Minister English announces the 5 commended entries selected for the final round of the Homes for Smart Ageing Universal Design Challenge

Published on Monday, 03 Apr 2017
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5 commended entries selected, each to receive €10,000 award, progress to Round 2 of the Design Challenge and the chance to win a further €50,000

Damien English T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal today (3 April 2017) announced the five commended entries that have been selected to enter the final round of the Rebuilding Ireland Homes for Smart Ageing Universal Design Challenge. The five commended entrants will each be awarded €10,000 to help develop their ideas further over the coming months.

“Government policy is to support older people to live with dignity and independence in their own homes and communities for as long as possible”, Minister English said, “adaptable and smart homes are the future with advantages from saving energy to creating homes suitable for a lifetime.” He added that he was heartened by the level of response and quality of entries there has been to this Design Challenge: “This is a small but key element of the Rebuilding Ireland programme which presents an opportunity to develop the know-how and commercialise the knowledge of smart ageing adaptation to support vibrant, sustainable communities for all of our citizens, irrespective of age.”

With over sixty high quality entries received from across Ireland and abroad, the five commended entrants superbly demonstrated the potential to create homes suitable for lifetime living and to create economic and social benefits for the community at large. The ideas were spread broadly across three distinct areas; smart technologies in housing for older people, adaptation of existing homes to meet the needs of older people and life-time communities.

The five commended ideas announced today are:

  • Cairdeas, a platform for lifetime communities in the Irish town;
  • Multi-Generational Homes, a design concept that would allow families to live within their community over many generations;
  • IRU.M.M, an Integrated Rooms Universal Mobile Modular product,
  • The Abhaile Project, which develops an innovative new model for older homeowners to reconfigure their family-sized homes; and
  • UrbanAge, tackling Housing/Urbanism Synergies for Smart Ageing.

“These designs point to an exciting future” said Dr. Ger Craddock, Chief Officer of the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, “where Universal Design principles can be applied to create products, services and solutions for the built environment. These have potential to create a lasting and positive impact on the quality of life for older people and the wider community where they live”.

Launched earlier this year by Minister English, the Homes for Smart Ageing Universal Design Challenge is an initiative under the Rebuilding Ireland programme (Action 2.19) and the Programme of Actions for Smart Ageing, which aims to stimulate and encourage the design and construction industries to be innovative in designing and delivering housing solutions for older people. The total Design Challenge prize fund of €100,000 is funded by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, and project managed by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design.

James Hubbard, Judging Chair of the Challenge, commented “The standard of the entries was incredibly high, and shows the talent and innovative thinking out there. We need to take these ideas and help develop them through the next stage of the Challenge process by giving real financial investment and expert advice. At the end of the day, this is about achieving real, lasting results that will benefit us all”.

The five commended entrants will now be asked to develop their ideas further in Round 2 of the Challenge.During this stage the commended entrants will be required to build substantive proof that the principles of Universal Design have been considered and that the idea is feasible, cost effective and has the potential for mainstreaming.Round 2 entrants will also be required to make an in-person presentation to the Judging Panel. These presentations will take place during the week beginning 19th June 2017, with the winner announced during an awards ceremony in Dublin Castle on 28 June 2017. The winner will receive a further €50,000 to help deliver on their solution.

Further information on the five commended entries can be found at :


Notes for Editors

Five Commended Entries - Short Description
Statistics on the Design Challenge entries

About Rebuilding Ireland
Designed to accelerate housing supply in this country, Rebuilding Ireland is tackling our country’s housing shortage. This action-driven plan will result in a dramatic increase in the delivery of homes nationwide. Ambitious and imaginative in its reach, and radical in its approach, this plan will address the needs of homeless people and families in emergency accommodation, accelerate the provision of social housing, deliver more housing, utilise vacant homes and improve the rental sector.

Backed by funding of €5.55 billion, Rebuilding Ireland is designed to significantly increase the supply of social housing by 47,000, double the output of overall housing to at least 25,000 homes per annum by 2021, service all tenure types (social, private and rental), and tackle homelessness comprehensively. The wide-ranging plan seeks to address all aspects of the housing system under Five Pillars:

  • Address Homelessness
  • Accelerate Social Housing
  • Build More Homes
  • Improve the Rental Sector
  • Utilise Existing Housing

The Rebuilding Ireland plan and related quarterly progress reports are available to read and download on
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About Universal Design
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of their age, size or disability. This includes public places in the built environment such as buildings, streets or spaces that the public have access to; products and services provided in those places; and systems that are available including information and communications technology (ICT). (Disability Act, 2005)

For more information:
Press Queries:
Seán Dunne, Housing Market Policy & Land Management
Phone: +353 (0)1 888 2638

Project Queries:
Hugh Torpey, Project Manager, HSAUDC 2017
Phone: +353 (0) 1 280 2641

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