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Architecture Competition to Design New Ireland House in Tokyo Launched


Architecture Competition to Design New Ireland House in Tokyo Launched

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in conjunction with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) today, January 18th, announced an international competition to create an architectural design for a new Ireland House in Tokyo, Japan. 

Ireland House will be a tangible architectural expression of Ireland’s official relationship with Japan as well as the warm friendship with the people of Japan. When constructed, it will be the platform for Ireland’s official presence in the country and will include embassy premises and offices for state agencies as well as offering facilities to promote cultural exchange and to foster interaction between the Irish and local communities.

The competition, which is being administered by the RIAI, is open to architect-led design teams to design and manage the delivery of the construction of a new Ireland House in Tokyo.

The brief to entrants is to design a building that demonstrates that Ireland is at the forefront of modern international architecture, a building that captures the spirit of Ireland, including all aspects of our rich heritage, culture and Ireland’s position as a modern, forward looking and technology-driven nation.

The competition begins today, January 18th, and the final winner will be announced in the second half of the year.


Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., said:

Japan and Ireland are strong international partners.  As we celebrated 60 years of diplomatic relations in 2017, the Government decided that it was the right time to make a strong statement of our commitment to that relationship with one of the world’s most advanced economies with a rich cultural heritage.  This project also forms part of the Global Ireland initiative, which aims to double our impact globally between now and 2025. I am delighted that, with a site secured, we are now moving to the next phase and I look forward to the development of a really strong design for what will be a flagship platform for the promotion of Ireland for decades to come.


Kathryn Meghen, RIAI CEO said:

The RIAI is delighted to partner with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on this competition to design Ireland House in Tokyo and welcomes the investment by Government in architecture-led design. This competition is an opportunity to promote a strong international identity of Ireland as a nation that values quality design in the built environment and the public realm.”

She added: “Irish architects are working internationally across all areas of construction including education, healthcare, workplace, data centres and housing. Irish architecture is in a golden period currently as the profession receives global recognition for both projects completed overseas as well as for international clients in Ireland. We look forward to continuing this partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Government to build the profile and image of Ireland across the world.”



Press Office

18 January 2019


For further information, please contact:

RIAI Contact Details:  Dr.Sandra O'Connell, Director of Communications,, T: 016691474.


Note to Editors:

The competition is an open two-stage design contest for an Architect-led design team and their architectural design for a new Ireland House, Tokyo.  It will open for registration today, 18 January 2019.  Stage 1 submissions are due on 17 April, after which the Jury will select 5-7 entries for Stage 2.

The final competition outcome is expected in the second half of 2019.

Stage 1 and Stage 2 submissions will be assessed anonymously and in accordance with the requirements of the briefing information and the Competition Regulations provided to the competitors. 


Full details of the competition can be found here:


The Competition Jury comprises 6 eminent persons drawn from the fields of architecture, design and diplomacy. They are:

  • Anne Barrington, Irish Ambassador to Japan, 2014-2018, (Chair of the Jury)

  • Sou Fujimoto, Director Sou Fujimoto Architects, Tokyo, Japan

  • Karen McEvoy, MRIAI, Director Bucholz McEvoy Architects, Ireland

  • Ciaran O’Connor, FRIAI, State Architect, Office of Public Works, Ireland

  • Raymund Ryan, HRIAI, Irish architectural curator and critic, Pittsburgh, USA

  • Joseph Walsh, internationally-renowned Irish furniture designer, Ireland


About DFAT and Global Ireland

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney launched 'Global Ireland – Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025', the Government’s initiative to double the scope and impact of Ireland’s global footprint in the period to 2025 in June 2018.

It represents the most ambitious renewal and expansion of Ireland’s international presence ever undertaken in terms of diplomacy, culture, business, development cooperation, tourism and trade.


Under the initiative, the Government has already announced new Embassies in Chile, Colombia, New Zealand and Jordan, and new Consulates in Vancouver and Mumbai.


Global Ireland will expand our presence in the Asia-Pacific region.  The new flagship Ireland House in Tokyo is key deliverable of this policy.



About Ireland and Japan

Ireland has strong connections with Japan. Diplomatic relations were established in 1957 and there has been a long-term mutual commitment to partnership with Japan. It will reflect the richness and depth of the relationship, our shared values and principles, and of our respective cultures, languages and traditions.


As the country’s 10th largest trading partner and the largest source of FDI from Asia into Ireland, Japan is a significant trade partner for Ireland. According to CSO figures, total trade between Ireland and Japan was valued at €10.5 billion in 2017.


The partnership between Ireland and Japan is set to grow further with the signature of the EU Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement and the EU Japan Economic Partnership Agreement in 2018. The latter is due to enter into force on 1 February 2019 and will present significant benefits for Irish and Japanese companies.


Approximately 20,000 Japanese tourists visit Ireland every year and the number of students coming to Ireland is growing annually, while more than 1,200 Irish students have taken part in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme since Ireland began participating in 1987.


A Working Holiday arrangement is also in place between Ireland and Japan that facilitates several hundred young Japanese and Irish people to travel and work in each other’s countries.


About the RIAI

Founded in 1839, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland supports and regulates the architectural profession and promotes the value that architecture brings to society for everyone’s benefit. Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @RIAIonline


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