McCartan Muldoon Architects
Architecture effects the way that we live our lives and the way that we see the world. It can even change the course of history, if it is executed properly. Take a look at Parkside Gardens, Belfast- a regeneration project that McCartan Muldoon Architects have been working on since 2009. Considered an area that was devastated by The Troubles, Parkside Gardens lost the vibrancy that once dominated its cobbles- but with McCartan Muldoon Architects working relentlessly alongside the Newington Housing Association and the local residents- the vitality of Parkside Gardens has begun to return, as its future has been redefined.
Aiming to regenerate the area by providing good homes, repopulating the neighbourhood and rekindling community spirit- McCartan Muldoon Architects understood from the very beginning that consultation with the residents and their local community group was going to play a critical role in the project’s success. So to deliver a sustainable and functioning living environment which would revitalise the character that once existed in this area- McCartan Muldoon Architects set out to understand the history of the space and its residents, and what exactly what they wanted to gain from the regeneration of the area.
“The area suffered a lot with The Troubles,” Company Director and Project Manager, Kevin Neeson said. “A lot of people moved away and the entire atmosphere of the place was gone- that was something that we wanted to change. And we knew that we couldn’t do it without the help of the people who live around there- to get it right, we needed them.”
What they also needed was the varied skillset that their team of experts provide, alongside their determination to go above and beyond their duties, and their ability to reimagine a community rebuilt and stronger than before- which is what drove McCartan Muldoon Architects to excel within this brief. Having spent the last several years working on the regeneration of Parkside Gardens, the team at McCartan Muldoon Architects have never once faltered in their belief that the work they are doing will make a real difference- the way real architecture should. Their reliable team of sub-contractors- such as Donaghmore Construction- also maintained the level of proficiency and professionalism that Muldoon McCartan Architects brought on site.
Established in 2004, by Neil McCartan and Mike Muldoon- who studied together in the U.K. and set out to achieve the highest standards of architecture in the sector- McCartan Muldoon Architects have grown with each year and now boast an office in Hillsborough and Magherafelt. They can take your project from conception to completion, with ease, and while their unique eye and understanding of architecture can guarantee the kind of excellence that changes lives- their determination to provide a product with a real purpose is what sets them apart from other architectural firms.
“It was mostly residential work and one-off houses when the company was founded,” Kevin explained. “Over the years, the briefs have grown in size and complexity. It keeps the work interesting and worthwhile. We enjoy what we do and that’s why it works so well for us!”
McCartan Muldoon Architects also understand what it means and takes to design architecture that truly influences society. With Parkside Gardens, the benefits of their attention to detail can be seen in the layout of the streets, as the team recognised the important role that streets play within community and therefore designed a tight knit urban street form with the aim of regenerating the neighbourhood to retain and enhance the distinctive nature which once existed in this area.
They also held extensive discussions with the PSNI to ensure that all boundaries treatments and the overall design ethos would help limit anti-social behaviour and help prevent crime. This scheme, in conjunction with the community consultation and co-operation within the local resident groups, also helped Newington Housing Association win the high profile Aisling Award, the RICS Regeneration Award, the RICS Residential Award & the overall RICS Project of the Year 2015, the first social housing scheme to have won this award- which brought a smile to the team McCartan Muldoon Architects.
With Parkside Gardens now boasting homes that not only have character, but exceed energy efficiency code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 standards, and also promoting a new way of life- a new dawn for the area, so to speak- McCartan Muldoon Architects believe that they achieved what they set out to achieve. And once the locals agree- they’re happy!
“The project really reinforced the point that in our profession, the key to delivering a successful scheme is taking on board all the varied comments, looking critically at our own proposals and communicating clearly with the client group and end user,” Kevin said. “Winning the RICS awards has been a terrific boost to all parties involved. As a practice we are finding that it is a very widely recognized accolade and are currently beginning to look at a few other projects with client groups that have contacted us off the back of winning the RICS awards. We are very proud to have been involved in the project and very proud to be associated with the scheme.”