The RIAI has announced International Rugby Experience, by Níall McLaughlin Architects, as the winner of the Public Choice category at the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2023.
International Rugby Experience faced considerable competition from a shortlist of 53 projects. This year shortlisted entrants were located across the length and breadth of the country in Belfast, Carlow, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Down, Dublin, Kildare, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Waterford and Wicklow, as well as internationally in London and Lesotho.
All of the projects on the shortlist were designed by Registered Architects based in Ireland and completed in 2022 and selected for the shortlist by the RIAI Awards Jury who visited the projects.
Winning first place, the International Rugby Experience by Níall McLaughlin Architects – entered into the Cultural and Public Buildings category – is a new cultural institution and visitor experience to celebrate the worldwide game of rugby. Located in the heart of Limerick, this ambitious project seeks to reinvigorate the city centre, complement the existing local arts and heritage attractions and forge links with Muster rugby. Its contribution as a cultural and public building breathes new life into the city.
Occupying a prominent corner, it has a strong civic presence and a quality akin to a city hall, library or gallery. The façades are given a sculptural quality through the articulation of vertical brick piers and the façade bay proportions complement the Georgian streetscape. Its scale successfully addresses both the immediate, local context, while also announcing itself to the wider city. Almost ‘gothic’ in nature, the building form is beautifully proportioned with red brick and precast concrete elements articulating the façade. It is robust, yet extremely elegant and light. The dramatic public hall at the top floor is a real success. Truly a cathedral to celebrate world rugby!