Hackett Hall Mcknight Win BD Young Architect of the Year

Hackett Hall Mcknight Win BD Young Architect of the Year

Belfast based practice Hackett Hall McKnight has won this year's prestigious BD Young Architect of the Year Award (YAYA).

YAYA, the Young Architect of the Year Award organised by leading architectural weekly BD and sponsored by Autodesk, recognises and rewards the most promising architect aged 40 or under. The judges decision was unanimous. Glenn Howells, chairman of the jury said: "Hackett Hall McKnight has a very clear idea of what their architecture is about. The judges were impressed not only by the quality of their completed projects but the focus and rigour with which they approached design at all scales. This is a practice making work that will be listed in years to come."

Announcing the winner Amanda Baillieu, editor of BD commented: "We all take for granted that young firms can flourish and get work but in reality it doesn't happen nearly so easily. Northern Ireland is still a bit behind the rest of the UK in terms of brave commissioning and it's refreshing to see a practice outside of London that is winning great projects. The judges were really impressed with Hackett Hall McKnight. They produce work of real, enduring quality. You can see they take infinite care with materials - nothing is hurried. They are serious old fashioned architects who want to make great buildings."

Hackett Hall McKnight

Hackett Hall McKnight was established in 2003 by Mark Hackett and Alastair Hall when they were joint winners of the second stage of the international competition for the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. Ian McKnight joined in early 2008. Their work reflects a considered and deliberate response to the condition of working in Northern Ireland. With an office of 12 people, their current workload includes furniture design, private houses, housing, retail and office fit out, small city hotels and a major public building.

The judges were struck by the sense that they had not only established a highly impressive portfolio of projects over the past five years but had also demonstrated a determination to foster a re-energised architectural culture in a city that has not proved the most receptive of environments to modern architecture in the past. The partners were joint authors of the first comprehensive survey of post-war Ulster architecture, published in 2006. They have also found success in steering policy-level discussion about Belfast's public space provision. Their plea to jettison planning policies that were developed in response to long-abandoned road-building proposals has proved particularly impactful.

Next March will see construction begin on the practice's first public building, the £14.2million Museum Arts Centre in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter.

The winner of YAYA 2008 was announced at the Architect of the Year Award dinner ceremony at The Hilton, Park Lane, London on Thursday 30 October. The winner will receive the YAYA trophy, £5,000 and a consultation package from PR agency Caro Communications on how to promote your practice.

Hackett Hall McKnight

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