The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Office of Public Works (OPW) today announced the winning architect of the competition to design a new commemorative bridge at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Dublin.
The design competition was launched in November 2018 and submissions were received from 61 architectural practices from 9 countries, including Ireland, UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Hong Kong and USA.
The winning design is by Ian Ritchie Architects. Based in London, this is Ian Ritchie’s second major competition win in Ireland, having previously designed the Spire of Dublin to mark the Millennium. The winning bridge design was described by the judges as “a simple and elegant way of stepping from one side of the Liffey to the other. A slender blade of stainless steel leaps from the reeds and rushes to cross over the river”. Ian Ritchie Architects will receive a prize of €15,000 for the winning entry.
Speaking at the announcement, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, said: “The Irish National War Memorial Gardens are one of the city’s most culturally significant sites and I’m delighted to be announcing a winning design befitting of their importance. The role of the OPW is to both protect and present our built heritage for citizens and visitors, and the completion of the new commemorative bridge, in line with the original vision, will enhance these gardens for all to enjoy. I would like to thank all of the architects who entered the competition, it is wonderful to see such a high standard of design.”
Ciaran O’Connor, State Architect at the OPW and Chair of the Jury, said: “The Vision Statement for this competition sought a “bridge design and landscape setting that rises above pure utility, beyond basic construction, to combine all that is practical and necessary, with a design proposal that is meaningful and memorable, that enriches the present, honours the past”. To that end, the winning scheme was never far from the jury’s considerations. It understands and distils the essentials of the competition through a simple, but not simplistic, bridge design that springs the river with elegance and ease. Its design is calm and captivating yet resonates with multi-layered inspiration. A fitting winner.”
Kathryn Meghen, RIAI CEO, said: “Good design creates public spaces that enrich our built environment. The quality of entries received for the Islandbridge competition was exceptionally high and demonstrates the value that architects bring to our cities. This bridge will be an iconic structure in a much-loved memorial space; it will complete the great vision of Sir Edwin Lutyens and will be there for Dubliners and others to enjoy for many years. I would like to commend all of the architects who submitted designs. Architectural competitions are a demonstration of the profession’s commitment to innovate and deliver new solutions for the public good.”
Richard Shakespeare, Assistant Chief Executive, Dublin City Council, said “Dublin City Council welcomes the design and we are looking forward to working closely with the OPW to seeing the project to successful fruition.”