Wednesday 20 November saw a full house at St Peter's By The Waterfront for the Society's Awards Evening 2013. Tony Marsden introduced the event with a tribute to Russell Nunn who was a central figure in the Society's Awards for many years (see the article on page 16). The Mayor, Hamil Clarke MBE, and Mayoress of Ipswich attended to present the awards.
Vice-President of the Society, Bob Allen, gave his customary 'light touch' survey of the twenty projects which the judges deliberated over with an entertaining and thoughtful commentary on the accompanying slide show. It is inevitable in times of recession that the number of building, landscaping and sculptural schemes in the town is not as it was in the 1990s, for example. However, there were some interesting entries, many suggested by Society members and they include some which members of the audience may not have known about.
A High Commendation was awarded to the refurbishment of the interior of Lloyds Bank on the Cornhill. The late nineteenth century plasterwork has been respected and a restrained colour scheme gives a feeling of space and light in the grand banking hall. You can always pop in and have a look at the interior.
A Commendation was awarded to the Pegasus sculpture 52 Degrees North on the Latitude development at Ravenswood.
A Commendation was also awarded to Ipswich Borough Council for the re-paving of St Margaret's Plain at the top of Northgate Street. Bob Allen drew attention to the good record in attention to paving in Ipswich by the local authority. Removal of kerbside barriers and opening-up of the junctions for pedestrians and cyclists has been very successful.
Some might argue about the inclusion of some of the projects in the long list: the standard Burger King drive-in at the end of West End Road, the Academy School chain's standard development at Brazier's Wood, the 'almost standard' Premier Inn between Star Lane and Key Street among others. It points to the times in which we live and the current drivers of new buildings in the town. Apparently the longest and liveliest discussion by the judging panel was provoked by the deliberations on the extensive works at the Greyfriars/Willis building intersection at the bottom of Civic Drive: big open spaces, planting, seating and again the empowerment of the pedestrian over the vehicle. The debate will no doubt continue. Thanks to Tony Marsden, Bob Allen, our judges and the winners and volunteers.