Excellence in concrete design and construction was celebrated at this year’s Irish Concrete Society’s awards evening, which took place recently in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin 4. This was the 37th annual awards evening and the event is always one of the highlights of the construction industry’s calendar, with 280 attending. The awards recognise excellence in both design and construction in concrete and are adjudicated by a distinguished, independent jury of industry professionals. [caption id="attachment_49323" align="alignright" width="300"] O'Donnel Tuomey Architects of UCC bridge winning project. Photo: Jed Niezgoda[/caption] The main awards jury reviewed a total of 25 projects nominated in three categories of main awards - Element, Infrastructure and Building. There were also nine projects nominated for the 7th International Award, which is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland. In addition, the winner of the annual Séan de Courcy Student Award was announced. Chairman Eamon Booth said: “Since its inauguration in 1977 our awards evening has become a highlight of the construction industry calendar and the awards themselves are widely recognised for the exceptional quality standards and levels of excellence they represent, in concrete design and execution. "This year, we received an exceptional standard of nominations across all of the various categories and I commend all the entrants for the skill, ingenuity and resourcefulness on display in the array of outstanding projects that are showcased in the competition.”

The main awards

The main awards jury consisted of Karen McEvoy (Bucholtz McEvoy Architects), Des Mulcair (Roadbridge) and Jerome O’Brien (JB Barry and Partners). Element Category and Overall Winner: Perrott’s Inch Bridge, UCC, Cork. Chosen from a total of nine element category entries and 25 entries for overall award. [caption id="attachment_49330" align="alignright" width="300"] Element Category and Overall Winner: Perrott’s Inch Bridge, UCC, Co Cork.[/caption] Jury quote: “Great care and consideration has been given to the crafting of the abutments of this bridge, a delightful addition to the banks of the Lee, facilitating pedestrian connectivity across the river within the UCC campus. “The plasticity of concrete has been used to great advantage to sculpt elegant forms in the differing conditions at each side of the bridge, on one side seamlessly offering universal access in a 20m long ramped form, simultaneously offering a place to sit, while on the other integrating playful parabolic arches sitting in the floodplain below. [caption id="attachment_49332" align="alignright" width="300"] Element Category and Overall Winner: Perrott’s Inch Bridge, UCC, Co Cork.[/caption] “The inherent materiality of concrete is explored and made manifest in a variety of excellently executed finishes, their respective locations carefully considered with regard to how users will interface with the concrete (ground and slip resistant underfoot, polished where the human hand will pass over it).” Project client: University College Cork Project architect: O’Donnell + Tuomey Project engineer: Horganlynch Consulting Engineers Project contractor: Keating Major supplier: Kilsaran/Palmira Infrastructure Category Winner: UBC 43A Osberstown Underbridge, Co Kildare. Chosen from a total of five projects entered. [caption id="attachment_49333" align="alignright" width="300"] Infrastructure Category Winner: UBC 43A Osberstown Underbridge, Co Kildare.[/caption] Jury quote: “The designers and contractors of the winning project in this category were presented with a challenging logistical problem - how to construct a new road bridge under an existing busy rail line which could only be closed for a short period. "The judges were impressed with the near unique solution of bespoke large scale interlocking precast concrete U sections which were installed quickly in the challenging time frame, and resulted in a robust, durable structure with excellent finishes. "The feasibility of erecting the precast concrete structure was tested by constructing a scale timber model which was used to perfect the erection sequence.” Project client: Kildare County Council Project architect: Iarnód Éireann Project engineer: Iarnód Éireann Project contractor: John Sisk and Son Major supplier: RAPS Construction/Hanlon Concrete Building Category winner: Cliffs of Moher Coach Park Reception Building. Chosen from a total of 11 entries. Jury quote: “In the sensitive landscape along the coast of Clare to which visitors flock to view the Cliffs of Moher, this project seeks to minimise its visual impact on the setting, creating a sunken enclosure of concrete, incorporating reception facilities for the various coach companies serving the site. "Concrete is cleverly used to hold back the earth enabling the necessary accommodation to be concealed in a mounded form. Benefiting from the inherent strength, robustness and resilience of concrete, its comprehensive use seems particularly appropriate here. [caption id="attachment_49334" align="alignright" width="300"] The Cliffs of Moher coach reception facility.[/caption] "Carefully detailed fair-faced concrete is used extensively in the floors, walls and ceilings both internally and externally, treated with various finishes from exposed aggregate to highly polished, according to its location. "Artificial lighting is hidden in niches carved out of the concrete, whilst canted sky windows are crafted to allow daylight into the concealed interior.” Project client: Clare County Council Project architect: Denis Byrne Architects Project engineer: Bakkala Consulting Engineers Project contractor: Keating Major supplier: Ryan Bros.(Ennis) now part of Roadstone [caption id="attachment_49337" align="alignright" width="192"] Lombard Wharf, Battersea, London.[/caption] Winner of 7th International Award Techrete for 'Lombard Wharf, Battersea, London' An award, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, that recognises Irish companies who export product or service off the island of Ireland. The award reflects the continued emphasis on export for Irish construction. The jury included David Clarke of Moloney O’Beirne Architects, Ed Hanlon, engineer, and Donal Byrne from Enterprise Ireland. Chosen from a total of nine entries. Jury quote: “This curved landmark building is situated on a prominent location overlooking the Thames in Battersea. Designed by Patel Taylor and constructed by Barratt Homes, the building appears to twist as it rises through 28 storeys. "The precast concrete balconies wrap around three sides of the building, creating a carved stone effect and contributing hugely to the aesthetic quality of the project. "The structural precast concrete balconies, which were dropped into position as the building went up, required continuous collaboration between the architect, builder and precast concrete manufacturer to achieve the desired effect.” Project client: Lombard Wharf, Battersea, London Irish export company: Techrete Séan deCourcy Student Award This is an annual award given to the best final year project on a concrete related topic from the engineering faculties of third level colleges. [caption id="attachment_49336" align="alignright" width="300"] The Séan de Courcy Student Award.[/caption] The award is named after the late Professor Séan deCourcy, an inspirational professor for many years at UCD, a former chairman of the Irish Concrete Society, an author and historian of note. Winner: Cormac Mac Murchú (Cork Institute of Technology) Project title: Prestressed Concrete – Numerical optimisation of design, economy and sustainability