Coady Architects scooped two prestigious prizes at this year’s Irish Building & Design Awards – House Building Project of the Year for Fr Scully House on Gardiner Street and Cultural Project of the Year for Arklow Civic Library and Municipal Offices. We caught up with director Tomas Sexton to find out more about this exceptional award-winning practice of highly-skilled professionals, which marks its 25th anniversary this year.
Father Scully House – designed by Coady Architects and built by Collen Construction – claimed the coveted House Building Project of the Year gong at this year’s Irish Building & Design Awards in The Ballsbridge Hotel on Friday, April 22nd. A new energy-efficient, 99-apartment, mixed-use, inner-city social housing development with street frontage to Middle Gardiner Street and Grenville Street at the corner of Mountjoy Square South, the €17m Father Scully House complex is run by CHAS, a voluntary housing association whose purpose is to provide affordable social housing for people over 55.
Meanwhile, Arklow Civic Library and Municipal Offices – also the work of Coady Architects (main contractor, Purcell Construction) – was announced as winner of the Cultural Project of the Year. Arklow Civic Library and Municipal Offices provides a significant new addition to the Main Street in Arklow and represents a welcome addition to the urban townscape. Located on a narrow, steeply sloping site, the contours facilitated the development of a split-level solution to the client’s (Wicklow County Council) brief, with an entrance to the public library at the lower level to the north, accessed from the main street, and entry to the Municipal Offices from the upper level to the south via a small civic plaza.
Internally a series of varying spaces – children’s’ areas, book stacks, reading rooms, IT zones and offices / meeting rooms are interlinked vertically through a series of voids allowing daylight to penetrate into the heart of the building.
Other awards won in recent years by Coady Architecture include Education Project of the Year at the 2015 Irish Construction Industry Awards, Best Healthcare Building at the 2014 LAMA Awards, CMG Retrofit Project of the Year 2014, Best Education Building at the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards in 2014, Fit Out Sustainability Achievement at the 2013 Fit Out Awards, Best Civil Engineering Project at the 2013 LAMA Awards and countless others.
Although picking up major awards is nothing new to Coady Architects, director Tomas Sexton was delighted to win on the double in April: “It was certainly a great achievement for us. We have regularly picked up awards across different sectors for our various attributes – be it architecture or fit out and sustainability awards – and it’s always nice to be recognised by the industry for the quality of the work you’re doing.”
On January 30th, the recently-constructed Eolas Building at NUI Maynooth garnered the award for Best Educational Building at the Community & Council Awards 2016 run by LAMA (Local Authority Members Association). Tracey Bros was the main contractor and Coady Architects provided Lead Consultancy and Full Architectural Design Services. The €16m, 8,000m2 Eolas building provides state-of-the-art Information Communication Technology facilities for undergraduate, post-graduate, research and business users. The building has a simple cubic form, clad in aluminium filigree, with generous landscaped courtyards providing delight and amenity for staff and students in addition to quality daylight and natural ventilation for all the workspaces.
Coady Architects specialises in Healthcare, Residential, Workplace and Education design, providing a comprehensive range of specialist services in Architecture, Master Planning, Interior Design, Conservation, Building Information Modelling and Sustainability.
With a quarter of a century in practice, their team – led by four directors and six associates – has earned a reputation for quality design and delivering exciting buildings and environments for forward-thinking clients.
The comprehensive range of specialist services provided to private and public sector clients comprises: urban design and master planning; feasibility studies and site appraisal; brief development; sustainable building design; building conservation; interior design; project management; barrier-free design; planning for safety, health & welfare; planning for fire safety and stakeholder consultation.
Coady Architects’ team of 50+ skilled designers, architects, technologists and administrators includes experts in sustainability, materials research, specification, project management, conservation, urbanism and health & safety, with specialist groups focussing on emerging developments and contributing their knowledge across the practice.
Accredited under ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, Coady Architects passionately believes in collaborative design, working closely with and listening carefully to clients and seeking full participation from consultants and specialists at every stage of design and realisation.
Working on projects all over Ireland, Coady Architects is headquartered in Dublin 6 with an office in Galway to cater for a growing market along the western seaboard.
“We also have an association with a group of European architects and we hold the presidency of that at the moment,” Tomas reveals. “We meet three times a year and we hosted the June meeting here in Ireland. One of the interesting things we learned was that all of the member countries have had similar experiences and that housing shortage is an issue in every country as well as the challenge of developing housing for changing needs, with a lot more smaller units with flexibility for lifetime use.
“The issues we found were the availability of finance and the access to finance for both consumers and developers, increasing labour and material costs, and that consumer salaries are increasing at a very slow pace. So the ability to finance projects and to purchase properties are real issues. Developers are really struggling to get the cost and affordability of housing to align.”
The genesis of Coady Architects goes back to 1991 when Jim Coady & Associates was formed. Jim Coady was the founding partner along with Mark McCann and Anne Fletcher. Tomas Sexton joined as a director in 2008 and the name was changed to Coady Partnership Architects. The business was rebranded as Coady Architects in 2015 and Donal O’Donohue has joined as a director this year, to serve the growth in the practice.
Market leaders in design and information production, Coady Architects has embraced Building Information Modelling (BIM) – an intelligent, 3D model-based process that equips architecture, engineering, and construction professionals with the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct and manage buildings.
“There’s an increasing demand for BIM as clients are recognising the value of it,” Tomas notes. “The 3D digital prototype has data embedded into it and it’s a much more intelligent and reliable process. As there are so many people involved in building a building and each one is bespoke and every contract is unique, there is obviously room there for human error but with this building modelling process data design is better produced, co-ordinated and managed.
“It’s a much more sophisticated process and will be the norm in coming years, replacing the current practice of two dimensional drawing production. We decided to invest heavily in this technology and to skill-up when the industry was in the depths of the downturn and that decision has reaped dividends as we are years ahead of the competition.”
Coady Architects continue to excel; not by accident but by design.
Mount Pleasant Avenue,
Tel: 01 497 6766
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, August 2016, Vol 2 No 4