Belfast home named Northern Ireland Building of the Year

Hill House won Building of the Year Credit: Aidan McGrath

The Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) has awarded the Liam McCormick Prize for Northern Ireland’s Building of the Year to Hill House, a 5-bedroom family home which overlooks the Lagan Valley, on the outskirts of Belfast.

It was one of five projects to receive a RSUA Design Award 2023, all of which will now be in the running for a UK-wide RIBA award for architecture.

The McGonigle McGrath designed house joins a list of the finest buildings in Northern Ireland to have won the prize including the Lyric Theatre and Giant’s Causeway visitor centre.

The project was also named as Northern Ireland’s House of the Year 2023 with the Belfast-based practice now receiving that accolade three times since 2019.

The judges said, “Hill House is a demonstration of the skill and mastery of architectsMcGonigle McGrath in working with form, space, light, and material. They have wrought aseries of spaces providing ambitious and generous internal volumes that also offer domestic comfort and warmth.”

Hill House Credit: Aidan McGrath
Hill House Credit: Aidan McGrath
Hill House Credit: Aidan McGrath
Hill House Credit: Aidan McGrath
Hill House Credit: Aidan McGrath
Hill House Credit: Aidan McGrath
Hill House Credit: Aidan McGrath

Four other buildings picked up awards from a shortlist of ten. Consarc Design won an award for their conservation of the Grand Opera House and the reworking of its modern extension.

James Grieve who worked on the project was named Project Architect of the Year. St James Farm by MMAS Architects won the Living Places Award for its contribution to thecommunity. The architects worked with a small budget to create a simple yet attractivemono-pitch barn for an urban farm in West Belfast.

St James Farm Belfast by MMAS

At the other end of the complexity and budget spectrum, Avanti Architects with KennedyFitzgerald Architects won the Sustainability Award for the £118m Ulster Hospital AcuteServices Block in Dundonald.

The final winner was Studio idir for its Ballyhackamore House Extension in East Belfast.Aisling Shannon Rusk was both client and architect on this project.

Ballyhackamore House Credit: Elyse-Kennedy

Ciarán Fox, RSUA Director, said “The quality of architecture in a region has a very directimpact on the health, wealth and environmental wellbeing of its communities. Whether thatbe through our hospitals, homes, community facilities or theatres, the common thread should be a drive for thoughtful, creative and intelligent design. These awards highlight the best and will hopefully inspire clients, architects and policy makers to strive for more.”

“Our winners and shortlisted projects demonstrate that when clients make an investment ingood design the benefits are both tangible and long-lasting. Architects can help deliverbuildings which are both functional and beautiful and which enrich the lives of those who use them.”

Paul McAlister, RSUA President, Kieran McGonigle and Aidan McGrath, Partners McGonigle McGrath, Ciarán Fox, RSUA Director

“I commend the clients and architects involved in all ten shortlisted projects and extend myparticular congratulations to the five winners.”

This year’s entries were required to have been in use for at least one year so that thejudging panel could better evaluate the sustainability and real-life performance of theseprojects.

The RSUA Design Awards ceremony took place in Parliament Buildings at Stormont,designed by Sir Arnold Thornely, which won the RIBA Ulster Architectural Medal in 1933.

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