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€100k House Design Competition Announced by Minister Damien English

Published: Monday, September 26, 2016

Minister Damian English -

Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal - Mr. Damien English, T.D.


Mr. Damien English, T.D., Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, announced at the 85th National Ploughing Championships on Tuesday, 20 September 2016, that he is to provide €100,000 in prize money to support a Smart Ageing design challenge to demonstrate innovation in the design and delivery of housing solutions for older people.

The recently published policy statement Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness sets out a practical and readily implementable set of actions that aim to increase annual housing supply to 25,000 units per annum by 2020, thereby creating a functioning and sustainable housing system.  As the number one priority for Government, the Action Plan is underpinned by some €5.35 billion in funding over its lifetime and will support the delivery of 47,000 units of social housing by the end of 2021.

In addition to the more high profile actions aimed at the accelerated delivery of quality housing and supporting a more responsive housing market, Pillar 2 of Rebuilding Ireland contains specific commitments to meet the housing needs of the vulnerable, which includes older people.

Adaptable and smart homes will be the future in the developed world with advantages from saving energy to creating homes suitable for a lifetime.  An opportunity now exists to develop the know-how and commercialise the knowledge of smart ageing adaptation to support assisted living for older people in their homes” said Minister English speaking at the ploughing championships.

In this context, Action 2.19 of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness sets out a commitment to support a design challenge, focusing on three distinct areas: -

  • smart technologies in housing for older people;
  • adaptation of existing houses to meet the needs of older people; and
  • life-time communities.

To develop and oversee the roll-out of the design challenge, a Steering Group is being established comprising representatives from: 

  • the Department;
  • the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design;
  • the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland; and
  • the Construction Industry Federation.

It is intended that the Steering Group will hold its first meeting in early October to elaborate on the competition brief which will aim to stimulate, and support collaboration among, the design, construction and technology sectors to be innovative in providing solutions for older people within our build environment.  In this regard, the challenge will be inclusive of anyone with an idea which is feasible, cost effective and has potential for mainstreaming into the future.  It is intended that the competition will be open to applicants early in the new year.

The Government and I have made it our number one priority to resolve the housing and homelessness crisis and under Rebuilding Ireland we have set out a broadly based and comprehensive set of actions to do just that” said Minister English adding that the “Homes for Smart Ageing: A Universal Design Challenge is a small but key element of the Rebuilding Ireland solution.”

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