Belfast interface housing project takes top prize
A PROJECT to transform a notorious north Belfast flashpoint has been named Northern Ireland's building project of the year.
The Parkside development on the Limestone Road, a £3.8m regeneration scheme to create shared housing, was the winner at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) awards.
The scheme providing 37 new homes won both the 'regeneration' and 'residential' categories before claiming the overall project of the year title.
The judges described Parkside as "an innovative social housing project that has achieved an impressive transformation of one of the most volatile flashpoints in north Belfast, a shining beacon example of what can be achieved in difficult circumstances with innovation, good design and inspiration".
The project also saw the removal of the peace wall separating the adjacent Alexandra Park.
"The judging panel were overwhelmed by the quality of the entries this year," said Alistair Dunn, judging chairman of the RICS Northern Ireland Awards.
"The Parkside development has made a worthy overall winner, showing how important the built environment can be in creating a truly shared society in Northern Ireland.”
Other winners included Ulster Rugby's Kingspan Stadium in the commercial category, the new Visit Belfast Welcome Centre for tourism & leisure, Clay Lake Water Treatment Works in Keady, Co Armagh in the infrastructure category and Ballylagan House in Ballyclare for 'design through innovation' - it was designed based on the principles of therapeutic parenting for two sisters.
The 'community benefit' category was won by Loughmacrory Outdoor Centre in Co Tyrone, while Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts won a conservation award.
The winners will go forward to the overall RICS Awards to be held in London in October.