The Awards Evening is usually the most interesting single event in the Society's year. I think it should always be held even if none of the nominated projects is deemed worthy of any level of award. Members like to hear what our panel of judges have said about recently completed new schemes in Ipswich. If the quality is poor in any particular year, let it be said! But this year there were seventeen nominations from members and most were well worth considering.
Chris Wiltshire once again lit up the evening with his perceptive and witty comments as he presented the photographs of all the nominations on screen. In introducing him Jack Chapman said that Chris sometimes "ruffles a few feathers" -- and had leave to do so! Yes, there was a little ruffling, as you may see below, but it keeps listeners on the edge of their seats.
In a brief introduction Chris said that the sheer volume of building in Ipswich was almost bewildering and the quality often mediocre, even though standards overall had improved. In the 1980s the Society felt grateful if the new buildings weren't terrible, whereas today we are spared "the really awful". However, he had a personal bete noir -- huge banners that stay up for ages advertising new building projects.
So, these are the seventeen nominations which I list in full for members who weren't present, together with a tiny sample of Wiltshire wisdom.
- Grimwade Memorial Hall, Fore Hamlet -- conversion of old building and new extension for housing; impressive landmark saved; the new complements the old; good workmanship.
- Cabmen's Shelter, Christchurch Park -- major restoration of shelter originally built for Cornhill; superb attention to detail with new carvings.
- Jeain Residential Home , 322 Colchester Road -- very skilful extension which is hard to spot.
- Pemberton House, Curriers Lane, new building for SCC Community Education -- quite exciting but perhaps too much going on in a small space.
- Orwells Furniture, 497-9 Wherstead Road -- made by this local company for own use; cleverly built around existing structure; marvellous gate but set back and may not be much noticed.
- St Joseph's College Junior School, Birkfield Drive -- four new classrooms in slightly curved block; lots of good ideas; quirky and joyous.
- Curson Lodge, 45-47 St Nicholas Street -- restoration of important buildings. Successful compromise between restoration and conservation.
- St Mary at the Elms Church, Elm Street -- three new niche sculptures; welcome consolidation of the niches and sculptures; perhaps the flush block-like sculptures overfill, the niches.
- Orwell Quay, Persimmon's major development of flats, houses and restaurant -- flats built on an impressive terrace and interestingly not parallel with dock; ubiquitous "ginger" materials on front; drab barracks-like housing at rear.
- New house at 2 Tomline Road -- a brave statement; something different, but a "sad orphan".
- AXA Building, Civic Drive -- recladding of office block in pale grey; pleasant and inoffensive.
- Ipswich Central, Franciscan Way -- recladding of St Francis Tower; tidies it up.
- Ipaxis, Wolsey Street, new apartments -- a big scheme with some striking elements; "world's finest collection of downpipes"; ground floor car parking visually "insensitive to pedestrians".
- Fonnereau Gardens, Fonnereau Road, former hospital into flats -- pleasant use of properties but like a complex of buildings nailed together.
- Former airport terminal, Ravenswood, residential conversion -- "a sad place because we lost an airport and left Norwich and Cambridge to provide it"; front on Nacton Road more successful.
- Foxgrove Gardens, Foxhall Road, new gates -- brightens up the area; whimsical.
- Mariners' Court, Wherstead Road, new apartments -- honest building; good cornices and eaves.
The awards were then announced and our President, the Mayor, Councillor Inga Lockington, presented the framed certificates to the various winners as follows.
- AN AWARD OF DISTINCTION for Curson Lodge, St Nicholas Street. Certificates were presented to Ipswich Building Preservation Trust (client), Hilary Brightman (design), R G Carter Ipswich Ltd (contractor).
- AN AWARD OF DISTINCTION for the Cabmen's Shelter, Christchurch Park. Ipswich Borough Council was client, designer and contractor.
- A HIGH COMMENDATION for Grimwade Memorial Hall, Fore Hamlet. Braceforce Properties Ltd (client and contractor), Wincer Kievenaar (design).
- A HIGH COMMENDATION for St Joseph's College Junior School. St Joseph's College (client), Wincer Kievenaar (design), R G Carter Ipswich Ltd (contractor).
- A COMMENDATION for Orwells Furniture, Wherstead Road. Orwells Furniture (client and contractor), KLH Architects Ltd (design).
- A COMMENDATION for decorative steel gates, Foxgrove Gardens, Foxhall Road. Barratt Eastern Counties (client), Paul Richardson (designer and contractor).
Jack Chapman thanked all concerned, especially Chris Wiltshire, Tony Hill who took most of the photographs and Russell Nunn who organised the nominations and judging. People then adjourned to the restaurant for drinks, nibbles and animated conversation.