A Castlebar architecture firm has won a prestigious national award for its design of a university building in Galway which was also named as the Most Environmentally Sustainable Project 2012.
The new School of Engineering at NUI Galway designed by Taylor architects, Castlebar, was announced as the winner of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland Public Choice Award on the flagship RTE radio Morning Ireland show recently, with interviews conducted with Niall Taylor, architect, and John Graby, RIAI director.
The Public Choice Award is the most prestigious annual award issued by the RIAI and represents the public’s favourite building of 2012. Taylor architects beat almost 150 other entries of both national and international projects to achieve the accolade.
The new school of engineering represented a major investment for NUI Galway in a 14,500sq metre building, making it the largest engineering school in Ireland and consolidating the engineering disciplines from 14 dispersed locations into one building.
The building is designed as a ‘Tool for Learning’, where parts of the structure which are traditionally covered up, are left open for students to see, including foundations, columns, piling caps, wires, electrical boards, etc. In addition, the designers have located sensor throughout the building which constantly relay ‘live’ data on structural strain, energy consumption, the effect of temperature, weather, and environment effects and all of this data is provided to a central hub which can be accessed by students for research projects or teaching staff for learning modules.
The building utilises the latest technologies in environmental innovation including climate wall, earth ducts, bio mass, green roof, solar, and water reharvesting. The project value was €40 million and the building was completed on time and in budget by BAM building contractors.
Speaking on Morning Ireland at the announcement of the award, Niall Taylor of Taylor architects, described the award as “a good day for architecture in the west ”.
Taylor architects was the first private architectural practice in County Mayo and was established by the late Sean Taylor on Main Street, Castlebar, in 1966.
The practice has been involved in some of the largest building projects in the west of Ireland and its team have been design team leaders on Mayo General Hospital, GMIT, Volex, Baxter Healthcare, and others. More recent projects in Castlebar include Davitt College extension and sports hall, Mayo Education Centre, Business Innovation Unit GMIT, Mayo county Library HQ, commercial developments at Hopkins Road (Argos ), Lannagh Road (NEXT ), Spencer Street (old cinema site, McDermott’s ), Rush Street (old Kingsbridge site ), and Shamble Street ( Heneghans Health Food ).
Taylor architects was the first carbon neutral architectural practice in the Republic of Ireland and led the architectural profession in achieving ISO accreditation in 1996. It is also an RIAI accredited conservation practice.
The practice currently employs 25 people and continues to develop with projects such as a €45 million euro expansion at St Patrick’s teacher training college, Drumcondra; a new research building at Institute of Technology, Tallaght, and clients such as Hollister and Allergan Pharmaceuticals. It has recently been appointed consultant on two large school projects for County Cork VEC in conjunction with Wilson architecture, and will commence on site with a number of multi million euro school projects in Mayo and Galway in 2012.
The practice continues to carry out work at all levels and scale, and has just completed projects such as a two classroom extension to Scoil Raifteri, Castlebar, a three classroom extension to St Gerald’s College Castlebar, and a single classroom extension to Parke National School, as well as private and one off residential projects.