Excellence in design honoured at awards

THREE building projects in Suffolk and Essex are among seven schemes honoured in the 2010 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) East of England Awards.

Among them is the new Aldeburgh Music Creative Campus, designed by London architects Haworth Tompkins, which involved a mixture of conversion work and new build at the Snape Maltings complex.

Existing parts of the maltings have been used to create studios and support spaces while new orchestral rehearsal and recital rooms have been added to the structure.

The work involved major structural works to stabilise the delicate original fabric, protect the development against flooding and achieve optimal acounstic quality.

Extensive use was made of salvaged materials while the design also embraced low energy and natural lighting and locally sourced new materials.

It is the second honour for the project in seven days, with the development having also won the Conservation category in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) regional awards last week.

The second Suffolk RIBA winner is Martello Tower Y at Bawdsey, which has been converted into a private residence to a design by London architects Piercy Conner.

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With the tower being a scheduled monument on the “At Risk” register, and located in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the design process was a complex one and involved a multi-disciplinary team.

Designed to be sensitive to the monument and its setting, a new curving roof extension and a re-sculpted interior were accepted by planners as striking a balance between modern requirements and the need for historical conservation.

The Essex winner is the new Salvation Army building in Chelmsford, designed by Hudson Architects of Norwich

Constructed entirely of timber and cloaked in an undulating zinc roof, the centre provides 900sq m of accommodation. It features a cross-laminated timber panel system, akin to jumbo plywood, which offers all the advantages of reinforced concrete without the environmental cost.

The other regional winners were the refurbishment of a listed dining hall at Downing College, Cambridge (Caruso St John Architects, London); the Creative Exchange building for start-up businesses in St Neots, Cambridgeshire (5th Studio, Cambridge); the new hostry at Norwich cathedral (Hopkins Architects, London); and an extension to Hunsett Mill at Stalham, Norfolk (Acme Ltd, London).

Louise Todd, regional director at RIBA East, said: “Yet again, the East of England has proved that it is a leading light in architectural excellence.

“Each project is unique in its own way and shows how really good buildings can make a difference to individuals, communities and businesses alike.”

The shortlist for the national RIBA Stirling Prize will be drawn up from among a total of 102 regional winners around the country. The prize will be presented at The Roundhouse, London on October 2.