Thursday, 11 December 2014

2014 Georgian Group Architectural Awards sponsored by Savills: the winners

Our Architectural Awards, sponsored by international estate agents Savills and now in their twelfth year, recognise exemplary conservation and restoration projects in the United Kingdom and reward those who have shown the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings and landscapes. Awards are also given for high-quality new buildings in Georgian contexts and in the Classical tradition.

The 2014 Awards were presented by His Grace The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, shown here with Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, who received the Restoration of a Georgian Interior award for his organisation's re-presentation of the Robert Adam rooms at Kenwood. 

 

RESTORATION OF A GEORGIAN COUNTRY HOUSE
JOINT WINNERS: HENDRE HOUSE, CARNARVONSHIRE AND ST GILES HOUSE, WIMBORNE, DORSET


Hendre House is a small Regency country house in north Wales that was requisitioned during the War, then abandoned to the elements and in effect left to rot – the sort of building that could easily have joined the depressing roster of lost houses of Wales. Michael Tree, fresh from rescuing Trevor Hall in Denbighshire, has overseen a comprehensive rescue project, reroofing and consolidating the building and painstakingly reinstating the interior using the clues offered by what little survived. The results, achieved by local craftsmen, are a tour de force. The small working estate has been kept intact, with extensive restoration to drystone walls and selective relandscaping to enable the recovery of fine views across the valley. (Client Michael Tree; Conservation Architect Graham Holland; Structural Engineer Brian Morton)

St Giles House, Dorset  is a complex, multi-phase house but essentially 1660; the architect is unknown but Inigo Jones’s influence is evident in the classical north and east fronts. The landscape is C18. In the C20 it fell into poor repair and a Victorian wing was demolished, leaving unresolved and scarred elevations. The recent restoration reinstates Hardwick’s stone loggia and resolves the truncation caused by the demolition of the Hardwick wing. The principal interiors, including the Library, the South and North Drawing Rooms, the White Halls and the Great Dining Room, have also been restored, as have several garden buildings, notably the grotto, castellated arch and pepperpot lodges. All this demonstrates commendable commitment on the part of a new, young owner who has assumed his inheritance with gusto but also with great care: the conservation work shows a light touch, radically so in places, and is underpinned by exhaustive scholarly research.  (Client The Earl of Shaftesbury; Conservation Architect Philip Hughes Associates)


RESTORATION OF A GEORGIAN INTERIOR

WINNER: KENWOOD HOUSE


At Kenwood House, recent conservation has focused partly on restoring the house; extensive work included remedial intervention, including repairs to the hipped lantern over the Adam stair, to protect the historic interiors. Beneath all this, the great ‘Adam Sweep’ of interiors has been redecorated and refurnished to recover its appearance as newly built or remodelled by Robert Adam for the first Earl of Mansfield in the 1770s; at last, in these key interiors, we see Adam as Adam intended, not the bastardised Adam compromised by later overlays. The transformation is especially compelling in the library, where the familiar gilt has been banished, and in the ante-room, where the light blue decorative scheme has been recovered. Change of this sort can be challenging; we have become accustomed to a particular aesthetic and Adam in full cry is not necessarily for the fainthearted. Happily, English Heritage have been far from that. This is conviction conservation, and we should congratulate them for carrying it through. (Client/project management English Heritage)


RESTORATION OF A GEORGIAN BUILDING IN AN URBAN SETTING

WINNER; LLANELLY HOUSE, CARMARTHENSHIRE


The project to restore Llanelly House in Carmarthenshire has brought new life not just to a building but to a town badly in need of regeneration. Built exactly 300 years ago, this fine townhouse for Sir Thomas Stepney eventually became a shop and then fell into dereliction. A comprehensive and meticulously-researched restoration and reinstatement project, involving extensive archaeology, has focussed on the Great Hall, the Stair Hall, the drawing room and Sir Thomas’s study. Wider townscape improvements have included the rerouting of a road immediately outside the house that cut it off from the parish church opposite. Now a Genealogy Centre serving the local community, the building is a powerful symbol of urban renewal and shows the socio-economic value of heritage-led regeneration. (Craig Hamilton Architects and Austin Smith Lord Architects for Carmarthenshire Heritage Regeneration Trust)


REUSE OF A GEORGIAN BUILDING

WINNER: ST GEORGE'S CHURCH, GREAT YARMOUTH

St George’s Chapel in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk is a Grade I deconsecrated church of the 1710s. It was converted to theatre use in the 1970s, then fell vacant and was a building at risk by 2009. Now it has been restored with a commendably light touch, the watchword being retention of patina so that the building has kept the scars, age spots and imperfections that lend it personality and character – so much better than an over-zealous facelift. The removal of 1970s interventions and the revealing of overpainted scagliola have transformed the interior, which has been reused as a performing arts space. The interior volumes have remained uncluttered courtesy of a clever decision to provide supplementary space in a new pavilion, a beautifully crafted composition by Hopkins Architects. (Client: Great Yarmouth Borough Council; Architects Hopkins)

RESTORATION OF A GEORGIAN GARDEN OR LANDSCAPE

WINNER; PAINSHILL, SURREY


Painshill Landscape Garden, Surrey will be known to many of us as one of the superlative landscape restoration projects of the post-war period. Conducted over the past thirty years, it has seen the rescue of an entirely derelict and overgrown landscape garden designed in the 1760s by Charles Hamilton. This has culminated in the restoration over the past eighteen months of the five–arch Palladian Bridge and lake vista, the Woollett Bridge, the Chinese Bridge and the Crystal Grotto. This last is probably the finest stalactite Grotto in Europe; its restoration is the fruit of extensive archival and archaeological research. Hundreds of thousands of crystals – calcite, gypsum, quartz and fluorite –have been embedded with lime mortar onto a framework of inverted wooden cones, to recreate the effect of the original folly. All this recent work complements earlier restoration and consolidation of the Gothick Temple, the Ruined Abbey and the Turkish Tent. (Cliveden Conservation et al for the Painshill Trust)


NEW BUILDING IN THE CLASSICAL TRADITION

JOINT WINNERS: CHITCOMBE HOUSE, DORSET AND CRUCIS PARK, GLOS


Chitcombe House in Dorset is a 5-bay house faced in ashlar and flint. The entrance side has a faintly Dutch character, deriving from seventeenth century precedents. In the centre of the facade, up a flight of curved steps, is the front door, with its open segmental pediment and Gibbsian blocked architrave enriched by recessed squares of knapped flints. It is partly this use of local materials that allows the house to sit comfortably in the landscape, without bombast or self-aggrandizement. Viewed from closer quarters, it reveals itself as an intriguing and nuanced melding of influences, the careful craftsmanship carried through to the interior spaces. (Stuart Martin Architects for a private client) 


Crucis Park in Gloucestershire replaces a 1960s house at the centre of a large estate, creating a focal point worthy of the setting. Built of locally-quarried stone with Clipsham stone dressings, it is a subtle and fluid evocation of classical principles. Again, a mix of sources from Baroque to Schinkel is used as inspiration, giving a result that manages to be playful as well as imposing. As ever, the secret lies in the disciplined, rigorous application of diverse sources. (Yiangou Architects for a private client)

THE GILES WORSLEY AWARD FOR A NEW BUILDING IN A GEORGIAN CONTEXT


WINNER: THE NADLER HOTEL, LONDON

The Nadler Hotel in London replaces a 1960s office building with a facade attuned to Soho’s urban grain and seventeenth century street pattern. Essentially this is a grid, with Soho Square as a focal point; as a result, long axes and viewing corridors are created. How these are terminated is a key aspect of town planning. In the mid-twentieth century, the art of closing a view of this kind was sometimes forgotten. This is a case in point and we celebrate this new building, with its restrained but powerful detailing, as an example of the recovery of that subtle art. The double-height Ionic entrance storey, on axis with the western entrance to Soho Square, is a civilised and theatrical backdrop that gives order and meaning back to the streetscape. As the poet almost said, no building is an island, entire of itself, and the architect here has shown the wit and humility to recognise that his design is one element in a greater work of art.  (Robert Adam of Adam Architecture for Nadler Hotels)

2 comments:

  1. Uplifting! Congratulations to all involved: it's wonderful to see modern craftsmanship and beautiful restorations of lovely buildings. No. 1 Royal Crescent in Bath also a worthy runner-up.

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  2. I tended to distrust awards given by real estate companies, but they seemed to have come to the right conclusions. Well done!

    Your key sentence was about conservation work being underpinned by exhaustive scholarly research. Hard work when all the written records and photos are available; bloody hard work when they are not available.

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