This was another successful and enlightening conclusion to the 2019 celebration of our town's acquisition of new structures and projects.
We gathered on a chilly night in St Peter's On The Waterfront where, in the absence of the Vice Chairman, the Society’s Hon. Secretary Caroline Markham conducted the ceremonies. It was pleasing to see that our Executive Committee contains a fine variety of personalities who can front such an occasion with assurance and aplomb. Members of the audience commented on the ability we have to be balanced and equitable in this manner.
Our Vice President Bob Allen took charge of the presentation of the nominations for this year's awards, the presentation having been prepared by Tony Marsden, the Vice Chairman.
In a typically thoughtful and probing account of the proceedings leading to the final announcements of successful contenders, Bob was broad in his praise of the variety of entrants and incisive in his commentary. He indicated the ways in which projects architecturally enhance the character of the place, improve – with good materials and workmanship – and impact on the street scene of the town.
As one might expect there were nominations from business, domestic, residential and the public realm projects. A majority of the nominations were to do with houses or apartments which have been finished, refurbished or improved during the year with the impressive Belgrove Place, the old St Clement’s Hospital (listed grade 2) off Foxhall Road, attaining a High Commendation and Foundry House opposite the central library in Old Foundry Road earned a fine Commendation.
In the business sphere there were two awards: the Easy Hotel in Northgate Street earned a Commendation with consideration given to the reuse of a fine old Ipswich building based on the original Assembly Rooms. However, the refurbishment and conversion of Princes Street Maltings was considered to be of such significance in its treatment of another landmark building in the important portal to the town that it deserved an award of Distinction.
In the realm of public works the outstanding transformation of Maple Park Playground (Rendlesham Road – Ainslie Road in West Ipswich), with the award of Distinction was a superb example of how the needs of a little-regarded part of town can be heard and responded to with style and agility by the Council. It focused on the hopes of residents and their aspirations for the area in a climax to the evening which was tremendous.
We have, once again, to thank the committee and volunteers for assisting with the evening – the food and drink were welcomed. We must also applaud the panel of judges whose time and consideration produced a collection of projects which reflected the variety and vivacity of the town.
We were pleased to welcome a large number of guests, residents, builders, developers and Council officials alongside a slightly reduced membership attendance. Perhaps the temperature of the venue was not sufficiently warmed by the evening’s events; in any case, this might be our last use of this splendid church for the time being.
All of the projects feature in the album Awards 2020 in our Image Archive on Flickr accessible via our website home page. Incidentally, albums exist of the winners and nominations for many recent years, the earliest being 1977 – once again all visible on our Image Archive.
[All photographs except Princes Street Maltings by Tony Marsden]
Above: Belgrove Place, High Commendation
Above: EasyHotel, Commendation
Above: Foundry House, Commendation
Above: Princes Street Maltings, Distinction
Above: Maple Park Playground, Distinction