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Tooting their own horn / Council celebrate new housing development success

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Tooting Meadow, Drogheda.

Tooting Meadow, one of Louth County Council’s newest social housing projects has been named as the winner of the Public Choice Award in the 2020 RIAI Irish Architecture Awards.

The 15-unit development, which was officially opened in late February this year as the first tenants moved into the properties, has beaten off strong competition to win the award. The new build consists of ten apartments and five townhouses designed specifically for families and the elderly and was a joint project between the local authority and the North East Housing Association.

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Built on the site of the old fire station on Scarlett Street, the development was designed by McKevitt King architects and constructed by Ganson. Construction began in 2018.

Tooting Meadow is named after the Tooting Tower, which was once part of the town walls. The tower stood at the junction of King Street. Scarlet Street and Magdalene Street.

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) announced on Tuesday that  Tooting Meadow had won  the Public Choice Award. The development includes a central courtyard space at the heart of the site, where residents can socialise and enjoy a visual link to the mature trees of the neighbouring Sienna Convent and parkland settling – all geared towards creating a sense of community and identity within the new homes.

Tooting Meadow was one of 33 projects shortlisted for the RIAI Public Choice Award, all of which were designed by RIAI-registered architects and completed in 2019.  The Kylemore Abbey Interpretation Project in Connemara, Co. Galway, which was designed by Axo Architects, finished second in the vote while Scoil Mhuire National School in Monivea, Co. Galway, designed by SJK Architects was third. Fourth place was awarded to RKD Architects for Roe and Co. Distillery – the former Guinness Power House – in Dublin 8.

“The standard of entries on the Public Choice Award shortlist is consistently high each year and we had great public interest, which reflects the valuable contribution that architects make to the spaces in which we live, work and interact socially,” RIAI President Ciaran O’Connor said. “The RIAI is committed to the development of quality housing that addresses the country’s changing demographics while also creating sustainable neighbourhoods in our towns and villages.

“Tooting Meadow is a perfect example of this approach as it transformed a derelict site in the town centre into a mixed-unit development with community at its core. I’d like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to McKevitt King Architects on this significant achievement.”

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