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Coppinger Court

  • Architect:
    Magee Creedon Architects
  • Award Type:
    Best Sustainable Project 2004
  • Location: Munster
Coppinger Court


<strong>Best Sustainable Building</strong>
Southern Over €3m

The development for "Coppinger Court", in Cork City, embodies an aspiration to urban sustainability derived from an apparently straightforward commercial development brief. The design development of the project, from two separate site ownerships, utilises an urban brown-field infill site to great effect. The sustainable agenda of the project is not incorporation would have greatly enriched the project. Ultimately, until the end-user / purchaser embraces the demand for a greater sustainability in their homes, the developers will not include the agenda in their budgets. The strength of the project is in the recognition of the existing urban grain, re-interpretation of the tight Cork street pattern associated with the Shandon Area, and an apt assimilation of the overall development into the Lee River cityscape. The buildings deliver a density and character appropriate to their local context and the project embodies at its core an inclusive attitude to a realistic culture of sustainability.

Architect's Comment
The site slopes south to the River Lee, with five existing buildings on the quay and stepping up behind, all overlooked by the distinctive spires of Shandon. The area is characterised by a network of pedestrian-width streets and lanes, which criss-cross the hill between key public buildings and spaces. Two such lanes climb through the site, one linking to Shandon Street.

Our approach has been to maximise the sense of space and light within the tightly packed series of enclosures necessitated by the brief. We used the sloping section to separate commercial uses and car parking from the residential areas, giving a pedestrian character to the residential zone, with lift access to the upper terrace.

The pattern of routes responds to the traditional grain, with old lanes substantiated and new links opened up, creating an experience of unfolding vistas as one walks through. Surfaces capture changing sunlight patterns throughout the day.
Use of render and some timber elements gives a sense of domesticity and zinc roofing has allowed flexibility of form, giving an interesting and inhabited roofscape, and contrasting new with old. The quay front buildings have been refurbished using hardwood sash windows and natural slates. Overall, the style is essentially modern, with a strong sense of context and history.

Clients' Comment
This project was undertaken as a partnership venture between two adjacent landowners with businesses on Popes Quay, Cork. Good design was seen as essential to the success of the scheme and the design team was appointed in 1998.

The site was designated under the Shandon Integrated Area Plan in 1999, which introduced incentives for residential and existing commercial/industrial businesses. This boost was welcome as the general area was quite run-down.

We were pleased to achieve a total of 43 apartment units on the 0.74 acre site, together with parking for 12 cars, a retail showroom and licensed pub/restaurant. This was conditional on maintaining and refurbishing the existing buildings on the quay front, which was not easy, but we are delighted with the overall result as carried out by our design team and the contractors on site.

All apartments have front door access, either from the quay front or laneways. Amenity spaces include shared courtyards with patios, and private balconies and roof gardens. Each apartment feels special because it is individually designed to suit the location and orientation.