15 November 2019
By Elaine Murphy
The Cork County Age Friendly House Design Competition reigned victorious at the National Age Friendly Ireland Recognition and Achievements Awards, held at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin last night. Minister of State, Housing & Urban Development, Damien English presented the award to representatives from the Cork Age Friendly Programme as they were crowned winners of the Age Friendly Housing Category.
The Age Friendly Housing Design Competition is a unique initiative pioneered by the Cork County Age Friendly Programme. The annual competition challenges second year degree students from the Cork Centre for Architectural Education (UCC/CIT) to design a housing scheme suitable to meet the needs of older people.
Students are given a brief to design a housing scheme of “Lifetime adaptable homes” on a specific ‘test’ site. This brief requires that the units are flexible to accommodate changing patterns of living and working and can be adapted to the changes in size and structure of a family over a period of time. For this year’s competition Cork County Council’s Architects Department challenged the entrants to focus on a ‘test’ site in Kinsale, one of Cork County’s four Age Friendly Towns.
The Cork Older Persons Council Chair, Vice Chair and representatives from Kinsale Age Friendly Town Committee formed part of the review of the housing design projects and the judging panel. The Cork Older Peoples Council is a representative group of over 400 older people, established by Cork County Council as part of the development of the Cork Age Friendly County Programme.
Cork County Council Chief Executive Tim Lucey welcomed the news of the short-listing and congratulated the Older Peoples Council on pioneering such an initiative. Mr. Lucey noted that a major incentive for the student entrants is the prospect of winning internships with Cork County Council’s Architects Department. “In the course of the competition, architecture students are challenged to demonstrate sustainable housing design and those successful in the competition go on to gain practical design experience under the guidance of the County Architects Department. This competition is another example of Cork County Council’s commitment to adopting a collaborative and innovative approach to improving service provision for its citizens and great credit is due to our Older People’s Council for the important role they play in our age-friendly initiatives. ”
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Christopher O’ Sullivan offered his congratulations to all involved in developing and running this competition and noted that all efforts to further develop sustainable housing solutions are to be welcomed. “This competition represents the Council’s efforts to collaborate with the education sector to meet the changing needs of our aging population.”