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‘The Abhaile Project’ announced as winner of the Rebuilding Ireland Homes for Smart Ageing Universal Design Challenge at the official Award Ceremony, Dublin Castle

Published on Wednesday, 28 Jun 2017
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The winner of the Homes for Smart Ageing Universal Design Challenge was announced today (28 June 2017) by Mr Damien English T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, during an award ceremony at Dublin Castle. The winner, who received €50,000, was The Abhaile Project.

The winning entry developed an innovative new model to support older homeowners to reconfigure their family-sized homes by creating an independent living area suitable for the older homeowner, eliminating the need to use the stairs; and creating an affordable one‐bedroomed rental accommodation upstairs.  Using a Universal Design approach, this promotes an efficient way to use our existing housing stock by carving much needed new one‐bedroomed rental capacity from existing housing stock in mature urban areas, allowing the homeowner to live securely and independently downstairs, whilst promoting interaction with the person living upstairs, thereby reducing isolation. The Abhaile Project team comprises: Michelle Moore, Founder: Dermot Bannon, Architect; Ciaran Ferrie, Architect.

“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, “I look forward to seeing the overall winning idea, as well as many of the other entries incorporated as solutions for the future delivery of good quality housing to those who need it.”

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 and together we have delivered.”

The Homes for Smart Ageing Universal Design Challenge aimed to stimulate and encourage the design and construction industries to be innovative in designing and delivering housing solutions for older people to implement Action 2.19 of Rebuilding Ireland.

Over 60 high-quality entries were received from around the country, with five commended entries reaching the final round where they received funding of €10,000 and support to develop their idea further.

The five commended entrants were asked to develop their ideas further in Round 2 of the Challenge. During that stage the commended entrants were 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.

"The Rebuilding Ireland Homes for Smart Ageing Universal Design Challenge (HSAUDC) has demonstrated that by looking at home and community design from a Universal Design approach, innovative solutions can be found through diverse stakeholder collaboration that enables people of all ages, sizes, abilities and disabilities to live and thrive in their own homes and communities." said Dr. Ger Craddock, Chief Officer in the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design.

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

Each entry produced a short video describing their idea, which can be found on, alongside a gallery of all the entries received during the challenge process.


Notes for Editors

A short description of each of the five commended entries is attached.

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  (link is external)

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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)