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Gilroy McMahon win RIAI Gold Medal for Croke Park Stadium

Published: Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, has today (Tuesday, 7th April) presented the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland’s (RIAI) Gold Medal to the architectural practice Gilroy McMahon. The project for which the medal was presented was Croke Park Stadium.

The Gold Medal, awarded since 1934, is the highest honour in Irish architecture given to a building of exceptional merit. The awards are held three to five years after completion so buildings can be judged in a mature state. The period for this year’s Gold Medal is 2001 – 2003.

Speaking on behalf of the jury that selected Croke Park Stadium, judging panel chair, Joan O’Connor stated:

Croke Park stadium is a landmark in the architectural, historical and cultural landscape of Dublin. It relates well to its neighbours and environment while being an elaborate but delicate signature on the city’s sky-line. Not only does it afford 83,000 visitors full and clear vision of the field of play, it provides a sense of community within its audience and is as impressive when empty as when full to capacity. The secret of the design is in the carefully balanced Y section which elegantly supports the terraces, concourses and the magnificent cantilevered roof.

Accepting the medal on behalf of Gilroy McMahon Architects, Des McMahon stated:

“Croke Park has rewritten the rules for stadium design and is recognised internationally as a superb structure. Its creative design, in a restrained inner city context, creates a communal intimacy for spectators. 

“However architecture should be more than a building, even more than a beautiful building, it can be an agent for something greater. The new stadium has helped reaffirm the historical importance of the GAA as a Gaelic cultural beacon. It is a tribute to the confidence and cultural values of the GAA who, through their generosity in sharing the venue with all sports, have engendered a sense of national ownership and pride.”

Two other architectural practices received commendations from the judging panel, namely ABK Architects for Aras an Chontae, Offaly County Council Civic Offices, Tullamore, Co. Offaly and de Paor Architects Utility Building, Vernon Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin.

The citations for the commended practices read as follows:

Project: Offaly County Council Civic Offices
Architects: ABK Architects

Located in a residential suburb on a magnificent site with a walled garden and mature trees, Aras an Chontae was a pathfinder in the generation of new Civic Offices in Ireland. It is the original “good neighbour,” in its scale and integration with its surroundings. The building is expressed as two volumes. It is an elegant assembly with considerable civic presence which has weathered beautifully and which is expertly and lovingly maintained. The building is a pleasure to visit and to use.

Project: Pumphouse Clontarf
Architects: de Paor Architects

The utilities building was the first phase of a public space design initiative undertaken by Dublin City Council, in association with the RIAI. It replaced an existing, dilapidated structure and replaced it with a complex, three-dimensional, sculptural form which accommodates a pumping station, a maintenance depot for the Council’s Parks Department and a sub-station, each in separate volumes which are inter-twined to give a special form appropriate to its location. The finishes are striking with a marine feeling to the pre-patinated copper shingle finish.  It is a building to be enjoyed in the round as access to its interior is limited.

Speaking in relation to the awards, RIAI President, Sean O’Laoire stated:

“The standard of the projects considered for the Gold Medal was exceptional.  It is proof positive that Irish architects are among the most innovative and talented in Europe. 

“The projects shortlisted for the Gold Medal award have all developed into focal points of the local community.  They clearly demonstrate how architecture not only produces significant individual buildings, but also makes an enormous contribution to the wider community by providing an engaging, attractive and accessible resource.  By promoting and producing high quality buildings, architects are making a very tangible contribution to the social, economic and cultural life of the country.” concluded O’Laoire.

Categories: Awards | Press Releases


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