Sustainability, climate action and connectivity to the fore in potential for new Galway City neighbourhood

  • IAI Design Review demonstrates the potential for quality neighbourhoods on a site close to Galway city centre
  • Feedback invited to consider design submissions

16 June 2020

The future development of a key site in Galway City for housing with some commercial use, is being put to public consultation to gather feedback and ideas from the local community. The 8.63 hectares (21 acres) of land at Sandy Road will involve the creation of a new neighbourhood and will be the largest single urban regeneration project to take place in the city.

The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) was commissioned by the Land Development Agency (LDA), in partnership with the Galway City Council (GCC), to undertake a Design Review for the Sandy Road site and to bring Architects’ expertise to identify the site’s potential and to inform, guide and shape local and regional planning policy going forward.

The objective of the Design Review process is the revitalisation of the brownfield site, delivering affordable homes and creating a sustainable urban neighbourhood. Central to the regeneration of the land is establishing an attractive living space for the future including vibrant, pedestrian friendly streets and developing new cycle routes to Galway city and other major employment locations.

The Design Review was undertaken by five RIAI Registered Architects, who each put forward different proposals and visions that show a range of possible ideas for the site. All of the submissions involve the creation of a new urban quarter with high quality housing alongside workspace and commercial hubs. The RIAI’s report and each of the architects’ proposals are available to view on the RIAI, LDA and GCC websites.

Commenting on the process Kathryn Meghan, CEO of the RIAI, said: “Our purpose at the RIAI is to drive excellence in the built environment. The proposals submitted as part of this Design Review showcase just that. The Design Review process works by involving architects at the earliest stage of a project to provide their expertise to create visions and achieve the best for a site’s potential. The five innovative and exciting recommendations each have the potential to revitalise the Sandy Road site and deliver a new sustainable neighbourhood for Galway city. The analysis of the issues and concepts put forward by the architects will be of great benefit in informing future stages of the project and we look forward to the next stage of the process.”

John Coleman, CEO of the LDA said: “This project has the potential to truly transform Galway city and encourage integrated brownfield regeneration to support the growth of the city. We have been very impressed by the quality and standard of each of the proposals. It is very encouraging to see how closely the common themes that have emerged across all proposals align with our objectives at the LDA, namely, compact growth, sustainability; high quality living and open spaces and the rebalancing of the movement and transport hierarchy in favour of walking, cycling and public transport. We would like to extend our thanks to the RIAI, GCC and all the stakeholders involved in the Design Review process and look forward to the next stage in the development of this project.”

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath commented: “This is a very important and exciting time for Galway. Over the past 35 years the city has expanded significantly, making Sandy Road now a central location. If done well, this regeneration project will afford Galway the opportunity to plan and develop major infrastructure which will benefit the city for generations to come. We thank the RIAI and the LDA for the collaboration and commitment to this process.”

The five architects who submitted design proposals are:

  • Alice Casey MRIAI, TAKA Architects
  • Paul Mannion MRIAI, Scott Tallon Walker Architects
  • Jonny McKenna MRIAI, Metropolitan Workshop
  • Valerie Mulvin FRIAI, McCullough Mulvin Architects
  • Michael Pike MRIAI, GKMP Architects

Following feedback, a final Design Review Report will be issued by the RIAI.

The deadline for public feedback is 31 July 2020, by email to [email protected].