Winners of the 2018 Cork Better Buildings Awards announced

Honouring the best buildings and businesses in Cork


Cork Business Association, in association with Cork City Council and the Evening Echo, have announced the winners of the 2018 Cork Better Building Awards.


The awards honour the best designed and best maintained buildings in Cork City and suburbs, and are aimed at rewarding businesses and building caretakers for their efforts to protect, enhance and improve the city’s streetscape, which in turn, significantly contributes to a positive public perception of the city as a vibrant and dynamic place to live, visit, invest and do business in.


This year in particular, Cork Business Association sought to recognize the huge amount of expansion and planning in Cork, through the awards which were open to any building in the greater Cork area.


The winners of the 2018 Cork Better Building Awards were announced by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Fergal Dennehy, at a special awards luncheon in the Metropole Hotel on Friday October 19th. Red FM presenter, Neil Prendeville, was MC on the day.


The winners of the awards were:

  •  Best in Café/Restaurant -  L’atitude 51

Located on a prominent, curved corner site, where Union Quay meets Anglesea Street, L’atitude 51 makes the most of its unique frontage with brightly painted upper floors, timber sliding sash windows and attractive shopfront with limestone plinths. Its prominent position onto the river and visibility when traversing Parnell Bridge from the city centre island, makes it a welcoming stop-off point for coffee, lunch or evening wine and tapas.

  • Best in Pub Front – Coughlan’s

With a public house first established on Douglas Street in 1831, and the current 1920’s purpose-built public house and house being an interesting reminder of the ‘living over the shop’ during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: Coughlan’s represents the best in combining heritage with the needs of a modern pub and music venue. Its colourful flower display enhances the red brick and grey limestone facade adding textural interest to the streetscape. The survival of many original features and materials, such as the fixed timber window and timber sliding sash windows contribute to the significance of the building and the character of Douglas Street.

  • Best in Commercial Business Frontage – Casey & Kingston

This freshly painted shopfront with its light green, white and grey colour scheme and use of gold lettering to the fascia, makes an attractive new addition to Grand Parade. With its subtle use of display and retention of the black, iron, window railing, this shopfront enhances the overall presentation of Grand Parade.


  • Best New Development – Special Merit - Vila & Selected

Originally comprising three separate buildings (Nos. 83, 84 and 85 St. Patrick’s Street) and amalgamated internally to form a new single retail unit, Vila & Selected is a great example of how the historic building stock can be carefully converted to create a new, contemporary retail unit within Cork’s premier shopping destination: St. Patrick’s Street. Retaining the most important features of Numbers 84 and 85 including red brick, decorative terracotta panels, decorative render details, moulded window surrounds and timber sash windows, while modernising the shopfront, the judges felt this new development was deserving of a special merit award.


  • Best New Development – Overall Winner - Pilz

This new office and technology building designed by Cook Architects and serving Pilz Ireland Industrial Automation in the Cork Business and Technology Park on Model Farm Road, provides a welcome architectural intervention to a suburban office park, areas which are often characterised by standard models of design and construction. The use of an aluminium glazed, curtain walling system, grey, fibre cement panels and yellow, brise-soleil blades which enlivens this exterior, the new Pilz building provides a welcome new addition to the business park.


  • Best in Tourism, Arts & Accommodation – Vienna Woods Hotel

With its dramatic woodlands setting on the peaks of Glanmire, overlooking the Glashaboy River and having recently undergone a spectacular makeover, taking almost 15 years to complete, the Vienna Woods provides a unique experience for visitors in a family-owned and run hotel. Involving restoration of many of its original features, the set piece is the original two-storey former country house, with its circular projections, elegant limestone door surround and overhanging eaves, cast-iron veranda supports, timber sash windows and cut limestone details, retaining its historic character, while providing excellence in comfort and service to guests.


  • Best in Heritage & Conservation – Court House / Old Model School

The refurbishment and extension of Cork Courthouse on Anglesea Street by the OPW, involved extensive restoration work to the former Model School itself, which has been carried out to a very high standard. The judges wanted in particular to recognise the brickwork repair and pointing which has been very influential in encouraging and showing other building owners in the city what can be done. The standard of workmanship in the restoration is a testament to the skill and commitment of the design and construction teams.


  • Best in Retail – Special Merit  - Crowley’s Opticians

The judges felt that the paintwork and design of the monochrome shopfront serving Crowley’s Opticians on Grand Parade deserved a special merit award as an attractive addition to the street. The colour scheme, timber work, window display, clever use of lighting (particularly at night-time) enlivens the space, enticing customers to experience the delights within.


  • Best in Retail – Overall Winner  - Egan’s Opticians

The new shopfront to Egan’s Opticians on Lavitt’s Quay with its glazed, latted stone and timber-clad materials, brings new life to this quay front. Forming part of a terrace of commercial buildings along the river, the proportions reflect that of a traditional shopfront, while using modern design and materials to update the existing building dating from 1990.


  • Judges Choice – Nano Nagle Place

The restoration and redevelopment of the South Pres convent, grounds and schools has literally transformed the South Parish district of the city. With its reimagining as Nano Nagle Place, the complex houses a new School of Architecture, heritage experience, gardens, ‘Good Day Deli’ café and shop. The teachings and ethos of Nano Nagle are continued through the many educational charities, community groups, charities and local businesses housed in the heritage buildings. The story of life in 18th century Cork and the legacy of Nano through the spread of the Presentation Order worldwide is told, while the visitor goes on a spiritual journey and observes living history- experiencing her resting place and the complex of buildings dating from the 1770’s to the present day. All of these buildings have been conserved and reimagined to best conservation practice with some wonderful examples of Irish contemporary design.


Speaking at the awards, Lawrence Owens, CEO of Cork Business Association, said: “The Cork Better Building Awards, which we are thrillled to once again partner with Cork City Council on,are a  fantastic opportunity to encourage businesses to improve their facades and the overall look of the city. This year’s judging team put a lot of focus on recognizing maintenance and simple good housekeeping of buildings; tasks like painting and cleaning, planting and enhancements that make the very best of the building. I would like to congratulate all the winning businesses today on their well-deserved success and to thank them all for the valuable contribution they make to maintaining Cork’s image as a dynamic and vibrant place to live, work and do business.  The facade and exterior areas of a building are one of its biggest selling tools, and one of our main aims in running these annual awards is to encourage everyone to have pride in their buildings and foster a pride of place in Cork.”



Also commenting, Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council, said: “Cork City Council recognises how important it is to acknowledge and reward property owners who keep our buildings to a high standard and, in doing so, highlight Cork as a fantastic place to shop, work and live. Congratulations to all this year’s Better Buildings Award winners and thank you to all the award entrants for your efforts in maintaining your buildings to such a high standard.”


The awards are run by Cork Business Association and sponsored by Cork City Council and The Evening Echo.  The judging panel includes Ann Bogan Senior Planner Cork City Council, Paul McGuirk, Cork City Co-ordinator Cork City Council, Brigh Ryan Asst. Planner Cork City Council, Alan Healy Deputy News Editor Evening Echo, Eoin Kennedy Zone Digital, Pat O Connell CBA


Entries will reopen next summer for 2019 awards.