This month sees the launch of the 2013 Southern Staffordshire Building Design Awards. The Awards, run by the Southern Staffordshire Partnership, seek to promote achievement of excellence in design and construction of buildings and spaces across the south of the County. There is an award for the best scheme in southern Staffordshire, and a further award for a local architect who has made a significant contribution to a scheme any where in the world
Commenting Jeff Marlow, Partnership Director said “We are committed to continually raising the standards of design in the built environment and this Awards scheme is one of a series of measures to underpin this and make southern Staffordshire an attractive place in which to live, work and invest. We have 2 award categories which seek to recognise high standards of design in southern Staffordshire, and one to recognise the contribution that our local architects can make to building design worldwide. Last year this category was limited to the schemes in the UK but this time we thought why not make it worldwide as we know of several architects in southern Staffordshire who are contributing to major schemes in the US, Europe and the Far East”.
The south of the County has a growing reputation for quality design in buildings, be it new build, refurbishment or conservation work. This has been supported over the past few years by an Awards programme and monthly Design Review Panels. The Panels bring together local architects and planners who provide peer advice to new building proposals. The aim is to give a constructive and informed steer to help ensure we secure the best in quality design for the area. The Awards have been running since 2006 and we have seen a variety of buildings selected as the winning exemplars and these have included the Garrick Theatre in Lichfield, St Dominics School in Brewood, and most recently the JCB Academy in Rocester.
The JCB Academy saw the reuse, conversion and development of a former Arkwright Cotton Mill, transforming it into a new state of the art modern Academy with associated landscaped campus, sustainable construction and technologies, new build teaching block and engineering workshops. The Mill’s regeneration was an extremely complex £22M project involving sensitive restoration of the grade II listed structure, the addition of sympathetic but contemporary new buildings, and comprehensive landscape design.
It is important that the design of a building is not just aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it is also energy efficient, and most critically recognises and responds to the needs of the end user. The previous winners all did just that – and you only have to ask anyone who works or studies in the JCB Academy what a good building it is to be in. It is easy to get from area to another, has plenty of artificial and natural light, cleverly mixes the contemporary with the modern, and is pleasing to the eye.
The Awards are sponsored by Staffordshire Life and Entry Forms and Guidance Notes are attached
The Awards are open to architects, developers, builders, in fact anyone involved in a building, public realm or refurbishment project anywhere within the districts of Cannock Chase, Lichfield, South Staffordshire and Tamworth. Entries are invited for any scheme completed between June 2011 and the end of May this year with a shortlist being drawn over the summer. An independent judging panel, led by Midland Architecture and Design Environment (MADE), will view and visit individual schemes early in the autumn and an Awards Luncheon will be held later in the year.
The last Design Awards was held in 2011 and the winning scheme was the JCB Academy in Rocester with several highly commended schemes including the Compassus Centre at St Giles Hospice in Whittington and the Burnhill Green rural residential development in south Staffordshire. This year the Partnership is looking to work with Universities, Colleges and schools to promote the importance of design to young people and to also involve them in drawing up display board for each of the schemes.
The Awards are co-sponsored by Staffordshire Life and details are available from District and Borough Councils (Cannock Chase, Lichfield, South Staffordshire and Tamworth)