Bestowing praise on the best maintained buildings in Cork
Cork Business Association, in association with Cork City Council and The Echo, have announced the winners of the 2019 Cork Better Building Awards.
The awards honour the best designed and best maintained buildings in the greater Cork City area, 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 2019 Cork Better Building Awards were announced Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, at a special awards luncheon in the Clayton Hotel, Cork City, on Friday October 18th. Red FM presenter, Neil Prendeville, was MC on the day.
- Best in Café/Restaurant
Café Gusto has recently been tastefully repainted, adding new life to this stretch of Washington Street. Located in a late Georgian, terraced, former house with a double-height timber shopfront to the mezzanine level and retaining some of its distinctive decorative elements, this distinctive café/restaurant enhances the character of this part of the city.
- Commercial Business Frontage - Special Merit Award
Powell Property, Grand Parade
Powell Property occupies a terraced, bow-fronted Georgian former house dating from c. 1790. One of a group of three, with its slate-hung façade and retention of original window arrangement to the upper floors, it makes a significant contribution to the architectural character of Grand Parade.
- Commercial Business Frontage - Overall Winner
Barry C Galvin & Son Solicitors 91 South Mall
The attractive, grey and white painted façade of “Barry C. Galvin & Son Solicitors” with its gold signage lettering, contributes to the commercial character of South Mall. The contrasting colours of the arched plasterwork and pilasters enhance the appearance of this building onto the street.
- Best in Retail
The Drapery Shop, Emmet Place
“The Drapery Store” occupies this fine, terraced, three-storey building on Emmet Place, dating from c. 1885. Its sympathetic shopfront, including timber fascia and tasteful window display, perfectly complements the Ashlar limestone plinths and pilasters and cast-iron gates at ground floor level, with red brick walls, carved stone architrave to first floor openings and timber sash windows above.
- Best New Development
85 South Mall
Designed by Henry J. Lyons Architects, this new office development has provided much needed, high quality, Grade A office space to the South Mall area, enhancing the commercial life of the city centre. This highly sustainable building provides a new anchor to this office quarter, strengthening the civic nature of the street.
- Best in Tourism, Arts & Accommodation
Nano Nagle Place
The restoration and redevelopment of the South Presentation Convent, grounds and schools: Nano Nagle Place, has made a huge contribution to the rejuvenation of the South Parish area of the city. With its heritage experience, gardens, ‘Good Day Deli’ café and shop, this is a key addition to the tourist draw of Cork City. 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 1770s to the present day.
- Best in Pub Front
Tom Barry’s, Barrack Street
Tom Barry’s is nothing short of a Cork institution. Situated on one of the city’s oldest streets, it sits in the shadow of St Finbarr’s Cathedral and is steeped in history. This well-maintained premises painted in an attractive marine blue palette is further complemented by the subtle use of contrasting colours to accentuate key focal points of the building. The use of strategic planting and the clever use of signage is another positive feature of this building.
- Best in Heritage & Conservation
The UCC Centre for Executive Education
Designed by architects T. and K. Deane in 1839, the former Cork Savings Bank has been sensitively reimagined by JCA Architects for its new life as the UCC Executive Masters Business School. Located on a corner site overlooking the south channel of the River Lee, the building occupies a prominent position in the urban landscape. It’s beautifully embellished, former banking hall has been restored to best conservation practice, ensuring this fine, limestone, city landmark will add new life and enhance the educational and business life of the city.
- Judges Choice
St. Patrick's Bridge
Following a €1.2 million repair and rehabilitation project by Cork City Council, which involved cleaning, repointing and repair of the stonework by Cumnor Construction, specialist repair and restoration work on its lamp columns, and replacement/resurfacing of its carriageways and footpaths, St. Patrick’s Bridge has been returned to its former glory as an iconic feature of Cork’s cityscape. Built in the mid-nineteenth century to a design by Joseph Hargrave and involving over one hundred skilled stone cutters and masons in its construction, this recent refurbishment work showcases this fine example of the city’s architectural heritage.
Speaking at the awards, Lawrence Owens, CEO of Cork Business Association, said:
“The Cork Better Building Awards, which we are thrilled 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 Echo.
The 2019 judging panel included Ann Bogan, Senior Planner Cork City Council, Paul McGuirk, Local Enterprise Office Cork City, Mary Doyle, Executive Planner Cork City Council, Alan Healy, Deputy News Editor with The Echo, Eoin Kennedy, Zone Digital.