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35th Annual Awards (2017)

Building Category and Overall Winner

Winner:St. Angela’s College, Cork
Project Client: Department of Education and Skills
Project Architect: O’Donnell + Tuomey
Project Engineer: Malachy Walsh and Partners
Project Contractor: L&M Keating
Major Suppliers: Lagan Concrete / Claramore Construction

The internal walls and ceilings in this building are predominantly fair faced exposed concrete. That might conjure up a cold and dark environment in many minds. Yet the head of the establishment is quoted as saying that “……the building is a pleasure to come in to. There is fun in the design. Light fills the corridors. … there are lovely social spaces.” The 18m level difference between the top and the bottom of the site has resulted in a linked series of buildings which the architects liken to a “hill town”.

The architects’ and engineers’ choice for exposed internal structure was insitu concrete made with local limestone and cement chosen to give a light colour, while the other common local rock – red sandstone - was used for external paths and paving. The exposed concrete quality is uniformly smooth and consistent. Formwork joints intersection and shutter tie locations are all planned and executed in exemplary manner. Even a 9m high wall single pour was kept to that standard.”

Infrastructure Award

Winner:Newlands Cross Flyover, Dublin
Project Client: NRA / TII
Project Engineer: ARUP / RPS / Mott MacDonald
Project Contractor: BAM Contractors
Major Suppliers: Shay Murtagh Precast / Paul Mulcair Ltd / Roadstone

It would be hard to find another project where the brief required the contractor to deal with the passage of 80,000 vehicles per day through the construction area. Provision of traffic routes alongside and through the building works was a complex and noteworthy exercise in itself. 1300 limestone faced precast concrete panels faced are anchored back into the embankments (in the “Reinforced Earth” system). They were used on either side of the raised roadway, where more conventional site cast concrete retaining walls would have served the same function but taken much longer to build.

Two 28m spans of precast concrete bridge beams carry the 6 lane N7 over the R113 Fonthill / Belgard Road crossing. Precast concrete beams weighing 52 tons support the span beams on the columns of the central island below. Concrete finishes throughout are excellent.

Elemental Category

Winner:Feature Stairs and Gallery, Donegal
Project Client: Private
Project Architect: Michael McBride Architectural Services
Project Engineer: Carr & Company Civil Engineers
Project Contractor: Denis Diver
Major Suppliers: Muckish Sand & Gravel / Noel & Stanley Tease

Concrete because of its initially fluid nature can be shaped into a myriad of forms. Most could be termed mundane or practical, others can be indulgent. The element in question is in the Jury’s opinion a delightful blend of the two. Its shape is a testament to the imagination of its architect, and to the man from Tory Island whose custom-made formwork brought the design into three-dimensional reality. Additional skills were brought to bear in producing finished concrete so white and polished that it is initially hard to believe it is in fact concrete. Structurally the analysis of the element’s ability to carry load is complex, and it is no surprise that the engineer load tested it to check deflection.

5th International Award

Winner:Victoria Gate, Leeds
Major Suppliers: Techrete

For its use of modern technology in the design process, and BIM 3D software to direct the CNC cutting machines for mould-making, for the achievement of the highest standards in quality control and production of each of the individual units, for the novel and innovative method of transporting and handling theses unique precast units, coupled with the difficult onsite installation process, and for delivering an outstanding end-product for a marquee and high-profile Client.

Sean de Courcy Student Award

Winner:John Reddy, Queen’s University Belfast for Thermal Activation of Low Carbon Precast Concrete

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