The Building of the Year… is in Cork… and was designed by a Cork Architecture firm

23 May 2021
By Mary Bermingham
mary@TheCork.ie

Leading architecture firm, Wilson Architecture, headquartered in Wellington Road, Cork City, scooped the top award in two categories at the Building and Architect of the Year Awards 2021, hosted online on May 20th, including the top accolade of “Building of the Year” for their work on JCD’s Penrose Dock Office Scheme in Cork City.

As well as taking home the award for “Building of the Year”, which saw them compete with the winners from each of the competition’s 28 categories; Wilson Architecture’s work on Penrose Dock also won the “Building of the Year – Large Office” category.

The €125million Penrose Dock development has a form which is based on classical proportions and which uses pilasters, spandrel beams and glazed panels to achieve a timeless elegance in the façade composition, with the adjacent listed Cork Steam Packet Building providing the inspiration for this design approach. The development embraces its historical urban quayside setting and features a considered design that not only contributes to the architectural quality of its immediate built environment, but also to the wider city centre experience.

The 250,000 sq ft project comprises two separate blocks, Penrose One and Penrose Two, seven and ten storeys high respectively, along with the refurbishment of Penrose House, an existing protected limestone faced structure on the site. Wilson Architecture was appointed to provide a full range of Architectural Services based on the RIAI Standard Scope of Services from conception to completion for the office complex. Their scope also included the Interior Design of the public areas and bespoke office fit-outs.

Penrose One Building is a well-proportioned rectangular shaped block fronting onto the River Lee. Its form is dictated by the internal layout of a central core with column free floor plates extending to the glazed perimeter. The façade treatment is composed of finely detailed columns and beams arranged in a triple and double floor height proportion.

Penrose Two Building adopts the same façade discipline as Penrose One in order to provide continuity throughout the development and act as a backdrop to the old Cork Steam Packet Building. The building form being much larger, is broken by a series of recesses and steps to create a number of separate elevational planes. These vertical breaks, combined with the double height vertical glazing, visually breaks down the scale of this ten-storey building. The project also includes a café at the plaza level, and two levels of basement car parking.

Accepting the awards on behalf of his team, Frank O’Mahony, Managing Director of Wilson Architecture and Lead Architect on Penrose Dock said “Our design embraces the historical and urban setting which includes the original Penrose House, and from which we drew our concept for the classically proportioned facades of the new buildings. The overall development contributes not only to the architectural quality of its immediate environment, but also to the wider city centre experience.”

The quality of the design has enabled Penrose Dock to attract high-end International tenants, resulting in an occupancy of over 80% in just six months after completion; and since opening in September 2020, Penrose Dock has been a key differentiator for attracting the best talent and high profile national and international tenants including Grant Thornton, Matheson, Sophos, Varonis, and Qualcomm. The development has achieved Gold LEED Certification, with construction methods and facade materials selected to maximise off-site fabrication and meet the fast-track project schedule while ensuring world class quality that will stand the test of time.

The Penrose Dock scheme forms a key part in the transformation of Cork City’s North Quays into a new economic hub. Centred around Kent Station, the new district complements South Quays and the development of One Albert Quay and Navigation Square. Accepting the awards, O’Mahony added “The Cork City Planning Department policy of allowing height variation in the docklands area is to be commended, as the different building forms certainly add variety and interest to the skyline of the city.”

The Building and Architect of the Year Awards provide a platform for architects and their buildings, where the rich variety of architecture encompassing all the main building types is appraised; and the awards offer an unique opportunity to celebrate the incredible work carried out by Ireland’s leading architects. An independent panel of recognised and expert judges, representing the architecture discipline selected the winners, which were announced at the fully digital ceremony.

A multi-award winning firm, Wilson Architecture has offices in Cork, Dublin and China. The company works on a range of projects from commercial to residential, and pharmaceutical to education; and includes a dedicated interior design studio. Wilson Architecture works collaboratively with clients, design teams, and construction contractors to ensure a hands-on approach to delivering successful projects.

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