LDA, RIAI, Limerick City and County Council, CIÉ and the HSE begin second phase for Limerick City’s new 21st century neighbourhood

  • After the first phase of public consultation, design review team assembling in Limerick to begin next phase of design review
  • Aim is to develop c. 50-hectare site in the heart of Limerick City with potential capacity for a walkable neighbourhood of new homes in addition to employment, transport and leisure spaces
  • LDA is collaborating with State bodies and other landowners including Limerick City and County Council, CIÉ and the HSE
  • LDA providing funding for preparatory work
  • 1st round of public consultation complete with plans for additional consultation after design review

LIMERICK, Tuesday 10th March 2020

The Land Development Agency (‘LDA’) has begun the second phase for the proposed site surrounding Colbert Station. The new quarter will be based around an important regional and national transport hub. The commencement of the Design Review process for the Colbert Station Quarter is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a model for potential further urban regeneration in Limerick and other Irish cities. Having asked the people of Limerick what they want for their city and received almost 100 submissions; this next phase of the design review process is taking place in Limerick this week. The design review panel members will now use their collective expertise to evaluate the potential for the site and provide independent high-level vision of what the development could comprise.

The outcome of the design review will be put on public display and will act as a platform for a second round of public consultation and engagement which will continue to ensure that the people of Limerick have their say in how the project delivers high-quality housing, employment and leisure/community facilities.

The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) have already been announced to lead the design review study chaired by former President of the RIAI, David Browne. RIAI Design Reviews bring together client teams and specific panels of Registered Architects and design experts, who have expertise relating to the individual site. Careful consideration is given to the make-up of these panels to ensure a broad range of expertise and experience, with architects from the public and private sector, academia and practice, established and emerging architects.

The RIAI is a champion for quality and sustainability in the built environment and the Institute has already undertaken a number of similar Design Reviews for landmark projects including the Diageo Site in Kilkenny City, the Military Barracks in Castlebar, the Tivoli Site in Cork and Bantry Harbour & Town in West Cork. Design Reviews ensure that architectural expertise and design thinking are introduced early in the process. They also provide expert and impartial advice to clients and communities on the development potential of a site. The Design Review process is independent and non-directional and the resulting advice and development ambitions for the project are open and far-reaching.

The panel will comprise the following architects:

David Browne (Chair), FRIAI, Director, RKD Architect

As Director of RKD and a former president of the Royal Institute of the Architects in Ireland, David Browne is one of Ireland’s pre-eminent design leaders promoting the value that architecture brings to society for the benefit of all. He is recognised internationally for his ability to unite and lead design teams, advancing a legacy of architectural excellence built over four generations.

Merritt Bucholz MRIAI

Merritt is founding Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture, University of Limerick (SAUL) and has been leading SAUL since its inception in 2005. In 2009 Merritt founded SAUL’s research arm, the Intelligence Unit (IU), through which the research agenda of the school is directed. As a practitioner he is a Co-Director of Bucholz McEvoy Architects.

Anne Kiernan, FRIAI, Chief Architect TII

Anne is Chief Architect at Transport Infrastructure Ireland.  With a background in building design and masterplanning, Anne has more recently focused on public realm design, integration of transport infrastructure projects and the urban environment.  She has direct experience in large urban transport infrastructure from her work on the Metro North and Metro West light rail designs.

Shelley McNamara FRIAI, Co-founder Grafton Architects 

Shelley McNamara, along with Yvonne Farrell, co-founded Grafton Architects in 1978 having graduated from University College Dublin in 1974. They are Fellows of the RIAI, International Honorary Fellows of the RIBA and elected members of Aosdána, the eminent Irish Art organisation. Most recently Shelley and Yvonne have been awarded the Pritzker Prize, the highest international architectural honour.

Seán Ó Laoire FRIAI

A Consultant Director of MOLA Architecture, having previously been a Founding Director of Murray Ó Laoire Architects (1979 – 2010). Combining architecture with a specialism in Urban Design, he has been centrally involved in many prestigious schemes in Ireland including King John’s Castle Limerick, Dublin Docklands, Titanic Quarter Belfast, Ceannt Station Galway, as well as projects in France, Slovakia and China.

Piotr Mach is a young design team member at the Limerick firm eml architects with particular expertise in design and 3D visualisations. He has been living in Limerick since 2007. He has Master of Science, Architecture & Town Planning from the University of Technology in Gliwice, Poland. In 2018, he was recognised as an Outstanding Pole of the year by the Polish Embassy in Ireland and nominated for young designer of the year at the annual Fit-Out awards in 2017.

They will be assisted in their work by two experts, Ricardo Andrea Marini of Marino Urbanismo and formerly of the office of Jan Gehl Architects and Brent Toderian, of Toderian URBANWORKS and formerly Chief Planner of Vancouver BC, selected by the Chair of the panel.  They are expected to bring even more international experience and expertise and share learning from other cities across the world.

Brent Toderian is a leading international thought-leader on cities, and global practitioner in advanced urbanism, city planning, urban design, transportation & urban culture change. He works as an advisor to cities, governments and developers including; cities of Sydney, Auckland, Gothenburg, Groningen, Helsinki, Oslo & Medellin. He previously worked as Chief Planner for Vancouver, Canada, a city known globally for its innovative city planning, urban design, active mobility, sustainability & urban livability.

Riccardo Marini is one of the most influential architects and urban planners of modern times and works all over the globe to spread his vision and ideas. Riccardo is an architect and chartered town planner with a deep knowledge of developing people-centred solutions. After working for many years as a senior city officer he worked as a director with Gehl architects in Copenhagen and founded Marini Urbanismo in 2017.

When announcing the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding in January 2020, the signatory parties asked the people of Limerick to give views on what they might want to see happen or not happen on the site.  There was a strong response to the first round of the public consultation process with close to 100 separate submissions. The submissions received from the public will now help the design review team formulate an idea for the site and have influenced the LDA’s own presentation to be given tomorrow to the design review team.

Chairman of the LDA, John Moran, said:

“Given the tremendously positive response to our first round of public consultation, I am delighted to see the people of Limerick jump at the chance to get involved from the very beginning. We are doing things differently with the Colbert Site not just in terms of the build out of the site but to facilitate the early engagement of the public. I hope to see this two-way engagement continue throughout the development cycle of the site.

I was particularly happy to see just how many people agree with the need to move away from low density homes at this location. Their ideas now give local insight into how to provide a bed-rock for delivering on the need to build homes and community and not just housing units.”

Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council, Pat Daly, said:

“We are delighted to have such a high calibre of people involved in the design review phase of the Colbert Station development. Having the input of such an internationally recognised team will prove invaluable for the future of the development. 

The inclusion of recent Pritzker Prize winner Shelley McNamara and her team at Grafton architects really adds weight and value to what is sure to be a transformative development for the city centre

With the recent granting of planning permission by An Bord Pleanála for the Opera Centre Development as well as the beginning of the design review for the Colbert Station site and the opening of Gardens International, this represents a significant period of positive transition for Limerick.

David Browne, Chair of the Design Review Panel, said:

“The Design Review’s purpose is to raise ambitions for compact, dense, sustainable urban design excellence, initially in Limerick and through example, in other Irish cities and to engage stakeholders in revealing the potential of key sites in the Colbert Station Quarter for imaginative transformation. It is also to shape a distinctive, Limerick centric, high quality network of streets, squares and other spaces and small block mixed use development capturing the value of a unique historic environment, providing a resilient and flexible low carbon and sustainable environment connected to a 21st century transport hub through pedestrian and cycle routes and public transport.

Creating a compact, dense, sustainable and flourishing new urban quarter for Limerick is central to our vision.”

John Coleman, CEO of the LDA, said:

“The LDA is continuing to deliver on its mandate of collaborating with State bodies to unlock the true potential and scale of significant strategic sites for urban development in our cities. These lands will ultimately result in the delivery of affordable homes and creation of sustainable neighbourhoods.

This is an exciting time for the LDA with other projects recently announced for Dublin and Galway which will allow us to build on our momentum. The people of Limerick showed a willingness to be brave and bold in the ideas that they submitted to us through the first round of public consultation and we are grateful to see such active engagement”

Vincent Murray, Director of Economic Development at Limerick City and County Council said:

“The success story for Limerick is far from over, 2,450 new jobs were announced in 2019, the economy is on the up and in conjunction with a thriving start-up and established business sector it reiterates Limerick’s position as the economic driver of the Mid-West.

The public development projects in the pipeline are sure to have a major economic impact for Limerick and wider Mid-West region. The inward public and private investment in Limerick over the last number of years outlines that there is a significant appetite for investing in Limerick and its people and with the progression of the development at Colbert Station this investment trend is likely to continue into the future.”

 Kathryn Meghen, CEO of RIAI said:

“Design Reviews are an excellent tool for clients to explore the potential of a project or site and develop wide-ranging ideas through expert architectural advice and fresh thinking. None of the experts involved have a commercial interest in the sites so the advice given is always impartial and truly has the societal benefit of the project in mind. 

The quality and sustainability of the built environment is paramount to the work of the RIAI and our members are always keen to engage with government, stakeholders and both public and private clients to ensure this is brought to the fore.”

 

Notes to editors

Biographies of the Design Review Panel

 

David Browne (Chair), FRIAI, Director, RKD Architects

As Director of RKD and Past-President of the Royal Institute of the Architects in Ireland, David Browne is one of Ireland’s preeminent design leaders promoting the value that architecture brings to society for the benefit of all. He is recognised internationally recognised for his ability to unite and lead design teams, advancing a legacy of architectural excellence built over four generations. David is the Managing Partner of RKD Architects, a leading architectural, project management, master planning and interior design company, which specialises in providing services for public and private sector projects across many building types including healthcare, research, education, industrial, commercial and residential development. David has a reputation for integrating innovative design with the functional and technical requirements in his projects. He has much experience of bringing together the disparate goals of multi-member client teams and is well used to complicated and fast track programmes. Along with this, he is skillful in the art of finding common ground and leading teams to work in a collaborative way to create harmonious and well considered solutions.

 

Shelley McNamara, Co-founder, GRAFTON ARCHITECTS 

Shelley McNamara, along with Yvonne Farrell, co-founded Grafton Architects in 1978 having graduated from University College Dublin in 1974. They are Fellows of the RIAI, International Honorary Fellows of the RIBA and elected members of Aosdána, the eminent Irish Art organisation. Teaching at the School of Architecture at University College Dublin from 1976 to 2002, they were appointed Adjutant Professors at UCD in 2015. They have been Visiting Professors at EPFL, Lausanne in 2010 – 2011. They held the Kenzo Tange Chair at GSD Harvard in 2010 and the Louis Kahn chair at Yale in the Autumn of 2011. Currently, they are Professors at the Accademia di Archittettura, Mendrisio, Switzerland. In 2018, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara were the Curators of the Venice Architecture Biennale. Their manifesto: Freespace was the title of the Biennale. Grafton Architects have participated in numerous exhibitions including: the Sensing Spaces Exhibition in the Royal Academy in London; a Pavilion for the 2014 Tercentenary of the City of Barcelona; ‘the Ogham Wall’ installation in 2015 in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The practice has won numerous awards for their work. In 2016, Grafton Architects were honoured by being awarded the inaugural RIBA International Prize for the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Lima, Peru. The practice was recently presented with the 2020 RIBA Royal Gold Medal in London. Shelley and Yvonne have been selected as the 2020 Pritzker Prize Laureates, the award that is known internationally as architecture’s highest honour.

 

Merritt Bucholz MRIAI

Founding Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture, University of Limerick (SAUL) and has been leading SAUL since its inception in 2005. In 2009 Merritt founded SAUL’s research arm, the Intelligence Unit (IU), through which the research agenda of the school is directed. Merritt qualified with a B.Arch Cornell University and a M.Arch, Princeton University, and is a Member of the RIAI. Together with Karen McEvoy he practices architecture as part of Bucholz McEvoy Architects. Major built works include Fingal County Hall, Limerick County Council Headquarters, Westmeath County Council Headquarters and Library, Elm Park mixed use development, and the Samuel Beckett Civic Campus. Bucholz McEvoy Architects are noted for award-winning and innovative low-energy designs, and have twice represented Ireland at the Architecture Biennale in Venice.

 

Anne Kiernan, FRIAI, Chief Architect TII

With a background in building design and masterplanning, Anne has more recently focused on public realm design, integration of transport infrastructure projects and the urban environment. A contributor to NODES, a UITP run and EU funded 3 year research project into the design and operation of urban transport, focusing on integrated transport and interchange as a trigger for economic growth and urban development, Anne has also acted as assessor of Academy of Urbanism urban regeneration submissions, and participated in many Academy study visits. A member of the DMURS project committee, and currently collaborating with Grimshaw Architects on Dublin’s new Metrolink, Anne has also acted as technical advisor to Henning Larsen in relation to Vinge new town in Denmark, and previously worked with Reddy Architects in collaboration with DEGW in relation to the Irish Glass Bottle site. She is a member of the RIAI Urban Design Committee, is committed to sustainability and urban regeneration, and is involved in community engagement through RIAI sponsorship of TidyTowns.

 

Seán Ó Laoire FRIAI

Seán is a Consultant Director of MOLA Architecture, having previously been a Founding Director of Murray Ó Laoire Architects (1979 – 2010). Combining architecture with a specialism in Urban Design, he has been centrally involved in many prestigious schemes in Ireland including King John’s Castle Limerick, Dublin Docklands, Titanic Quarter Belfast, Ceannt Station Galway, as well as projects in France, Slovakia and China.  A recipient of the prestigious Triennial RIAI Gold Medal, Seán is a former President of the RIAI (2007 – 2009) and was a former Senior Lecturer in Urban Design at DIT, in addition to numerous positions in an advisory/ capacity, most recently being a member of the RIAI Gold Medal adjudication panel and advisor to Uachtrán na hEireann on 1916 commerative art.

 

Piotr Mach

Piotr Mach joined the Limerick firm eml architects in 2014, and has worked on significant projects including Analog Devices International, Jaguar Land Rover, ACI Worldwide, Ernst &Young, GSK, Three Ireland, Limerick City & County Council HQ and Thurles Municipal Offices. Piotr has a particular expertise in design and 3D visualisations. He has Master of Science, Architecture & Town Planning from the University of Technology in Gliwice, Poland and has also worked in a number of architectural practices in Ireland.

 

The RIAI is the registration body for architects in Ireland that work to drive excellence in built environment for the benefit of everyone in society. The ambitious Town and Village Toolkit along with initiatives by the Department are involving more people in the recognition and preservation of early urban buildings in our historic cities and towns; and creating innovative schemes for contemporary living. Follow us on Twitter @RIAIonline and Instagram riaionline.

Limerick City and County Council (LCCC) Limerick City and County Council (Comhairle Cathrach agus Contae Luimnigh) is the authority responsible for local government in the City of Limerick and County Limerick in Ireland. The city and county administration is headed by Chief Executive, Dr. Pat Daly. Through its delivery vehicle, Limerick Twenty Thirty, LCCC recently completed works on Limerick’s newest high-grade office space development, the award-winning and LEED Gold standard Gardens International. Limerick Twenty Thirty has also received planning permission for the 1.62 hectare Opera Site, which will have the capacity to accommodate up to 3,000 workers. The total cost of that project is expected to be €180 million, with 94% of the cost secured through European Investment Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank loans.

The Land Development Agency (LDA) was created in September 2018 with the purpose of opening up state owned land for development. The Government has committed to capitalising it with €1.25 billion following enactment of its grounding legislation. The LDA has a national focus and is currently active on nine sites that will deliver around 4,000 homes. The Land Development Agency in partnership with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council recently announced plans to deliver 598 new homes at Shanganagh in Shankill, Co. Dublin.  The development will consist of 307 cost-rental homes, which will offer long-term security of tenure to people who struggle to access homes at affordable levels, 200 social homes, 91 affordable purchase homes.

 

Further information

LDA

info@lda.ie

 

Limerick City and County Council details

denis.tierney@limerick.ie​

Denis Tierney

+353 61 557224​

 

RIAI

soconnell@riai.ie

Dr. Sandra O’Connell, Director of Architecture and Communications

01 6691474