Limerick architects break new ground with UK accolade

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Email:

donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

Limerick architects break new ground with UK accolade

Nancy O'Keeffe and David Humphreys

Donal O’Regandonal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

A COUNTY Limerick company is the first from Ireland to win an award at the UK Built Environment Awards.

Architectural Conservation Professionals (ACP) based in Grageen House, Cappanuke, Cappamore received their prize at a gala black-tie dinner in the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel. A highly commended award was presented to ACP for the Aran Sweater Market in Galway. The project involved restoring and bringing back into economic use an important historic ruinous building in Galway.

David Humphreys, ACP director, and Nancy O'Keeffe, ACP project architect, accepted the accolade on behalf of everyone on the team in Cappamore. Mr Humphreys said it was a “huge honour” for ACP to be the first Irish company to receive an award at the UK Built Environment Awards.

Dr Gavin Dunn, CEO of Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE), said: “We are hugely proud to honour all these achievements and would like to congratulate the award winners and all those who were highly commended.”

Mr Humphreys said their overall goal with the Aran Sweater Market wass to bring this ruinous building back into economic use while respecting its long and varied history, best building conservation practice, and maximising its potential as a key historic building within Galway city.

“We take the approach that the building is our client and we aim to bring all the stakeholders together to find and implement an economically viable solution that secures the historic buildings future,” said Mr Humpheys. 

Last year, they received an Engineers Ireland Excellence Award in Conservation and Heritage for the same project. Nearer to home, ACP has worked on structures throughout Limerick city and county over the years including Mary Immaculate College, Sarsfield Credit Union, and the Hunt Museum. 

“We are  extremely proud and honoured to have worked on some of the oldest buildings and structures within the city and county. One area that springs to mind at this moment, is the rejuvenation of some of our Georgian blocks within Limerick city that have the potential to be key buildings here within the city to aid the greater community. This is probably the single most challenging building conservation project within Limerick city. It will require the bringing together of many interests - some of which are probably not very compatible,” said Mr Humphreys.

He founded the company in 2000 and unlike others ACP kept its head above water during the economic crash.

“Because we are a multidisciplinary team that work in the historic buildings area we were not as badly effected as some of  our colleagues. However, during the recession a number of staff went to Australia to obtain work. They have since returned to us and work full-time in house. The recession allowed us time to develop the skills of our staff and to focus on our core skills,” he said.