Gallery: What made these stunning buildings in Suffolk and Essex RIBA architectural award winners?

RIBA East Award winner, Broombank, Aldeburgh, by SOUP Architects, London RIBA East Award winner, Broombank, Aldeburgh, by SOUP Architects, London

Monday, April 14, 2014
10:44 AM

Stunning examples of architectural excellence in Suffolk and Essex have been recognised at the industry’s most “rigorously assessed” awards night.

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The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) East of England architecture winners, announced on Thursday night, featured six local design schemes among the 10-strong list.

Aldeburgh featured prominently in the list, with three projects, including a “refined family home”, the “sympathetically integrated” Britten-Pears Archive and an “extraordinary” minimalist timber building.

David Roy, project architect at James Gorst Architects, said he was “delighted” to be awarded for his “brick box” project on Aldehouse Drive.

“It was really well supported by the local community and great to have the approval and recognition from such an important institution,” he said.

Judges praised the “deceptively simple design” and the locally sourced brick detailing that “lends a clarity and monolithic quality” to the boxes.

Saffron Walden-based architects, Kay Pilsbury Thomas, received a special conservation award for the “beautifully judged renovation” of Finchingfield Guildhall in north Essex.

The project was praised by judges as an ”excellent example” of uncovering the history of a building, which made a “significant contribution” to the community.

Lead architect Sibyl Thomas said: “The building is now enlivened, its fabric revealing stories of the building’s past, while embracing a cacophony of current community festivals, story-times and visitor days.”

The High House Artists’ Studios project in Purfleet, Essex, won two special awards. Colchester based HAT Projects picked up the region’s Emerging Architect of the Year award and High House Production Park took Client of the Year.

Hana Loftus, director at HAT Projects, said it was a “real team effort”.

“It was a really exciting project,” she said. “There are not that many new build artists’ studios, so it was a fantastic opportunity to develop something a little bit different and we are delighted that RIBA recognised that.”

Judges described the project as an “extraordinarily economical scheme” that impressed with its “elegantly rational composition”.

Other winners included Hargood Close, an emergency housing scheme in Colchester, run by Family Mosaic and designed by Proctor & Matthews, which was recognised for its “craftsmanship and the dignity the scheme affords to its users”.

The Britten-Pears Archive in Aldeburgh, the biggest single composers archive in the world, built to commemorate the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, also won an award for Stanton Williams architects.

Judges praised the “clarity and elegance” of the “comfortably, refined and holistic” building.

Chris Grogan, director of collections at the Britten-Pears Foundation, said he was delighted the building had been recognised with an award after such an important year for the organisation.

SOUP Architects picked up the final award on the night with its Broombank project in Aldeburgh, praised for creating an “extraordinary unfolding relationship to an expansive watery landscape” with an “exemplary control of light and views”.

Project leader Patrick Walls said his team were “very excited” to pick up their first major award.

“The real aim was to re-engage with the landscape,” he said.

“It’s all about reducing the impact and making the most of the stunning views of the river Alde.”

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