Crumlin Road Gaol captures a gong at awards for top projects
What could a major watermain scheme possibly have in common with a prison and a tender that carried passengers onto the Titanic?
The answer is that they're all award-winners, capturing some major gongs at the prestigious RICS NI awards after they were recognised as some of the most inspirational developments in Northern Ireland's built environment.
Crumlin Road Gaol, Titanic's restored little sister SS Nomadic, which opened as a visitor attraction last year, and the A2 Bangor to Belfast watermain scheme all won awards at the ceremony yesterday at the Culloden Estate.
The historic gaol, which reopened following an extensive refurbishment in 2012, won overall Project of the Year as well as the Community Benefit category.
Other winners this year include SS Nomadic (Building Conservation), The Bakery on the Ormeau Road (Commercial), and the A2 Bangor to Belfast watermain scheme (Infrastructure).
Meanwhile, Station Square, Portrush (Regeneration), Antrim Castle Gardens (Tourism & Leisure) and the Caffrey Hill housing development in Belfast (Residential) also picked up gongs.
Announced at a ceremony in the Culloden Estate, the RICS Awards showcase the most inspirational developments in the local property and construction sectors in the past three years across seven categories. They are sponsored by Pinsent Masons, the Department for the Environment, the Strategic Investment Board, and Forbo Flooring Systems.
RICS awards judging chairman Alistair Dunn said: "The Crumlin Road Gaol scored impressively on all criteria, and has become a huge benefit to not only the local community, but to Northern Ireland as a whole. It is a fabulous asset that is acting as a catalyst for further community and tourist based projects in the area."
RICS Northern Ireland director Ben Collins said: "Chartered surveyors and other property and construction professionals make an enormous contribution to Northern Ireland through, for instance, their central involvement in creating infrastructure like roads, schools and hospitals that allows our society to function, the buildings in which local companies and foreign investors thrive, and tourism projects that attract visitors from all over the world."
Northern Ireland winners are also considered for the overall RICS Awards, which pits local projects against prestigious building schemes from the rest of the UK and from around the world, with winners to be announced at a gala event in London in October 2014.
Crumlin Road Gaol's refurbishment returned the building to its original splendour and opened it up for increased community, education and business use, whilst also providing a major tourist attraction. The Grade A listed building, originally designed by Belfast architect Charles Lanyon, first opened in 1846. It lay derelict following its closure as a working prison in 1996.