Gallery: Balancing Barn, The Apex and Bavent House - the region’s best buildings revealed

A TRIO of Suffolk’s most awe-inspiring buildings have been rated among the best of the region’s architecture.

Balancing Barn near Aldeburgh, The Apex at Bury St Edmunds and Southwold’s Bavent House have been recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The Advanced Dental Clinic in Chelmsford, Essex, was also saluted for its design.

They were all among a dozen buildings across Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire to be nominated for the institute’s East of England awards.

The precarious-looking Balancing Barn, perched over the edge of a slope, is one of the most eye-catching designs on the shortlist.

But Frans Dewitte, the Dutch-based project architect behind the barn, said despite appearances it was a relatively simple building.


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“It’s all a matter of counterbalancing, it’s a very simple structure really,” he said. “We just had more concrete on the land side. If you walk into the building where it is hanging it moves slightly and that just adds to the fun of the building.”

He added: “We are delighted with the nomination and understand it to be both a support for our well-balanced design as well as a support for the mission to introduce contemporary architecture in people’s minds.”

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Jim Greaves, senior partner at Hopkins Architects, who designed The Apex, said: “We are delighted that our scheme for Bury St Edmunds has been shortlisted for an RIBA award.

“This is recognition that we have successfully incorporated this mixed use retail led scheme as a ‘new quarter’ for this historic town.”

Louise Todd, regional director at RIBA East, said: “The awards reflect the diversity of architecture and recognise the wide variety of specialist skills involved in delivering good buildings.

“They reward the best buildings throughout the region, allowing for responses to local contexts of style, scale and materials.

“The awards programme will continue to set ever higher standards for architecture for its members and to promote the results to the public.”

The shortlisted buildings will learn if they have won a RIBA award on May 19. Successful candidates will then be eligible for the RIBA Stirling Prize, which is handed to those behind the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the last year.

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