Developments in Ipswich are beginning to look up, if The Ipswich Society members' nominations for awards are a good pointer - eleven in 2000, thirteen in 2001 and nineteen in 2002. With such a goodly number of projects to hear described and to be shown on the screen, it made for a fascinating occasion, even though our six judges failed to find a nomination worthy of our highest Award of Distinction. There were however four High Commendations and three Commendations.
This is the Society's most important event of the year. Many regular activities, such as studying and discussing planning applications, take place behind the scenes. And, indeed, a great deal of "hidden" work goes into setting up the Awards Scheme, done as usual by the Society's Awards organiser, Russell Nunn. But the Annual Awards constitute the more public presence of the Society. It was pleasing therefore that the new venue at Suffolk College was so suitable, that our former Chairman Chris Wiltshire returned to present and shrewdly comment on the nominations, that John Norman had designed a computer programme of slides operated beautifully smoothly - and that the College provided some good food to round off the evening!
After our Chairman, Jack Chapman, had welcomed members and guests, the Assistant Principal of Suffolk College, Peter Funnell, outlined the College's achievements and future aims, the main one being to create a university campus for Suffolk.
Chris Wiltshire's comments on all the nominated projects were partly based on the opinions of the six judges but spiced with inimitable remarks of his own. This is a sample of what was said:
Christchurch Square, Bolton Lane.
Good use of worthy old building with welcome increase of housing in town centre. Involved a lot of new structural work.
Scholars Mews, Devereux Court, Bolton Lane.
New town houses behind the old school. A place to enjoy living in. Windows flush to the brickwork create a relentless effect.
Mortimer's Restaurant, Duke Street/Fore Hamlet.
Respectful treatment of an honest industrial building (electricity sub-station). Well chosen lettering and painting. Clock restored.
Sir Bobby Robson statue, Portman Road.
Good representation. Not its final resting place. The town hasn't sufficiently celebrated its famous people.
Coe's, 20-28 Norwich Road.
An impressive statement of confidence and intent. Dramatic appearance although rather monolithic at the sides. (Photos below.)
Churchman's House, Portman Road.
This divided the judges. Does the new superstructure sit well on this 1920s/30s building? A striking new development, especially at night.
Northern Quays (Common Quay and Neptune Quay) paving scheme.
Nicely patterned paving for this important area. Seats pleasing, although somewhat vandallsed already. Chains a good idea but they do collect rubbish.
Fore Street, Star Lane to Salthouse Street paving scheme.
A useful improvement to what used to be one of our best streets. Some blocks cut in awkward ways lead the eye astray.
New multi-storey car park at Ipswich Railway Station.
Good parking but not as userfriendly as one would like. Not the ideal colour green.
New Piper's Vale Community Primary School.
A bold design which ought to be inspirational to children and families. Architecturally a few awkward features.
Curve Bar, Civic Drive/Princes Street.
A tidy refurbishment; nothing specially worthy.
Peacock's Store, Eastgate, Carr Street.
Noted with interest.
NCP Car park, Tower Ramparts: new iron fences and arches.
Tidied up and looks purposeful. Pleasant railings. Trees blown down in recent gale.
Ragged School, Waterworks Street : conversion into 16 flats.
Attractive Dutch gable facade lifted up and moved back. Big improvement but concrete tiles and lots of tarmac car park.
New Skateboard Park, Stoke Bridge.
A creditable innovation. Well used.
Ipswich Town F C, new North and South Stands.
Good to keep stadium close to town centre, but a disaster for the built environment. Did lighting gantries need to be so prominent?
Nacton Road, highway improvement Ransomes Way to Maryon Road.
Example for elsewhere - makes a more pleasant entry into town. Could cycle path have been integrated more?
12-26 St Clement's Church Lane, conversion of warehouse and new building to make flats.
An improvement to street scene from run down warehouse. A lot of uPVC at back.
Cawthorne, 80 St George's Street, new house.
Good use of very difficult site. The front a little bland but back view has wealth of good details and surfaces. (Photo below.)
The 2002 Awards:
The Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Richard Risebrow, acting, as the Society's President, then presented the following successful owners, designers and contractors with their certificates.
HIGH COMMENDATION for Christchurch Square conversion of school to flats.
Client and Contractor: Nell Davies Ltd
Design: Wincer Kievenaar Partnership and Abbotts Development and Design
HIGH COMMENDATION for Mortimer's Seafood Restaurant.
Client: Ken Ambler
Design: Mullins, Dowse and Partners
Contractors: W A Hills Ltd
HIGH COMMENDATION for paving scheme at Common and Neptune Quays
Client: East of England Development Agency and Ipswich Borough Council
Design: KLH Architects Ltd and Ipswich Borough Council
Contractor: Ipswich Borough Council (Photo below.)
HIGH COMMENDATION for Piper's Vale Community Primary School.
Client and Design: Suffolk County Council Contractor: Farrans (Construction) Ltd
COMMENDATION for Coe's Store new extension
Client: Coe's Design: Poole and Pattie
Contractor: Elliston, Steady and Hawes Ltd (Photo page 4.)
COMMENDATION for Nacton Road highway improvements
Client, Design and Contractor: Ipswich Borough Council
COMMENDATION for new house, Cawthorne, 80 St George's Street
Client: J Hawkshaw
Design: Keith and Garry Johns
Contractor: V A Marriott Ltd (Photo page 5.)
Chairman Jack Chapman thanked all concerned, we went into the next room for some excellent refreshments, and everybody must have gone home having had an enjoyable evening.