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Lighthouse, library and two castles lead Northern Ireland contenders for building awards

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Mew Island Lighthouse optic relocation

Mew Island Lighthouse optic relocation

Mew Island Lighthouse optic relocation

A varied range of construction projects across Northern Ireland are in the running for top awards.

The refurbishments of a library, a city centre and two castles have been included on the RICS (Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors) shortlist for its Social Impact Awards.

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Portrush train station

Portrush train station

Portrush train station

The awards recognise the built environment's positive and transformational contribution to society.

The 33 local shortlisted construction schemes will be judged and voted on by a panel of RICS members and experts based on their role in transforming communities and the everyday lives of people.

The categories include commercial, student accommodation, heritage, education, healthcare, residential, infrastructure and leisure. One project will also take home the title of overall winner.

Among the projects shortlisted is the £1m roof replacement of Carrickfergus Castle in Co Antrim. The new roof, in keeping with the castle's late-medieval architecture, is made from Irish oak, used 'green' and oak-pegged without the use of nails or metal fixings.

Externally, the roof is finished with Cumbrian stone slates and lead.

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Killeavy Castle

Killeavy Castle

Killeavy Castle

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Part of a £5m transformation of Lisburn city centre has also been recognised.

The regenerated Market Square has attracted more shoppers back to the high street and helped reduce homelessness by 10%, as well as driving down anti-social behaviour.

Also making the shortlist is the £5.6m state-of-the-art Portrush train station, built as part of a multi-million revamp ahead of the 148th Open at Royal Portrush. Developers involved local schools as part of an education programme, held a beach clean-up day and donated materials and tools to residents who wanted to improve the seaside town with new planters.

The award winners will be announced at the Northern Ireland ceremony on May 21 at the La Mon Hotel and Country Club.

A UK grand final will be held in September for those successfully nominated from each region, with property expert David Brooks Wilson leading a panel of guest judges to select those projects worthy of the top award.

Susan Mason, head of RICS in Northern Ireland, said: "This year's shortlist features some of the best talent in our profession, and the new Social Impact Awards recognises the significant value these projects have brought to the communities around them.

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Coleraine Library

Coleraine Library

Coleraine Library

"The judges will have their work cut out deciding on who gets the top award with so many top projects involved."

Mew Island Lighthouse Optic Relocation

This picturesque lighthouse off the Co Down coast safely guided ships through the treacherous seas around the Copeland Islands for over a century. Now, the 130-year-old optic from Mew Island Lighthouse takes pride of place where the Titanic Slipways meet the water's edge. The optic was made in Paris in 1887, and many believe it is the largest of its kind ever built, coming in at seven metres tall and more than two-and-a-half metres wide. It also weighs approximately 10 tonnes and is one of only 18 still in existence. The lighthouse now operates using solar-powered LEDs.

Coleraine Library

This three-storey circular building, built to a classic late 1960s design, was closed in March 2017 when leaking windows and roof and an antique heating system rendered it no longer fit for purpose. The refurbished and extended library whihc it now houses is proving an attractive community hub accessible to everyone.

Killeavy Castle

Designed in 1836 by Dublin architect George Papworth, the castle is a Grade A listed historical building. It had been derelict for over a decade before a multi-million pound investment from Invest NI supported the conversion into a luxury hotel and spa, which opened in 2019.

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The regenerated Lisburn city centre

The regenerated Lisburn city centre

The regenerated Lisburn city centre

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