Architectural Pavilion Competition Winner Announced

22 November 2016
The Royal Society of Ulster Architects [RSUA] along with JP Corry, announced the winner of a competition for young architects to design an architectural pavilion for Belfast around the theme of ‘comfort’.
The RSUA & JP Corry Multi-Comfort Pavilion Design Competition 2016 was established to provide local architects under the age of 40 with an opportunity to showcase their creativity and talent.
Entrants were invited to design a unique, semi-permanent pavilion for Belfast, designed around the theme of ‘comfort’, and to be situated in a busy public place in Belfast, for example, Belfast City Hall, Botanic Gardens or Titanic Quarter. Applicants also had to demonstrate three of the possible five multi-comfort pillars: thermal, audio, visual, indoor air and economic comfort.
The overall winner for 2016 was Aileen McConaghie, and her pavilion design at Botanic Gardens, Belfast. The award – a luxury weekend away to London for two, a West End show and a visit to the Saint-Gobain Innovation Centre – was presented to Aileen by honorary RSUA member, broadcaster and designer, Kevin McCloud at Architecture Night 2016 last Friday evening.
Commenting on the competition, Ciarán Fox, Director of RSUA, said: “I wish to convey my congratulations to Aileen on her winning design. Aileen took an innovative approach in her concept, whereby instead of adapting the environment to meeting our expectations of comfort, she suggests that we adapt ourselves to the environment. 
“The Pavilion Design Competition provided local young architects with the platform to unleash their creativity and to showcase their talent. With Belfast being the only city across Ireland to have been accepted into the worldwide 100 Resilient Cities Network, we thought it would be fitting for the competition to help explore the role of the city’s built environment in addressing climate change.”
JP Corry (Ireland) Managing Director, Ciaran McConnell, added: “With buildings accounting for 40% of carbon dioxide emissions in Ireland and the UK, the challenge for architects was to create a low energy structure that provided an attractive, inspiring and joyful environment; to create a place where people want to be. The Saint-Gobain Multi-Comfort building is a wonderful example of how these issues can be addressed, with The Pavilion Design Competition representing a unique opportunity to explore these challenges in an innovative way.  
The judging panel, which consisted of Paul Crowe of Todd Architects (RSUA President), Joan McCoy of White Ink Architects (RSUA Vice-President), Stephen Moon of McGarry-Moon Architects and Chris McComb of JP Corry announced the five finalists as Aileen McConaghie, Hayden Allen, Adam Joyce, Jonathan Gannon and Tara McCloskey.
RSUA President, Paul Crowe, commented: “The competition was inspired by the annual Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Hyde Park and the success of the Yellow Pavilion in Kings Cross last year which was designed by Belfast practice Hall McKnight as part of an international programme of events to showcase Irish design talent. 
“The Multi-Comfort Pavilion Design Competition is a great example of the opportunities that the RSUA is creating for up and coming, young architects who are making a name for themselves, and we hope that next year we will be able to source sufficient funding support to enable the construction of the winning design.”
Kevin McCloud, who was admitted as an honorary member of the RSUA at Architecture Night, commented: “I am very privileged to be honoured in this way by the RSUA, having long admired the output that comes from architects in Northern Ireland every year.  It’s clear to see that the province really punches above its weight in terms of architecture, and that the profession is richly talented here.
“I am also encouraged by RSUA initiatives such as Architecture Night, to highlight the important contribution that architecture makes to culture, heritage, tourism, the economy and wider society in Northern Ireland.”
Architecture Night was held in the recently decommissioned, former Belfast Telegraph Print Works on Royal Avenue. Along with a showcase of local architecture, guests were treated to food, drink and live music by Duke Special, as well as the BBC’s Mark Simpson as presenter.
Whilst there aren’t plans in place in the current year for the winning design to be constructed, the competition acts as a catalyst for the future inclusion of architectural pavilions in the physical and cultural landscape of Northern Ireland.