The winners of an annual awards programme celebrating building design and conservation projects in East Suffolk have been announced.
East Suffolk Council’s ‘Quality of Place Awards’ recognise efforts to conserve historic buildings and enhance the built and natural environment through high-quality design.
Nominations were judged on quality of design and detailing, quality of workmanship, use of materials and sustainability.
The winners were revealed during an awards ceremony at East Suffolk House in Melton on Wednesday 8 March.
Cllr David Ritchie, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for Planning and Coastal Management said: "As always, we have received an abundance of high-quality entries for these awards and whilst unfortunately there was no winner in the Building Conservation category this year, we were particularly pleased to see an increase in submissions for the Community category. The winning schemes in all categories feature designs which benefit the community, conserve buildings of local or historical interest, and are rich in architectural originality."
The winners are:
Awarded for any built or natural environment project designed to benefit the community in which it was built. Judges looked at community engagement with the project and the public benefits of the scheme.
Winner - AldringhamandThorpeness Heritage Centre, Thorpeness (Thorpeness and Aldringham Heritage Group)
Thorpeness was England’s first purpose-built holiday village and the Thorpeness and Aldringham Heritage Group formed eight years ago with the aim of preserving and displaying the unique history of the village. The group fundraised, acquired the lease on the site in the car park near the centre of the village and constructed a visitor centre. Not only did the group have great community involvement, but their membership has doubled since their formation to 120 people. This project has been designed for the benefit of the community with a great deal of obvious community engagement and has clear public benefits for local residentsand visitors.
Highly Commended and Green Commendation - Carlton Marshes Visitor Centre (Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Cowper Griffith Architects)
The project at Carlton Marshes aimed to create a place which would enable people to get close to nature and enjoy everything the natural world has to offer. Research had shown that almost 50% of local residents did not visit the countryside on their doorstep.By building a new visitor centre and developing the nature reserve, this has become a destination for families and people of all ages and abilities and is a well-considered and well-loved area. The project also successfully addresses sustainability issues by creating new wetlands that will sequestrate carbon, provide habitat for local wildlife and by actively engaging the local community in its work.
Highly Commended - The Old Hospital, Southwold (SouthGen, Modece Architects)
Southwold Hospital, which originally opened in 1903, was closed in 2015. Community groupSouthgen (Southwold and Waveney Valley Regeneration Ltd)purchased the hospital from the NHS and returned it to community use. The volunteers were involved from the design through to fitting out the spaces. This building now provides a café, library, nursery and hot-desking area, as well as four flats and two houses. The efforts of the community group are recognised, as a project like this is difficult to bring to completion, and the result is a well-considered building with high potential for long-term use by the community.
For new buildings or extensions. Judges considered originality of design, overall architectural effect, and the building’s relationship to its context.
Joint Winner - Martello Café, Felixstowe (Plaice Design)
The challenge of this project was to create an iconic café/restaurant that would turn an unpromising but prominent site on the edge of the Martello Park into a destination building that would act as a landmark and focal point for the regeneration of Felixstowe seafront. The judges site visit convinced them that the architects have fully succeeded in this mission, as it is clearly a very popular local venue. The building’s geometry is exceedingly complex, being inspired by a clam shell. Successfully solving the resulting architectural and constructional challenges was only possible by extensive use of 3-dimensional computer-aided design. The building is architecturally distinctive, well-detailed and successfully fits into its location in terms of both prospect and aspect.
Joint Winner - Heath House, Thorpeness (Al Scott, IF_DO Architects)
This project is a new house of strikingly contemporary architectural design which replaces an existing house built in the 1960s and located at the northern end of an unmade private road running along the clifftop. The house is designed to be a multi-generational holiday home for an extended family focused on a large communal living space on the ground floor with glazed sliding doors opening onto terraces and a garden at the front and rear. Bedrooms and extra living space are on the first floor. The house is very well planned, with a clear hierarchy of spaces and free-flowing connections between them. Overall, this impressive project is sustainable, well-detailed and well-finished and has an elegant and comfortable quality complemented by a simple planting scheme.
Highly Commended - Laureate Fields, Felixstowe (Generator Group)
Compared to other parts of East Anglia, it is still comparatively rare in East Suffolk to find new housing schemes of contemporary architectural design that avoid pastiche and have a real sense of place. The judges were pleasantly surprised however by Laureate Fields, a scheme of 195 homes of various dwelling types and tenure laid out around a landscaped square on a site of irregular shape. The scheme has a ‘porous’ layout which connects it to its surroundings by footpaths and cycle ways as well as roads. The external facing materials are from a co-ordinated but varied palette. Storey height fenestration gives added scale to the appearance of the buildings. The scheme was found to be encouraging and hope it will lead to improved housing on other sites in East Suffolk.
Highly Commended - Eastern Edge Beach Huts (Chaplin Farrant Ltd)
Although a very simple building type, beach huts are an iconic and longstanding part of British popular culture. Architecturally, what is interesting about this scheme is the way in which the designers have managed to cleverly and distinctively re-invent the type whilst maintaining a sense of seaside fun. The huts are modular and were prefabricated off site. They have been laid out in echelon which gives each hut more privacy and shelter and better orientation towards the sun. The stepped and staggered layout and the use of monopitch roofs combines to produce a striking and jaunty overall composition. Added interest is provided by subtle variations in the shades of blue used in the scheme’s overall colouring.
Nature and Landscape Award
For projects in the natural environment, concerned with matters of ecology, landscape design and/or nature regeneration.
Winner - Garden design at Willow Barn, Grundisburgh (Marc Linton Landscape Design)
The new garden at Willow Barn was created to emphasise the new entrance, perimeter hedging and the orchard and vegetable plot. The architect has included the benefits to the local environment and the surrounding wildlife by including aspects of relaxation, clever planting to enhance views and creation of a new sunny border to screen the main terrace from the gravel courtyard. Colour is a major contribution to all garden schemes and at Willow Barn there is plenty of variety including drought tolerant planting which will be a joy to look at in the summer months.