17 August 2023
By Tom Collins
Two in a row for Wilson Architecture as The Dean Hotel, Cork is announced as the only Irish winner at International Architecture Awards
Cork headquartered Wilson Architecture is pleased to announce that, for the second year running, it has been named as the only Irish winner at the prestigious International Architecture Awards. Hosted by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, the Awards recognise 130 of the best-designed buildings and landscapes from around the world.
The architecture firm, which has offices in Cork, Dublin and China, was recognised in the “Hotels” category for its work on The Dean Hotel, Cork. Situated in the North Docklands area of Cork City, The Dean Hotel forms part of a mixed-use development designed by Wilson Architecture.
The instantly recognisable black-clad structure provides Horgan’s Quay with the 120-bedroom hotel with a rooftop restaurant, and marked the first stage of the Northern Quarter masterplan, which anchors the wider Horgan’s Quay mixed use development, currently under construction. The design’s striking and unique form was generated in response to the site’s immediate environment, its relationship to the other elements of the masterplan and the greater landscape of this part of the city. For example, the transition in scale from the Lower Glanmire Road to the River Lee is reinforced by sloping the roof of the building. While the lines of the plan are in response to the roads, rail lines and buildings of the immediate vicinity. The height and shape of the building minimizes any impact to the north; and mindful of the residents that face the Northern façade, this elevation features no windows or threat to privacy.
Describing the thinking behind the design process, Paud O’Mahony, Managing Director of Wilson Architecture and Lead Architect on The Dean Hotel, Cork said “The bespoke black panels alternate from tilting in at the top and in at the bottom in an apparently random pattern, creating alternate reflections in the light. The windows tend to blend with one or other of the reflections alternating as the sun’s direction changes throughout the day. The overall effect has the building appear as a single vibrant, constantly changing object, rather than a solid object punctuated by a rigid set of similar-sized and spaced openings. The black color contrasts the white limestone of the adjacent Carriage Sheds in a symbiotic relationship where each compliments the other.”
Completed in 2021, construction was carried out by BAM Ireland for HQ Developments Limited, and also featured the conservation of a Carriage Shed building; the development of the public plaza; and is to be followed by a 24-unit apartment building. The contemporary and innovative design of The Dean has created a striking landmark in Horgan’s Quay, a focal point and a contemporary cityscape around which future development of the North Quays can evolve, transforming a previously industrial area of the riverside, and adding much-needed amenities to this area of Cork City.
The Press Up Group, who own and operate The Dean Hotel added “The project has been an incredible success and a great addition to the portfolio of the Press Up Group. The building not only looks impressive, but Wilson Architecture’s creative design demonstrates that form and function can combine to deliver a property that operates efficiently and exceeds expectations in all areas. We are thrilled to have this design recognised by the world’s foremost International distinguished building, landscape architecture, and urbanism awards programme.”
Since 2004, the International Architecture Awards has honoured the best, significant new buildings, landscape architecture, and planning projects designed and/or built around the world’s leading architects, landscape architects, and urban planners practicing nationally and internationally, setting a global standard for architectural achievement worldwide. This year’s awards pay tribute to new developments (2021 – 2023) in design and underscores the directions and understanding of current cutting-edge processes consistent with today’s design thinking.
The winning projects will be honored at a special awards ceremony and Gala Dinner in Athens, Greece on September 15th, which will be attended by Wilson Architecture. This year’s award winning architects include Steven Holl, Zaha Hadid, and Tonkin Liu. Winning projects range from museums, universities and libraries, to offices and hotels, to name a few.
Established over 35 years ago, Wilson Architecture is one of Ireland’s largest architectural firms. With offices in Cork, Dublin and Dalian, China, providing a full range of professional architectural services to both National and International clients. Their success is due to their commitment to achieving design excellence through all stages of a project, from conception through to final construction.
No stranger to award wins, in 2022 Wilson Architecture was recognised at The International Architecture Awards in the “Corporate Office Buildings” category for its work on JCD Group’s Penrose Dock Office Scheme in Cork City. While in 2021, the firm took home the top award in two categories at the national Building and Architect of the Year Awards, including the top accolade of “Building of the Year” for their work on Penrose Dock, as well as the “Building of the Year – Large Office” category.
Penrose Dock is in close proximity to The Dean Hotel, and highlights not only Wilson’s commitment to design excellence but the ability to create bespoke designs which, given different context, produce markedly different results. Bespoke design is at the heart of their ethos and nowhere is that more evident than in the contrast between this year’s winning entry and last years, where two buildings in the same neighbourhood, designed at the same time, are so aesthetically different, yet complement each other so well.