Parish Hall triumphs in design contest

Magheralin Parish Church Hall was recently named the winner in the Repair and Adaptive Re-use category of a major national architectural design competition.

Known as the Wood Awards, the competition is designed to recognise innovation in the use of wood and to inform people that wood is a beautiful and economical material which can be used to great advantage in any building.

The presentation was made in the magnificent surroundings of Carpenters Hall, the home of the Society of Carpenters. The hall was also named runner-up to the Gold Medal award winner across all the categories.

The church hall was extensively renovated in 2012 with the assistance of funding from the Northern Ireland Development Council and the International Fund for Ireland. The work included the removal of an old stage and the incorporation of new meeting rooms and storage space within the existing building. More efficient insulation measures were also built in.

The design and project management work was carried out by Nicola Waddington of local company Waddington-McClure Architects. “What we were trying to do was to refurbish the hall in a manner which would make it more energy efficient whilst, at the same time, ensuring that it met the needs of an expanding church and community. Aesthetically, it was important that the Hall became a bright new meeting place for all”, she commented.

The Rector of Magheralin Parish, Canon Gareth Harron, said how delighted he was that the hall had won such a prestigious award.

“The inspirational ideas of Waddington-McClure, together with the excellent workmanship of the builders – Viewpoint Developments – and all who worked on the project combined to give the Parish a hall which we can take great pleasure in dedicating to the Glory of God. I am particularly keen to see it being used by all in our community and many events have already been held where this is evident.”

The chairman of the judging panel, who had visited the hall in September, said: “This is intelligent and commendable work. It is an unassuming project which has completely transformed the space and is exactly the sort of work that should be encouraged. The use of American white oak has lifted the whole process.”