Grangegorman campus project receives AIA award

Washington, 18th May 2012: The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced their ‘honours’ list earlier this year, and the Grangegorman campus project was chosen from 700 submissions to receive an Honour Award for Excellence in Urban Planning. The Award ceremony took place in Washington DC on May 18th during the AIA National Convention. 

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The Award was presented to the California-based architectural firm Moore Ruble Yudell (MRY) and the lead architect on the project James Mary O’Connor.  James is himself a graduate of DIT, and a native of Phibsboro, Dublin 7 – close to the campus site at Grangegorman.

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In recognition of the fact that a major Irish project had won such a prestigious award, and that the architect is himself a proud Dublin man, the Irish Ambassador to the USA, Michael Collins hosted a reception at the Embassy to coincide with the award ceremony.  Those attending the reception included DIT graduates based in the Washington area or adjacent states, as well as many great friends of Ireland.  Ambassador Collins took the opportunity to speak about Ireland’s ambitions for economic recovery.  He highlighted the role of international educational exchange in supporting that aim and complimented the work of DIT in building links with institutions in the USA to encourage US students to study in Ireland.

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Speaking to the graduates present Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT, said “I am always delighted to meet DIT graduates wherever I travel and to hear about the career paths they have forged and their professional achievements.  You are great ambassadors for DIT and we hope you will stay in touch with us.”   For the other guests present he described DIT as one of Ireland’s largest higher education institutions, practice-led while informed by research, and he spoke about the plans for Grangegorman.  “This project is exciting, not only for the future of DIT but also for the city of Dublin, and has the potential to create a significant job stimulus at this difficult time.  It will play an important role in the regeneration of the north-west quarter of our city which in some ways is the city’s missing link.”  Referring to the recent decision by An Bord Pleanála, he said “The designation of the development as a Strategic Development Zone by the planning authorities underlines its significance and I would like to pay tribute to my colleague Michael Hand, CEO of the Grangegorman Development Agency for the work the GDA has done to deliver this award-winning plan.”

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The author of the Award, James Mary O’Connor also spoke, explaining the vision for the project and how the masterplan for the unique Grangegorman site will  open up a part of the city that has been closed for two hundred years.  Using the visual of the plan, he described the topography of the site which, although in the historic core of the city, is elevated to permit views of the Dublin mountains.  He said that while the site will retain the richness of its landscape, and historic buildings will be restored, it will have an entirely new lease of life that will include community access as well as health and education.

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The presentation of the Award took place at the Convention Centre, where more than 16,000 delegates were in attendance, and the ceremony was broadcast throughout the Centre.  To see the presentation please click here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pclyYO13qec

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