete The Banks, mixed residential development at the privileged location at Ballyholme Bay. The development creates opportunities for multi-generational living and a more connected society.
Heritage: The School House, Methodist College, Belfast:
The School House, Methodist College is an excellent example of how thoughtful design and excellence of service has reimagined one of Belfast’s most iconic buildings to make it fit for 21st century educational requirements. Extension, sustainable reuse, and recycling of the building fabric, together with conservation of original features, celebrates the well-loved ‘face’ of the school while respecting the historic integrity of the Queen’s Conservation Area. Methodist College and School House are now fit for purpose for the education of whole new generations of students.
The RICS Awards showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. They recognise outstanding achievement, teamwork and companies. The regional winners have now been shortlisted in the national awards, taking place in October, and will compete at the national RICS Awards Grand Final.
Michael Hannaway FRICS, chair of the judging panel, said: “These winning projects are a true testament to the hard work of property professionals in Northern Ireland. The pandemic has led to the industry facing much uncertainty and challenging conditions, but we were delighted, and very proud, to see such innovative building projects appearing across our cities and towns.
“The teams behind them have worked tirelessly and with incredible vision to create projects which provide tremendous benefit across a diverse range of areas. Through collaborating with other professionals, local surveyors have shown that they have the talent to deliver exemplary and, in many cases, world-class built projects.
“The RICS is elated to recognise skills and dedication that the teams behind these projects had in ensuring successful delivery and making a positive impact across Northern Ireland.”