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Morrison’s Island International Design Competition, Cork

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017

Registered architects, landscape architects and engineers were invited to participate in a design research competition to propose innovative and considered solutions for the renewal of Cork city’s quayside landscape. Participants were asked to engage with other professional disciplines, artists or art organisations, local community groups and citizens as part of their design process.

The purpose of this competition is to unlock opportunity and potential, advance knowledge, and develop collaborative expertise across architecture, engineering and landscape design through integrated design solutions that are specific to Cork city. It is hoped that the outputs of this process will contribute towards the city’s future strategy for the quays. Innovative solutions cannot be generated without informed reference to the past (the working of historic space in Cork and its material quality), combined with due consideration of the needs of the future (climate change, social and economic development).

For the competition participants were asked to:

  • Re-imagine and renew the public space at  Fr. Mathew and Morrison’s Quay in Cork City, Ireland
  • Design a new pedestrian bridge to replace the existing Trinity bridge at Morrison’s Quay
  • Reveal the beauty of the Historic Quays: Fr. Mathew Quay and Morrison’s Quay
  • Enhance and develop the city’s relationship with the river Lee in order promote and encourage riverine activities such as trade, tourism, sport and leisure

Yvonne Farrell – Architect, Grafton  Architects  - Jury Chairperson
James Howley – Conservation Architect, Howley Hayes Architects
Siobhán Ní Éanaigh – Architect, McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects
Tim Lucas – Structural Engineer, Pryce Myers Engineers, UK
Eilís O’ Connell – Artist & Sculptor
Eoin O’ Mahoney – Butcher, The English Market. Client Representative


1st Place
HH+ and Francis Keane Architect

2nd Place
A2 Architects

3rd Place
GKMP Architects

There were 55 registered entries for the Morrison’s Island International Design Competition.  Registered entries were received from the US, Canada, UK, Finland, Norway, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, The United Arab Emirates, Greece and Ireland.

Project Statement from HH+ and Francis Keane Architect

Principally amongst our ambitions will be to create an exciting new waterfront. The method for doing so is understood as a series of clearly legible steps. Through these steps, as set out below, we would like to provide a catalyst for a wider attitude towards the Lee, and close the gap between Cork’s history and it’s aspirations for the future. We have looked for clues from the periods when Cork was most engaged with the river to help inform our approach. Our interventions will occur in the public realm and will belong to the city. In order to bring the quays back into the foreground, our interventions will not be loud and competitive, but binding and regenerative.

(A) Analyse the current situation at a city scale and anticipatefuture routes, amenities and developments.
(B) Reroute vehicular traffic and reduce parking, and thereby improve the environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
(C) Remove timber mooring uprights and salvage for reuse along a new landscaped promenade.
(D) Strip quays back to sound base, to reveal the full quality of the underlying stonework.
(E) Add two new wooden foot bridges to align with key routes.
(F) Celebrate the quay by introducing a new landscaped promenade.
(G) Activate the river and facilitate it’s usage with a new lightweight pavilion.
(H) Suggest opportunities for public art works and other forms of urban nourishment.

A major exhibition will take place in the city in the coming weeks to showcase the entries. As part of the exhibition a book will be launched on the competition. In addition, a Cork filmmaker will premier a short film which documents the history of Morrison’s Island and its significance in the city.


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