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docomomo.ie / Stephan Brugger / Eva Hierzer‏

Austrian architects win international competition

Two Austrian architects have won an international ideas competition to re-imagine a flour mill in the Irish city of Limerick.

Stephan Brugger and Eva Hierzer's idea to turn the mill into a National Seed Store, an idea that grew from the building's original use as a grain store, was praised by judges as being "highly pragmatic and ingenious".

The Ranks flour mill is an iconic structure in the city but one that might never have been - the building was set to be demolished in 1889 but despite the use of explosives, it refused to budge.

It has been closed since 1983 but local authorities are hoping to revitalise the building in the future. They put an appeal out to architects and designers to come up with some ideas of how the building might be used.

Brugger and Hierzer's winning idea also included a garden and a glass lab at the top of the building that would present "research as a beacon".

Judges said the scheme presented an "icon to the city". "The simplicity of the elevated laboratory/skydeck light-box in the context of the city is very compelling - few entries did it so simple. TO retain this iconic nature of the vault in public conscience and not to be afraid to ascertain this is brilliant. There is a fearlessness in tackling this brief. There is an absolute conviction about it," one judge wrote.

The seven person jury included Merritt Bucholz of UL School of Architecture (Saul), architect Siobhan Ni Eanaigh; Irenee Scalbert of Saul, and Carole Pollard, DoCoMoMo Ireland chair.

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