Westport housing project shortlisted for prestigious medal

The shortlist for the prestigious RIAI Silver Medal for Housing was announced this week and includes Cluain Padraig Housing in Westport. Designed by Galway based architecture practice, Simon J Kelly and Partners, Cluain Padraig is one of five housing projects shortlisted for the Biennial Silver Medal, the RIAI’s premier housing award which encourages and celebrates excellence of design in housing.

The Cluain Padraig houses feature many sustainable features. The houses were deliberately oriented to make the most of natural light, which can help reduce heating bills while simultaneously reducing the carbon footprint of the residents. Such features also help residents enjoy whatever sunlight there is. One resident noted: “Even on dark, wet days, and we have a lot of them in the west, our home is bright and feels airy.”

Another important design feature that helped the entry stand out for the judges was that the architects created “lifetime” homes, houses that can grow to meet a family’s changing needs as they may expand, welcome an elderly relative, or work from home. One way that this scheme meets this need is by providing spaces such as attics that are ready to be expanded if necessary.

Cluain Padraig is one of five shortlisted projects that were all completed during 2005 and 2006, showcasing the diversity of housing design that exists around the country. While the five projects are designed for a variety of users and at a range of densities in various site conditions all are characterised by a deep understanding of user requirements.

According to the chair of the judging panel and previous Silver Medal recipient Derek Tynan: “All of the shortlisted houses are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable and demonstrate the benefits of architectural design in delivering quality housing and environments.”

In order to make the shortlist, all of the projects were visited by the jury enabling them to review them in their settled position. The jury assessed each project to see if it stood the test of time in terms of client use and construction.

The winner of the prestigious Silver Medal will be announced at the National Housing Conference in Sligo on Monday April 27.

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