The iconic Londonderry Guildhall has scooped the award for Best Conservation Project at the biannual Royal Society of Ulster Architects awards ceremony.
The ceremony took place at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, where a large number of the industry’s leading professionals and clients gathered to acknowledge some of the best architectural projects in Northern Ireland.
The awards aim to raise awareness of the architecture and built environment in the towns and cities across the North, and also recognize the high standard of local architectural practice. This is the second major award for the project, with the Royal Institute of British Architects acknowledging its Architectural Excellence with an accolade in April.
Architects, Consarc Design Group, were the lead consultant on the £10 million regeneration project which has transformed the landmark building, enhancing its historical features and creating a bright and open public space featuring a new café, tourist information point and exhibition area. The company was tasked with the restoration of the Grade A listed building, which was built by The Honorable The Irish Society in 1887 on land reclaimed from the River Foyle, at a cost of £18,000.
Mayor Martin Reilly, said: “I am delighted that Consarc have been acknowledged with such a prestigious award for their work on the Guildhall project.
“They have succeeded in beautifully restoring one of Derry’s most iconic landmarks, both enhancing its original features and creating a more welcoming visitor experience for the public.
“The Guildhall can now be enjoyed and utilized in so many ways by everyone, in both its role as a busy civic hub, and an impressive building of unique historic interest.”
The restoration of the Guildhall began in 2010 and was completed in June 2013, and work included the restoration of the stained glass windows, extensive cleaning and repairing of the stonework façade, replacement of all roof finishes, accessibility improvements throughout and a complete refurbishment and remodeling of the internal accommodation.
Over its 120 year history the Guildhall has been destroyed twice – by fire in 1908 and in bomb attacks in 1972. The building features 23 original stained glass windows, many of which were gifted by the London companies who built it.
The concert Organ is a major feature of the building, originally costing £2,000 and the Guildhall Clock was installed in 1891 modeled on Big Ben by James Richie & Co Edinburgh at a cost of £456.
To find out more about the Guildhall project go to www.derrycity.gov.uk