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Ulster Students Sweep the Board in Top Architecture Competition

Students from the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Ulster have swept the board in a prestigious competition organised by the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA).

In an outstanding achievement of design excellence, Hugh Magee and Ray McNally beat off stiff competition from students across Northern Ireland to take Bronze and Silver medals.

The winners were selected for their outstanding quality of design and imagination and have been recognised by the judging panel for producing work of an “exceptional standard”.

Hugh Magee, from the undergraduate BA Architecture course, won the RSUA Bronze Medal for the top undergraduate architectural design project in Northern Ireland.

Working with Dermot McIroy a world-class guitar maker based in Antrim, he designed a sophisticated living/working space for McIlroy Guitars in the centre of Dublin.

“Dermot’s easy-going nature combined with his passion for materials and quality of craft in guitar making gave me great inspiration,” said Hugh.

“Together with the high level of one-to-one tutoring provided at Ulster’s School of Architecture, this made for an immensely interesting and rewarding experience.”

A previous recipient of a special award in the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship, Hugh plans to renew old friendships in a year of work experience in France.

Ray McNally, a Masters of Architecture student who won the Silver Medal for the top postgraduate project, originally trained as a scientist before studying architecture.

For his winning project he combined his art and science skills in a unique and innovative dialogue to create a complex building for a Belfast city centre site.

Ray who travelled from Sligo to study at the University said: “The Masters programme in architecture at Ulster is a demanding but exciting course.

“During our final year we are given a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend time exploring our own building ideas, under the expert guidance of our outstanding tutors and award winning visiting architects who support the studio at the University of Ulster.”

Ray, who took time out of his busy studies in final year to get married, added: “It’s celebrations all round, as I’ve received this honour and tied the knot in the same year!”

Commenting on the success, Head of School of Architecture, Professor Peter Walker said: “The School of Architecture and Design at the University of Ulster has its roots in the Belfast College of Art and it is wonderful to see how the work of our two winning students captures all the imagination, ambition, poetry and sense of style you would expect from the ‘Art College’.

“Ray and Hugh’s buildings are not only beautifully crafted using appropriate sustainable technology, but each is a true and realistic response to their clients’ brief.

“They have managed to resolve all the practical issues of designing a building in a remarkably sophisticated and poetic way, which is in the best tradition of architecture.”

The students were presented with their awards at a ceremony in the Great Hall at Queen’s University last night, Thursday October 25.

Caption: Winning University of Ulster students Ray McNally (left) and Hugh Magee (right) pictured at the RSUA award ceremony with Ulster’s Head of School of Architecture and Design, Professor Peter Walker