• 30 Nov 2023

Rupert Maddock of Waterford City and County Council Awarded Gandon Medal for Lifetime Achievement 2023

The RIAI has today awarded the Gandon Medal of Lifetime Achievement in Architecture to Rupert Maddock of Waterford City and County Council. The Gandon Medal is the highest personal award given to an Architect in Ireland.

Rupert Maddock from Waterford City and County Council was honored with the Gandon Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2023 on 30 November at the RIAI. Photo Conor Healy 
Rupert Maddock from Waterford City and County Council was honored with the Gandon Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2023 on 30 November at the RIAI. Photo Conor Healy 

Rupert Maddock studied at the School of Architecture at UCD and joined Waterford City Council in 1997. He has led the urban regeneration of Waterford in his 25 years working for Waterford City and Council, taking many derelict and vacant sites and transforming them into places for people in the form of pedestrian-friendly spaces, museums and gardens.

During this time, Mr. Maddock has overseen the transformation of 76% of the public realm in Waterford’s historic city into a pedestrian priority city with a well-designed and universally accessible shared public realm. These include Barronstrand Street, Henrietta Street, O’Connell Street, John Robert’s Square, Cathedral Square and the Apple Market. Smaller public spaces with historic signage include Reginald’s Tower and Greyfriars Church. At the Bishop’s Palace, a former carpark is now a popular public garden. High-quality urban design plans are also currently underway for Waterford’s South Quays.

Rupert was also responsible for the repair and adaptation of many of Waterford’s historic buildings, ensuring their survival by identifying new complementary uses. A key move in the urban regeneration and cultural renaissance of Waterford City, led by Rupert and his team, was the relocation of Waterford Crystal into the heart of the Viking Quarter.

The RIAI Gandon Medal is awarded by the RIAI every two years to an Irish Architect for their contribution to architecture and the built environment.

Speaking at the event, RIAI President Charlotte Sheridan said:


The RIAI Gandon Medal is the highest personal honour in Irish architecture, being awarded for a lifetime’s contribution to the advancement of architecture. I am delighted to be awarding Rupert Maddock the RIAI Gandon Medal in recognition of his exceptional achievement in public practice, and the role he played in revitalising Waterford city, towns, and villages in the county. Rupert truly demonstrates the value of an architect working within public service, applying strategic thinking while also achieving tangible results at a local level, and ultimately taking the responsibility of our role as architects, making a better place for society.“


Receiving the award, Rupert Maddock said:


“I am enormously proud to receive the Gandon Medal in recognition of a lifetime’s work. I think this award reflects the ongoing commitment of Waterford City & County Council to the regeneration of Waterford City’s public realm, and the re-imagining of its historic city core to create the Viking Triangle, Museum Quarter and John Roberts Square. St Mark’s Square in Venice was referred to by Napoleon as the ‘drawing room of Europe’ – and every city and town should have its own spaces where all can meet, mingle, and become venues for lively events. It is also an affirmation of the role of architects and creativity within the public sector.’

In a special message, the Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council, Michael Walsh said:

“Rupert Maddock’s contribution to Waterford  over the last 25 years has been phenomenal. He brought consistency, creativity and innovation to our public realm, landmark buildings and public buildings around the city. The award is truly deserved.”

About Rupert Maddock

Rupert Maddock graduated from the School of Architecture at UCD in 1981 (BArch 1981). He subsequently studied for a Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Making the US his home for the 10 years, he worked for several leading practices there.

Following his return to Ireland in 1991, Rupert began his distinguished career as a public sector Architect. He first joined Cork City Council under the dynamic City Architect Neil Hegarty FRIAI, whom he describes as a “great mentor and influence”, especially Neil’s skill in building a great team to deliver housing projects across the city. From Cork, Rupert went to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council where he worked on several housing projects.

He describes his move to Waterford City Council in 1997 as a “welcome challenge”: “The city centre was not attractive then, there were lots of issues but there was also great potential, and this excited me”.

For their work, Rupert and his team have won many national and international awards including:

  • Academy of Urbanism Award for the Viking Triangle
  • Nominee in the EU Mies Award for Contemporary Architecture
  • RIAI Award for Waterford Medieval Museum
  • UK Stone Federation Award for Waterford Medieval Museum, Best Contemporary Façade
  • The Chicago Athenaeum - The International Architecture Award
  • LAMA Award for the Best Heritage Project and the Best Public Building
  • The International UK Civic Trust Award
  • Irish Planning Institute, Best Public Realm Award for John Roberts Square 2000
  • Waterford Best Place to Live Award 2021 – Waterford’s Public Realm was specifically mentioned

About the RIAI 

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) supports and regulates the architectural profession and promotes the value that architecture brings to society for everyone’s benefit. We work to ensure high standards for consumer protection and have over 3,300 Registered Architects in Ireland.

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For further information, please contact:

Saara Nevala-Bergin, Drury – 089 608 0927, saara.nevala-bergin@drury.ie
Dr. Sandra O’Connell, Director of Communications, RIAI – 087 279 1612, soconnell@riai.ie