A local man has received the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI’s) highest honour.
Kevin Bates and fellow architect Tom Maher were presented with the Triennial Gold Medal by President Michael D. Higgins at an event held at the RIAI offices in Merrion Square, Dublin.
They received their award for their work on the Poustinia project, a series of retreat dwellings located on the grounds of the Rosminian Institute of Charity’s Glencomeragh House, high in the Comeragh Mountains and above the village of Kilsheelan.
The project was commissioned under the stewardship of Fr. Patrick Pierce and is administered by the Rosminian Order.
Kevin Bates comes from Lisnatubrid, Ballypatrick. The son of Anthony Bates, former President of the INTO and Dr. Brid Bates, he attended Powerstown Primary School and Clonmel High School, prior to completing his Honours Degree in Architecture at University College Dublin, where he met fellow architect Tom Maher from Kilkenny.
The buildings were constructed by Kieran Doran Building Contractors from Carrick-on-Suir. The craftsmanship of Kieran and his brothers was rewarded with an Opus Architecture and Construction Award in 2005.
With worldwide interest created by the quality of the architecture, huge numbers have come to Glencomeragh House to spend time in the retreat dwellings. While the majority of the guests are from Ireland and the UK they have had visitors from across Europe, the USA, Canada, Indonesia and Japan.
The RIAI Gold Medal is the highest accolade that can be awarded in Ireland for the design of a building of exceptional merit completed within a three-year period (2004–2006) and judged ten years after completion to assess it in a mature state.
The name Poustinia derives from an old Russian word which designates a small enclosed space set aside for meditation and silence. Meditation is integral to an increasing international culture of mindfulness and spirituality to which this project is devoted.