The Curragh announce architects for new development of racecourse

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The Curragh announce architects for new development of racecourse

February 3, 2014


A consortium of two architect firms, international practice Grimshaw Architects and Limerick based Newenham Mulligan has won the international Architectural Competition to produce a concept design for the redevelopment of the Curragh Racecourse. The competition which was promoted by the Turf Club began in May 2013. It attracted interest from over 100 architectural firms worldwide. The entries included many of the world’s most prestigious architectural practices.
In accordance with best international practice, an Independent Technical Panel reviewed all of the compliant applications and shortlisted six companies to go forward to a Vision Design Stage. The Panel was chaired by Kay Hughes Principal Design Adviser and Head of Design at the London Olympic Delivery Authority, who successfully led the design direction and delivery of major projects for the 2012 Olympics.

The six Vision Designs were judged by the Awards Jury, chaired by Dublin born and educated Angela Brady, immediate past President of RIBA and director of Brady Mallalieu Architects London. The Awards Jury selected three of the six shortlisted teams to produce a more detailed concept design and present designs with a model to the Jury in the final stage of the competition. The Grimshaw Architects / Newenham Mulligan & Associates consortium was unanimously selected as winners. They beat off close competition in this final stage from Foster and Partners and BDP.
The decision to redevelop the Curragh Racecourse into a world-class facility to showcase the best of Irish racing was initially taken in 2005. The original planned project was deferred, after planning permission was received in 2008, given the adverse change in Ireland’s economic conditions. It was, however, recognised that there was a continuing and compelling need for such redevelopment. Following discussions with a number of key stakeholders the Turf Club decided to re-visit the project in 2011. It was agreed that the Architectural Competition was an appropriate first step in the process.
Racecourse General Manager, Paul Hensey, said “the entire process has been very beneficial. We have had the benefit of some amazingly talented people looking at the potential options for the Curragh site. The concept design shows real innovation while at the same time respecting both the great heritage of the Curragh and the unique environment surrounding the racecourse”.
Mr Hensey stressed that this decision reflected only the conclusion of the design competition. The winning design is, at this stage, a concept and the next steps will include discussions with the winning consortium to see how best the design aspects of the project can be developed to meet all of the Curragh’s requirements, respecting the views of many stakeholders. “ We are at the start of an exciting process and look forward to taking the design to the next critical stages in making it become a reality and bringing this vision to life”, he said.
Angela Brady chairman of the Awards Jury stated: “This was a very well run competition and being anonymous for all stages until the final presentation was an essential element in the judging process. We examined six short listed projects all very different and unique. In the final stage of the competition our jury were faced with three exemplar designs and it was always going to be hard to decide the winner. However after much discussion and testing of the design ideas our jury came to a unanimous decision. We wish the design teams and client group and supporters every success in bringing their vision for the Curragh Racecourse to fruition, to add to the excitement of horse racing in Ireland”.
In congratulating the winners, Mr.John McStay, Chairman of the Curragh Racecourse Redevelopment Committee thanked all of those involved in the competition structure and said “We look forward to taking this exciting concept to the next stage. As we pointed out, at the initiation of this competition, long-term funding is the critical requirement. The Turf Club is committed to promote this project in association with key stakeholders for the benefit of Irish racing. We envisage that the finance will be raised through a mix of private/public funding, sponsorship, existing Turf Club funds and limited bank borrowing. Decisions and agreements in relation to all such matters remain to be put in place. We will be discussing all of these issues with Horse Racing Ireland and the other interested parties in the coming weeks’”.
For further information, please contact:
Roddy Guiney Tel: 01 669 0030 or 087 2523 095


The Curragh Racecourse is Ireland’s most important thoroughbred racecourse for flat racing. Every year it is home to Ireland’s five Classics – the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the Irish Oaks, the Irish Derby and the Irish St Leger. The racecourse which has hosted racing since the 1700’s is located on the Curragh Plains in Co Kildare, less than an hour’s travel from Dublin City.

The Turf Club and INHS Committee is a not for profit organisation that regulates the sport of horseracing on the island of Ireland. Founded in 1790, the role of the organisation has been given statutory recognition in the Irish Horseracing Industry Act,1994 and the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001. The Turf Club also operates the Curragh racecourse and training grounds.

Grimshaw Architects was founded by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw in 1980. The practice became a partnership in 2007 and operates worldwide with offices in New York, London, Melbourne, Sydney and Doha, employing 325 staff. Grimshaw’s international portfolio covers all major sectors. The practice has been honoured with over 150 international design awards including the prestigious Lubetkin Prize. The practice has designed many iconic buildings worldwide including the new grandstand at Lords Cricket Ground in London, the Ijburg Bridges in Amsterdam, the Eden Project in Cornwall and the Miami State Museum in Florida. A full list of projects and further information can be sourced at

Newenham Mulligan & Associates is one of Ireland’s oldest architectural practices having been founded in Limerick in1902. Today the practice has offices in Limerick, Dublin and London. Newenham Mulligan & Associates is a progressive practice of architects, master planners, project managers, graphic and interior designers. While much of their work is in Ireland they have also successfully designed projects in the UK, Germany, Austria and Iran. Further information on the practice and a full list of projects can be found at

The Independent Technical Panel was initially shortlisted six companies to go forward to design stage. The panel consisted of:

o Kay Hughes, chairperson, UK based architect with extensive involvement in the London Olympics.
o Paul Hensey, General Manager, Curragh Racecourse.
o Lionel McCarthy, Managing Partner, Achilles Procurement Services.
o Martin O’Donnell, Turf Club member and Chartered Surveyor.

The Awards Jury that made the final decisions consisted of:

o Angela Brady (chairman), immediate past president RIBA and director Brady Mallalieu Architects London.
o Sean Harrington, RIAI nominee and founding principal of Harrington Architects Dublin.
o Brian Swan, architect, Dublin City Council.
o John P Byrne, Turf Club member.
o Tony Jones, Project Director


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