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Two properties in Aldeburgh and a Great Cornard school in line for top awards

PUBLISHED: 14:25 24 March 2017

The new £4.26m Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre in Walsham le Willows. Picture : GREGG BROWN

The new £4.26m Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre in Walsham le Willows. Picture : GREGG BROWN

Eight properties in Suffolk and Essex have been shortlisted for a prestigious architecture award.

The new Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre in Walsham le Willows. Picture : GREGG BROWNThe new Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre in Walsham le Willows. Picture : GREGG BROWN

RIBA East announced 31 nominated projects for this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Regional Awards, the most ever to reach the second stage of judging.

Among the shortlist is a drawing studio on stilts, the conversion of a derelict windmill into a holiday home, and a number of new housing schemes, all in the running after being chosen from a record number of 62 entries.

In Suffolk, those shortlisted include a £4.26million 60-bed Buddhist retreat, transforming a century-old farm into “a serene, beautiful centre that improves health and wellbeing, and enhances the spiritual life of the community”.

The Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat, is at Walsham le Willows, and was designed by Walters & Cohen Architects.

The new Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre in Walsham le Willows. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe new Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre in Walsham le Willows. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Also on the shortlist are Marsh Hill, Aldeburgh, created by Mole Architects as a modern design home which will withstand possible flooding in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Peacock House, Aldeburgh, by BHSF Architekten with Studio-P on the outskirts of the town, set in a specially designed enclosed garden.

Other Suffolk entries are The Windmill, Cockfield, converted to holiday accommodation by Beech Architects; and the £17million state-of-the-art Thomas Gainsborough School, Great Cornard, by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

In Essex, Bracelet Close, Thurrock, by Bell Phillips Architects; Redshank, by Lisa Shell Architects with Marcus Taylor; and The Echoes, Grays, by Bell Phillips Architects, are shortlisted.

Nicolas Tye, chairman of RIBA East, and past RIBA Awards judge, said: “We’ve had an amazing response to the call for award entries this year and it’s really great to see clients pushing for good design across such a broad spectrum, from schools and religious buildings through to housing schemes and one-off homes.

The Windmaill, Cockfield by Beech ArchitectsThe Windmaill, Cockfield by Beech Architects

“All the architecture practices and their clients are to be congratulated for getting this far. The jury has a difficult task on its hands.”

All shortlisted buildings will be assessed by a visiting jury during April with award winners announced on May 18 at a celebratory event at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. The event will be attended by RIBA President-Elect Ben Derbyshire and RIBA Chief Executive Alan Vallance.

Regional winners will then go forward to be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, which will be announced on June 22.

The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning buildings later in the year.

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