• 26 Jan 2023

“Town Centre Living” Architectural Design Competitions launched by Minister O’Brien and RIAI

Architectural Competition seeks innovative design solutions for creating high-quality homes in town-centre locations

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, and the President of The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, Charlotte Sheridan, today launched the 'Town Centre Living’ Architectural Design Competition for the design of four social housing schemes, with one in each of four town centre sites across the country.

The competition aims to encourage innovative design for social housing within town centres and progress the Government’s Town Centre First policy’s objectives of compact growth and town-centre revitalisation. The competition also seeks to encourage more architectural firms to compete for social housing design projects.  

Following an open invitation to, and close liaison with local authorities, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) has selected four town-centre sites that will each have a separate social housing design competition. All four competitions will run concurrently. The winning architectural practice for each competition will, in addition to prize money, be awarded the design commission for the project. The winning proposals will be progressed by the various local authorities as live projects funded by DHLGH, through to construction and delivery.

The sites are at:

  • Kildare Town, Co. Kildare
  • Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
  • Sligo Town, Co. Sligo
  • Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan

Photo caption: Charlotte Sheridan, RIAI President, and Darragh O’Brien, Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, are joined by Local Authority representatives Liam Ryan, Lorcan MacCinna, David Creighton, Jim Molloy, and Terry Cosgrove at the launch of the Town Centre Living Architectural Design Competitions. The architectural competitions for four towns seek innovative design solutions for creating high-quality homes in town-centre locations.

“I’m delighted to launch this housing competition today which will promote high-quality social housing design and support the Government’s Town Centre First approach which strives to make our town centres vibrant places in which to live, work and visit, with increased housing at the heart of that offering.

“Promoting town centre living close to existing infrastructure and services supports our national action endeavours against climate change. I want to thank all in my department, the RIAI and the local authorities for organising this competition and I encourage architectural practices across the country to compete and submit exciting new ideas for the design of social housing in Ireland.”

― Launching the competition today, Minister O’Brien said:

“The RIAI are pleased to be working with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to deliver the Town Centre Living Competitions with four town-centre sites to be developed around the country. We know that competitions are excellent for fostering innovation and identifying real-world solutions which can deliver tangible change. Architectural competitions are a demonstration of the profession’s commitment to innovation and are assessed on design quality. Ireland’s new National Policy on Architecture, Places for People, further highlights the important role that Architectural Design Competitions play in setting a quality agenda for our built environment. When developed, these four sites will provide quality homes close to amenities and services, thereby also contributing to sustainable living and climate action change.”

― The President of The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, Charlotte Sheridan, said:

In February 2022, the Government launched Town Centre First, a major new policy that aims to tackle vacancy, combat dereliction and breathe new life into our town centres. The policy is underpinned by multi-billion euro investment spread across major Government schemes such as the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, Croí Conaithe (Towns) Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. The policy contains 33 unique actions which will give our towns the tools and resources they need to become more viable and attractive places in which to live, work, visit and run a business. Housing for All, the Government’s housing plan to 2030, committed to publishing the policy.

The winners of the competitions are expected to be announced during Quarter 2 2023.

The Juries for the Town Centre Living Competitions will be as follows:


Valerie Mulvin FRIAI (Chair)

Paul Altman MRIAI, Senior Advisor DHLGH

Lorcan MacCinna Senior Engineer Monaghan County Council


Derek Tynan FRIAI (Chair)

Joan MacMahon MRIAI Senior Advisor DHLGH

Seán Martin MRIAI Senior Architect Sligo County Council


Miriam Delaney MRIAI (Chair)

Gareth Williams MRIAI Architect Advisor DHLGH

David Creighton MRIAI Senior Architect Kildare County Council


Orla Murphy MRIAI (Chair)

John Martin MRIAI Architect Advisor DHLGH

Liam Ryan MRIAI Senior Executive Architect Tipperary County Council


More information on the competition can be found here.


For media requests with RIAI President Charlotte Sheridan, please contact: Kelly French, Drury Kelly.French@drury.ie / 0833209740.