CWPA Lesotho Project is Shortlisted for RIAI 2023 Public Choice Architectural Award

Jun 12, 2023

Leading planning, design and architectural firm, CWPA Planning & Architecture is delighted that the Seboka Primary School project in Lesotho, has been shortlisted for the Royal Institute of the Architects in Ireland 2023 – Public Choice Architectural Award.

 “This is a huge honour and very exciting for our practice,” said CWPA Managing Director Architecture, Fran Whelan.  “This project involved the provision of flushing toilets, smokeless kitchens, bored wells, rainwater harvesting and sustainable vegetable gardens to five schools with over 6,000 children. These schools have appalling sanitation carrying a high risk of disease and no dignity for those attending school there. While the buildings are simple in scale and palette, they make a strong design statement within the community, bringing colour and interest to the landscape. Working closely with the Ministry for Education and Training and Action Ireland Trust our aim is to create a prototype at Seboka that can be replicated at other schools in Lesotho.

The UNICEF programmes for Child Friendly Schools and the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) were fully incorporated in this project. The World Food Programme also participated with the provision of pressure cookers and are also very keen to see that the sustainable and self-sufficient food gardens together with the rainwater harvesting can also be rolled out in Lesotho.

Action Ireland Trust volunteers were involved in mentoring the Lesotho construction personnel on site together with rise international who managed the entire project. It was also a great experience to work with young local architect, Tumelo Lerata and Italian intern, Valentina Riverso through the design development and monitoring the construction stages.

Without the significant funding by the Quinn Family Foundation this project could not have been delivered.”

CWPA Managing Director Planning, Joe Corr said: “We are so proud and passionate about this project and thrilled it has been shortlisted from the 187 entries put forward into the RIAI 2023 Public Choice Award. Our bond with the community in Lesotho is special since we started working there in 2011.  The clean flushing, kitchens, provision of clean drinking water all play a big part in encouraging the learners to remain in school enabling them to find a pathway out of poverty through education. This recognition from the RIAI is significant for all the CWPA team who worked on the Masterplans for this school and others and to see this project from the design, tender process and delivery of the completed buildings to the Ministry for Education and Training”.

 The Public Choice Award is a unique opportunity for members of the public to choose their favourite project from the shortlist of buildings designed by Irish-registered architects.  The Award marks the launch of the annual RIAI Architectural Awards which celebrate excellence in design and delivery of buildings.  

Members of the public have an opportunity to vote before midnight on June 20th on the RIAI’s website here: Public Choice Award Poll | (The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland)

CWPA has been at the centre of a significant CSR project with Action Ireland Trust, in Lesotho, a small country surrounded by South Africa. Since 2011 Action Ireland Trust have been working on educational, self-sustaining vegetable gardens, flushing toilets, clean kitchens, rain water harvesting, solar panels and pumped wells. Due to the improved water, sanitation and hygiene input from Action Ireland Trust, female student drop-out has decreased dramatically.

The practice is a collaboration between Joe Corr Planning Consultant, and Architect, Fran Whelan, bringing a complete range of professional services for developers under one roof.  In 2022, CWPA managed an extensive range of projects throughout Ireland, valued in excess of €650 million.