Clare Priory extension wins top honour in RICS design awards

Dayle Bayliss of Dayle Bayliss Associates and Alex Till of Menta, centre, receive the award for @The

Dayle Bayliss of Dayle Bayliss Associates and Alex Till of Menta, centre, receive the award for @TheRec in Stowmarket at the RICS East of England Awards. - Credit: Archant

An extension to the historic Clare Priory in west Suffolk has taken top honours in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ annual East of England Awards.

The extension, required to accommodate a growing congregation, won the Building Conservation category of the awards, announced at a ceremony held at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, and was then selected from among all eight category winners as overall Project of the Year.

Judges described the extension, which is accessed via an arcade formed through a 19th Century infill of the original flint rubble walls, as “contemporary without being strident”.

“As well as providing an excellent example of conservation work, the new build is of a high quality design and construction. Furthermore, the priory has enhanced facilities that benefit the existing and wider communities,” they added.

The extension was designed by Inkpen Downie Architecture & Design of Colchester, on behalf of the Order of Hermit Friars of St Augustine, with the Daniel Connal Partnership acting as surveyor and T J Evers as contractor.

Highly commended in the same category was a project at Letheringham Lodge, near Woodbridge, for which The Whitworth Co-Partnership of Bury St Edmunds and Norwich was surveyor and architect, with R & J Hogg Ltd as contractor.

There was also a second win for Suffolk with the Regeneration award going to @TheRec, a café and training space created out of two “upcycled” shipping containers to provide support to businesses and entrepreneurs.

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Surveyor for the project, carried out on behalf of enterprise agency Menta and Stowmarket Town Council, was Dayle Bayliss Associates, from Bentley, near Ipswich, with the town council acting as developer.

The judges said: “The innovative and eye-catching use of containers to create a new café and meeting space, together with toilet facilities, has created a major change in the character and use of this recreation area.”

Other category winners included: Commercial – Holkham Studios, Norfolk; Design through Innovation – Crome Court, University of East Anglia, Norwich; Community Benefit – The Forum, Southend-on-Sea, Essex; Residential – St. Bede’s Independent Living Scheme, Bedford; Tourism & Leisure – Lakeside Visitor Centre, Peterborough; and Infrastructure – Freedom Bridge Retaining Wall, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.