We're delighted to announce the RICS Project of the Year 2019, Northern Ireland - the Mourne Wall Restoration Project in County Down - along with the winners and highly commended for the RICS Awards 2019, Northern Ireland.
A record number of 36 of Northern Ireland's most innovative and community beneficial property projects competed for the top honours at the annual RICS Awards, Northern Ireland. Paul Clarke MBE hosted this years ceremony - supported by headline sponsor, Sika - held at the Crowne Plaza, Belfast on 30th May.
The highly acclaimed 'Project of the Year' title is presented to the scheme which demonstrates overall outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area.
The 22mile Mourne Wall Restoration Project involved repairing 2400m of drystone granite wall crossing 15 mountain peaks, blending traditional skills and craftsmanship with modern surveying techniques to return the wall to its original condition. The 'Mourne Wall' is in a Special Area of Conservation, Area of Special Scientific Interest and the heart of an Area of Outstanding Beauty. It plays an important role environmentally and navigationally to the 100,000 walkers that visit the area.
RICS judges commended the collaboration between stakeholders to overcome the many challenges in completing the project, whilst working to minimise impact on the environment so future generations can enjoy this exceptional landmark.
The extensive Mourne Wall Restoration Project – delivered by RPS Group and Geda Construction - consisted of over 600 repairs along the entire 22 mile wall length, which has restored the wall back to its original condition as it would have been over 100 years ago.
The £1.6m project took place in the stunning Mourne Mountains and involved descendants of the original wall builders. It was no simple feat, with such a challenging landscape to work within and many factors to consider in ensuring minimised environmental impact. RICS judges lauded the extensive collaborative approach that was adopted by stakeholders, including the use of local materials that were expertly crafted.
After undergoing a £12.6m refurbishment River House stands at the forefront of a new wave of commercial development in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter. No longer tired and dated, the project has completely transformed the original building which was affected at various times during 'The Troubles' and was actually originally constructed in the late 1960's on a former WWII bombsite.
River House's 14 storeys have been completely transformed to the highest specifications and also achieved a BREEAM Very Good rating. Delivered by Malcolm Hollis, Povall Worthington and Mac Group, it offers co-working and private office space for forward-thinking, innovative companies. River House boasts an array of modern facilities including state-of-the-art meeting rooms, an extensive landscaped rooftop terrace, a café and informal breakout zones.
Situated in an area of high social deprivation and on a site which had previously been a hub for antisocial behaviour, the award winning Raidió Fáilte team have worked tirelessly to build an enviable and innovative facility. It is a leading example of how design, client passion and strategic vision can deliver real and lasting community benefit.
The facility – delivered by AD Surveyors and McGurk Architects and ARdMackel Architects with Cleary Contracting – provides education, vocational training, volunteering opportunities and a platform for other community based initiatives, directly improving the lives of local people.
The Judges were impressed by the Raidió Fáilte team's clear commitment to community engagement and enrichment programmes, facilitated by their new building.
On the eastern shore of Lough Foyle, the innovative new headquarters for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs were developed as the result of a historic £12m investment. Judges commented that any visitor arriving at this flat windswept location in North Antrim will be impressed at the way it melts into the landscape.
On entering the reception area, the mature trees dominating the glass atrium make several bold and comforting statements. This building is part of the landscape and is developed to integrate energy efficiency and sustainability seamlessly.
Appropriately scaled on a 9-acre site and delivered by Edmond Shipway, Hamilton Architects and JH Turkington & Sons, this striking building delivers a real civic presence for the North West along with community engagement and local economic benefit.
The Blossom Children's & Young People Centre, a dedicated paediatric ward at Craigavon Area Hospital, offers a 19-bed inpatient ward, a six-bed ambulatory care ward, outpatient department, treatment rooms, interview room and staff support area.
Delivered by Currie & Brown, Todd Architects and Felix O'Hare, the centre presents an excellent example of design quality. An extensive consultation process with end users delivered not only a functional building but one that provides a comforting environment to facilitate healing and recovery – for example, bedrooms have been designed to incorporate fold down beds, to enable parents to stay overnight with their children.
The building itself, while unimposing, stands out due to its prominent position and striking blue cladding and the courtyard garden provides a sheltered outdoor space for parents to relax with their children while visiting. A very carefully designed building and a model for future paediatric facilities.
Let's Go Hydro, a major new Water Sports and Activity Resort has spectacularly regenerated Knockbracken Reservoir, a former industrial heritage site decommissioned in 2000. Falling with the Lagan Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the design, development and construction of the site was continually assessed to ensure that works were not negatively impacting the local landscape or the existing wildlife.
Delivered by Belfast International Watersports and RMI Architects, this low environmental impact scheme puts Carryduff and Northern Ireland on the map with an almost unique within Europe invigorating outdoor experience including; an Aqua Park with Boathouse Café, a Canoe Polo Park, a Cable Park and a Glampsite for 40 overnight pods. This fantastic new visitor attraction provides for the local community, day trippers, overnight stays and hosting international championships.
Balliniskea Heights residential development was completed for Clanmil Housing Association at Northland Road Derry. Judges praised the social rented apartments and housing scheme for its excellent design and landscaping; the re-use of a former contaminated industrial site for much needed high quality social housing including 22 apartments for the over 55s; the children's play park; and the sense of place and community which has been created.
The project was delivered by Andrew G. Crawford & Company and MJ McBride Construction, with Gregory Architects winning the scheme following a design competition. Judges noted that their attention to high quality detailing and sustainability has been excellent.
Grand Central Hotel evokes the character of the past while encapsulating Belfast's vibrant future as a tourist destination. It stands majestically in Bedford Street as Northern Irelands largest hotel, and the tallest commercial building in Ireland.
The £53m project, delivered by Hood McGowan Kirk, RPP Architects and GRAHAM, involved the transformation of the 1970's office block, Windsor House, into a four-star hotel. The concrete frame of the original office building was used to establish the 23-storey accommodation with 300 bedrooms. The Grand Central Hotel also has a restaurant and roof top bar with stunning views over Belfast along with further restaurant/café facilities highly visible and inviting to passers-by at the ground floor.
RICS Awards showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.
BOOK YOUR PLACE