Winners of Cork Better Building Awards
Cork Business Association and Cork City Council have announced the winners of the 2016 Cork Better Building Awards. Honouring the best Buildings and businesses in Cork Cork News
The awards honour the best-designed and best-kept buildings in Cork City and suburbs, and are aimed at rewarding businesses and building care-takers for their efforts to protect, enhance and improve the city’s street scape. This significantly contributes to a public perception of the city as a vibrant and dynamic place to live, visit, invest and do business in.
The Cork Better Building Awards were presented by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Fergal Dennehy and President of Cork Business Association Pat O Connell, at alunch in The River Lee Hotel on Friday November 11. Neil Prendeville from Red FM was MC on the day.
The winners of the awards were:
Best in Retail: Superdry
This was one of the most competitive categories with over 45 entries, so the judges decided to award a Special Merit Award to Superdry. Superdry shows how a successful outcome can be reached by integrating the needs of a modern, international, clothes store with the preservation of an historic building and shopfront on Cork’s main shopping street and destination; St. Patrick’s Street. The original bronze shopfront, dating from 1935, has been carefully restored with its floral plaques, round-headed, central pediment with ‘The Moderne’ written in serif lettering, presenting a unique frontage onto the street.
Best in Retail winner: Keanes Jewellers
Keane’s Jewellers on Oliver Plunkett Street is a late-Victorian, highly distinctive building with elaborate stucco work to the upper floors, decorative cast iron railings to the first floor cill level and intact, original, timber shopfront all maintained to an incredibly high standard. While its ground floor fenestration and entrance openings have been updated, it presents a vibrant and highly attractive shopfront onto Oliver Plunkett Street, winner of the Academy of Urbanism’s Great Street Award 2016.
Best in Pub: Dan Lowreys
Dan Lowreys, which was formerly a house built c. 1840, entices the customer to experience its delightful interior, by presenting a vibrant, welcoming frontage onto MacCurtain Street. Its shopfront retains parts of its late nineteenth-century construction including moulded pilasters with ornate capitals, cornice, fixed timber window, timber panelled door and leaded glass toplight. Its use of signage is tastefully executed, making this a wonderful asset to the Victorian Quarter.
Best in Café /Restaurant: Curran’s Restaurant
Curran’s restaurant makes a hugely, positive contribution to this part of the city centre, providing much needed activity to Adelaide Street. With the subtle tones of its paintwork and shopfront, it provides an attractive and tasteful addition to the street. It helps to draw activity to this part of the historic core and welcomes people to the area to experience the culinary delights of Cork’s food sector.
Best in Heritage & Conservation: Matt Fallon
Recent restoration work to the building has resulted in exposition of the original brickwork and stonework to the ground floor of this prominent commercial building at the corner of South Mall and Grand Parade. By carefully removing the paintwork, properly presenting the original materials to the exterior of the building and integrating more subtle signage, Matt Fallon’s is an example of how good conservation work can display our heritage assets at their best.
Best Commercial Business Frontage (Excluding Retail): AIB North Main Street
The AIB North Main Street, consisting of two, former, terraced houses dating from the nineteenth century; shows how well-painted and tastefully presented buildings can help rejuvenate and bring life to a street which has suffered as a result of vacancy and dereliction in recent years. North Main Street is located at the heart of the historic core of Cork City and the AIB forms part of the vital, commercial sector which is the lifeblood of the street. The building is enhanced by the retention of interested features and materials such as the timber sliding sash windows.
Best New Development: One Albert Quay
One Albert Quay, ‘Ireland’s Smartest Building’, presents a sleek, new feature-building at a prominent, corner site located between the City Centre and the Docklands. The six storey building (rising to seven at the corner, adjacent to Eamon De Valera Bridge), uses its mainly glazed facade to reflect the river and surrounding cityscape, enhancing the experience of the building when viewed from the street. It is a particularly welcome addition to Cork following regeneration of a brownfield site with the memory of former warehouses reflected in the stone wall constructed along the western side, adjacent to Albert Quay House. It acts as a successful transition zone between the scale of the 18th century city centre and proposed, new 21st century development in the Docklands.
Best in Tourism, Arts & Accommodation: The Imperial Hotel
The Imperial Hotel embraces its 200-year old history, with well-maintained and tastefully presented facades, while providing a welcoming, vibrant tourist and leisure destination to the heart of the City Centre. A true icon, with its former guests including Michael Collins, who spent his last night in the hotel, Maria Edgeworth, Sir Walter Scott, Liszt and George Best; the Imperial Hotel shows how careful refurbishment and investment in street frontages along South Mall and Pembroke Street can improve interaction with the street and encourage other property owners to repair and rejuvenate the many heritage buildings adjacent.
Judges Choice: Alchemy Café & Bookstore
Alchemy was chosen for the Judge’s Choice award because of the successful and unique way it brings life and activity to Barrack Street, which is a street in need of further rejuvenation and upgrading. This area has huge potential for further development as a tourist destination (with Elizabeth Fort and St. Finbarre’s Cathedral on its doorstep), as a vibrant residential neighbourhood and a service area for people living, visiting and working in the area. Alchemy, with its attractive and lively shopfront and superb use of artwork, proves that a successful business can operate in and help bring new life to an area of the city in need of regeneration.
Speaking at the awards, Pat O’Connell, President of Cork Business Association, said, “I would like to sincerely congratulate all of our winners on their well-deserved awards. We are delighted to once again work in partnership with Cork City Council and the Evening Echo on these awards, which are incredibly important for the city. We sometimes forget what a beautiful city Cork is and how rich and diverse our architectural offering is”.
“The Awards are a fantastic opportunity to encourage businesses to improve their facades and the overall look of the city’s street-scape. Much of the attention of the awards is on the maintenance and simple good housekeeping of buildings – painting and cleaning, planting and enhancements – ways that will make the very best of the building. The exterior of a building is one of its biggest selling tools, so we are encouraging everyone to have pride in their buildings – it’s an investment in ourselves that can offer genuine rewards – not least of which is a sense of pride of place.”
Also commenting, Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Fergal Dennehy, said, “Cork City Council recognises the importance of the city centre to the social economic and cultural life of the Cork area and considers that the efforts of many property owners to maintain and develop their premises should be acknowledged and rewarded. We need to keep the look of our building to a high standard and, in doing so, highlight Cork as a fantastic place to shop, work and live.”
The awards are run by Cork Business Association and sponsored by Cork City Council and The Evening Echo. The judging panel includes Lawrence Owens, CEO Cork Business Association, Ann Bogan, Senior Planner Cork City Council, Eoghan Ryan, Reimagine Cork, Eoin Kennedy, Zone Digital, and Alan Healy, The Evening Echo.
Entries will reopen next summer for 2017 awards.
For more see www.corkbusiness.ie.
2016 Cork Better Building Awards