It was a lovely summer evening, and the white quay walls and tall, crazy, claret-coloured tenements under a blue-and-white sky were reflected in the lazy water that wrinkled only at the edges and seemed like a painted carpet.’

‘The Mad Lomasneys’ by Frank O’Connor

The Morrison’s Island International Design Competition

Registered architects, landscape architects and engineers were invited to participate in a design research competition to propose innovative and considered solutions for the renewal of Cork city’s quayside landscape. Participants were asked to engage with other professional disciplines, artists or art organisations, local community groups and citizens as part of their design process.The purpose of this competition is to unlock opportunity and potential, advance knowledge, and develop collaborative expertise across architecture, engineering and landscape design through integrated design solutions that are specific to Cork city. It is hoped that the outputs of this process will contribute towards the city’s future strategy for the quays. Innovative solutions cannot be generated without informed reference to the past (the working of historic space in Cork and its material quality), combined with due consideration of the needs of the future (climate change, social and economic development).

For the competition participants were asked to:

– Re-imagine and renew the public space at  Fr. Mathew and Morrison’s Quay in Cork City, Ireland
– Design a new pedestrian bridge to replace the existing  Trinity bridge at Morrison’s Quay
– Reveal the beauty of the Historic Quays: Fr. Mathew Quay and Morrison’s Quay
– Enhance and develop the city’s relationship with the river Lee in order promote and encourage riverine activities such as trade, tourism, sport and leisure.


Yvonne Farrell – Architect, Grafton  Architects (Jury Chairperson)
James Howley – Conservation Architect, Howley Hayes Architects
Siobhán Ní Éanaigh – Architect, McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects
Tim Lucas – Structural Engineer, Pryce Myers Engineers, UK
Eilís O’ Connell – Artist & Sculptor
In addition, the jury will  have two representatives from the local community. For the jury’s biographies click here


The design contest will conclude with:
– The presentation of shortlisted entries at a public exhibition with the winning entrant receiving €10,000.
– A public symposium involving the public, contestants and key stakeholders
– There will be a publication produced on a selection of the jury’s entries.

Love the Lee Weekend Programme Poster FOR PRINT

Competition Promoters

Save Cork City, are a voluntary group set up in response to a proposal to build over 8km of concrete walls and 46 pump chambers around the River Lee in Cork, Ireland. Morrison’s Island is the site where the first phase of the proposed scheme is to be undertaken. The group believes that this is not an appropriate flood protection system to adopt in a historic place. The concerns of the group are focused on the increase in water levels in the river, the destruction of the historic quayside landscape, the loss of civic space, the financial loss to the region due to the disruption of the 6-10 years of works and the loss of the long term tourism potential of the city due to the proposed scheme. As part of their Three Point Plan for Flood Protection for Cork, Save Cork City are calling on the Irish Government to review proposals to construct a tidal barrier to protect the city from fluvial and tidal flooding. Point two of their plan deals with the the faithful restoration of Cork’s historic limestone quays. This design competition falls under point two of the plan. The third point of the plan deals with up-stream catchment management.
Constructing a tidal barrier at Lough Mahon on the River Lee would protect Cork from flooding and avoid the necessity for concrete walls and pump chambers. Thus, allowing the city to refurbish the quays, build civic pride, enhance tourism, increase economic potential and most importantly, avoid the city turning it’s back on the river.
Save Cork City’s Three Point Plan has been endorsed by a Nobel Prize Winning Scientist, Prof Robert Devoy, the Deputy Director of the Dutch Flood Protection Programme, Erik Kraaij, the former Dean of Engineering in University College Cork, Prof. Philip O’ Kane, as well as thousands of concerned Cork citizens.
Youtube: SaveCorkCityYoutube
 Save Cork City’s Three Point Plan For Flood Protection Is Available In The Document: “Potential Cork”

Competition Organisers & Supporters

The competition is being organised by the Cork Architectural Association with the support of the National Sculpture Factory and the Architectural Association of Ireland. A very special thanks to Architects LA for help with organizing the efforts of our entire design submission team.

Submission Requirements

An A0 presentation in portrait format made up of two separate A1 boards in landscape format (to make an A0 portrait presentation). All presentations should include:
1. A cross section at 1:75 of the new footbridge
2. A site location plan at 1:500
3. At least one image showing the scheme in context
4. At least one detail study of a new intervention in context (light, railing, paving, river access etc)
Boards may include plans, sections and elevations as appropriate and may include 3D images, photographs and maps.
A written statement of up to two A4 pages outlining the principles and rationale of the design proposal and including a detailed description of materials, lighting, construction technology and environmental factors relevant to the scheme.
Full details on the submission requirements are available in the competition pack.

Time Line for the Competition 

Competition Registration Opens: 22nd June 2017
Questions Deadline: 21st July 2017
Answers Circulated: 28th July 2017
Registration Deadline: 8th September 2017
Submission Deadline: 22nd September 2017
Jury Adjudication: 29th September 2017