Wednesday 16 November saw large numbers of society members and invited guests gather in St Peter's Church to celebrate our annual awards. Unlike last year which saw a catching-up of two years' nominations, there was a very good field for the 2016 awards.
Although the awards ceremony tends to take place in November, we do accept nominations during the course of the year. It is not possible for the Executive Committee, nor the Awards Committee, to have a full overview of work which is going on around the town; therefore we do depend upon members who are eagle-eyed and keen to promote projects which are in their ‘manor'. If you become aware of projects reaching their completion near where you live and think they are worthy of nomination, please get in touch with the Society.
Nineteen nominations had been received from a wide variety of sources, and a wide variety of project was laid before the eager, waiting audience.
We were introduced to the nominations by Dr Chris Wiltshire, our Vice-President. With his usual incisiveness and aplomb we were presented with a detailed, yet broad, account of the nominations accompanied by crisp images. (Full details and images may be found in an album in our Image Archive on Flickr, the internet photography website).
There were two residential nominations: a single dwelling (Anglesea Rd rear garden development) and a large estate (the Malcolm Road new housing estate).
The education sector was represented by the following nominations: The Atrium, a technology centre at the University of Suffolk; the Music School new building at Ipswich School and a winner, with a Commendation, Chantry Academy. It was praised for its imposing and authoritative design and the artistry in the utilisation of everyday materials - a place to be inspired by and of which to be proud. [Education Funding Agency; Kier Construction]
Two projects in the health field were: the Woolverstone Wing, Ipswich Hospital and a winner, with a Commendation: the Two Rivers Medical Centre, Woodbridge Road (right) seen as a sleek yet temperate response to the site and the needs of the clients. [Apollo Capital Projects Development; DGA ; KLH; Barnes Construction]
In the town centre there were a number of nominations. Retail projects included the Buttermarket Centre; Sailmakers development; The Walk refurbishment as well as two shop-front renovations at Jack Wills, Tavern Street and Primark in Westgate Street.
The refurbishment of two landmark buildings was both timely and arresting. At Electric House, residential reworking and dramatic topping out proved to be brave and striking; whilst Connexions, 159 Princes Street revealed a treatment of power and boldness in this important artery of the town. The nomination of 12-20 St Matthews Street was a little controversial though the impact of the repainting has resonated across the town and seemed to find mostly approval.
A quaint retail addition was Waterfront Bikes adjacent to The James Hehir Building, a delightful reworking of a disused shed. The ice house in Holywells Park, was interesting and notable for the involvement of students in its completion - always welcome.
In Whitehouse Park the Skatepark was a worthy winner, with a Commendation. A place of vibrant activity and careful beauty in concrete, the relatively small activity area was not to be missed. The detail of the half-pipes, transitions, ledges and copings was a tribute to the virtuosity of the concrete artists. [Ipswich Borough Council; North West Ipswich Big Local Trust; Wheelscape]
The winner, with a High Commendation was Quay Place. The conversion of the medieval St Mary-At-Quay Church into a wellbeing centre, Quay Place, which was delivered in a partnership between the Churches Conservation Trust (the national charity protecting historic churches at risk) and Suffolk Mind, the mental health charity. [Molyneux Kerr Architects; Bakers of Danbury]
Our Chairman, John Norman, and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Glen Chisholm, presented the awards to grateful guests who represented the clients, designers and builders involved in the winning projects. Once again, The Society was delighted with the response of the guests who expressed their thanks most graciously for the awards and the reception afterwards.