Wychavon Design Awards 2009

February 11th 5.00pm
Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Pershore

Every two years Wychavon District Council run the Building Design Awards to recognise building projects that show real design quality, craftsmanship and sustainable building practices.
If you’re a Builder, Project Manager, Architect or property owner, there are so many benefits to winning these awards.
The awards provide real recognition to public and peers as well as a raised profile within the industry. In this green age the sustainability aspect of the awards also provides real acclaim.
Winners will benefit from media exposure at a high profile awards ceremony and receive a plaque for the building providing long lasting public recognition.
All combined, this adds genuine appeal and saleability when marketing the property, enhances reputations and provides a certificate for your wall to mark your success.

Awards are broken down into the following categories:

1. Heritage Award – for the conservation of a historic building or new work within an historic context
2. Home Award – for a new build
3. Home Award – for extensions and conversions
4. Sustainability Award – for projects demonstrating high standards of energy conservation or sustainable construction
5. Community Architecture Award – for projects that serve the community. e.g. Village Halls, Schools,etc.

After a reception in the Showell Suite at the Civic Centre, The Development Contol Meeting  started at 6.15pm. At item 4,  I opened the awards with a few words:-

Wychavon Building Design Awards 2009
Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to the presentation of the Wychavon Building Design Awards for 2009…
Good design is more than just ‘good looks’. It means that buildings and spaces function, in a way that adds to the quality of life for all those who use and experience them, and whilst this may be particularly true for public building, it can equally be applied to a new private dwelling on a residential street or a unit on one of our employment sites. We, at Wychavon, have been promoting good design through our Building Design Awards since the year 2000, and in that time, we have publically recognised and rewarded some 50 or so projects that have demonstrated high design quality, local distinctiveness and craftsmanship. The Awards not only celebrate excellence in building design but also recognise how important it is for developments today to have sound eco credentials as well,  including sustainable construction methods, materials and renewable energy. All  these factors are reflected in many of our award winners this evening. Design in this context is high on many agendas; national, regional, local and indeed it is on our agenda later this evening as the Committee will be considering the first draft of a new building design guide which will help spell out and reinforce this Council’s commitment to good design – conserving and enhancing all that’s special about the character of our towns, villages and rural areas. We recognise the importance of well designed buildings to the social, economic and environmental well being of our communities, buildings which respect and reinforce our local distinctiveness – but we do not want to shy away from new and exciting architecture which inspires our architects and the local construction industry – it is the mundane and the mediocre which we are striving to move away from. The Wychavon Building Design Awards are part of that process and we are proud to recognise and reward the efforts made by the owners, designers, architects, builders and developers, who’s projects demonstrate that the mundane and mediocre have no place in Wychavon. Before we move to make the actual awards I would just like to thank the members of the assessment panel, led by the chairman of the Development Control Committee, Councillor Mrs Jean Dowty and including representatives from all our Civic Societies and MADE, the regional architecture centre. Their interest and active participation brings a hugely valuable external dimension, leading to some lively debate and helping to raise the profile of the Awards. I would also like to thank Jim Burgin for all the work he and his team have put in to make these awards the success they are. So without further ado I’ll hand over to Jim Burgin to announce the first of the awards…..

Jim then read out the various citations list below and I had the pleasure of presenting the awards to rightly delighted recipients.


The first Award is in the Sustainable Development category and this is awarded to Elmley Castle Village Hall for their extensive renewable energy adaptations to the Village Hall with the objective of significantly reducing their carbon footprint. Bold yet sensitive siting of photovoltaic panels to the roof and air source heat pumps to the rear of the building have resulted in significant energy reduction and has made the hall self sufficient in electricity. The judges commented: It’s good to see the sustainability ethos being embedded at the local level and the exciting use of existing technologies to achieve wider benefits for the community This project should be an exemplar for other village halls and public buildings.

The second is a Commendation in the New  Homes category and this goes to Mr and Mrs Creese for Ashbee at Ashton under Hill. This new property on the site of a previous dwelling blends traditional construction methods and materials with the needs of contemporary living space. Its form and detailing respect its location on the slopes of Bredon Hill, retaining the visual proportions of a traditional rural building whilst in practice delivering a ridge height only marginally higher than a bungalow.  The judges commented: There is strong evidence of a craftsmanship approach to this building, understanding both the wishes of the client, the needs of the local planning authority and the particular constraints and opportunities offered by the site and for that it is to be commended.

The next Category is for Community Architecture, and first we have a Commendation for INDY Enabled Living in Evesham. This unique initiative, to provide a ‘try before you buy’ facility for a vast range of mobility products is sited in a purposed designed building at Vale Park in Evesham. The building complements a previous Award winner adjacent and is notable for its use of contemporary materials and striking design and construction methods which continues to raise the design standards of buildings in this employment area. The judges commented: The architect is to be commended on the elegant and contemporary design with an excellent quality and finish to the construction. This is then taken a stage further by tailoring the internal and external space to meet the particular needs of the client and end user.

The Award winner in the Community Architecture category goes to the Evesham Leisure Centre. The architects were Roberts – Limbrick  and construction was by Galliford Try. With its striking use of colour, forms and contrasting materials, the new leisure centre has the qualities to stand as a new landmark  development for the town. Sited against the sensitive backdrops of the Bell Tower one way and the river Avon the other, the building’s form respects but does not compete with these features. Internally, form follows function with intelligent use of light and space. Other environmental benefits include removal of contaminents and soil remediation following the sites former land fill use and a range of ecological mitigation measures. The judges commented: This much needed facility will be a fantastic resource for the town, further enhanced by the very visible and tactile use of materials and forms, both inside and out. These all help to create a new place of distinct character.

The next Category is Heritage and firstly we award a Commendation for the restoration of and alterations to Western House in Bridge Street, Pershore. This Grade II listed building was formerly a doctors surgery before becoming subdivided into flats. The present owners have carefully and sensitively restored the principal listed building, returning it to its former glory as a single dwelling with magnificent gardens stretching down to the river. A thoroughly craftsmanship approach to the internal  works and architectural reinstatement are matched by the quality of the  alterations to the rear and the whole now sits as an exemplar of faithful and sensitive restoration and alteration in a listed building context.

The Distinction in Building Award in this category goes to the Abbey Gate development in Evesham. The architects were Eastabrook Architects and the builders were D A Cook. This complex of Grade 1 listed buildings surrounded by Scheduled Ancient Monument presented a real conservation and regeneration challenge. Prior to redevelopment the buildings were used as offices and the site as a builders yard. Now it is presented as a mixed use development incorporating the listed buildings converted into apartments and offices with complementary new build residential to the rear. Careful and sensitive restoration sits comfortably alongside contemporary elements and the whole is set against the reinstated communal gardens. The judges commented: This development has been born out of a real desire to get it right. It displays excellent detailing and layout to reinforce its historical importance and create a strong sense of place and thoroughly deserves its Heritage Award.

Lastly there was a project that the judges could not easily categorise as it really fell to be considered in more than one category. We have decided therefore to make a special award for a project that distinguishes itself in both the Heritage and the sustainability categories and this goes to Hill Top Farm at Grafton Flyford for the particularly sensitive restoration of the listed building using traditional materials and techniques married to the integration of advanced renewable energy measures and thermal strategy. The architects were Poole-Phillips Architects and the building contractors were Hill and Heaton. Its success lies in the combination of solar panels, wind turbine, natural wool insulation and lime render with more innovative measures such as an intelligent heating system, underfloor heating and integrated vacuum cleaning system, all within the context of a listed building whose architecture has evolved over the centuries. The judges commented: This project embodies best practice and should be seen as a model for combining innovation and sustainable construction practices with conservation of our historic built environment. That the elements are discrete, restrained and work together in harmony is further testament to its success.

My part in the meeting finished at about 6.45pm and I left to travel to Evesham for a meeting of the Evesham Market Town Partnership, (EMTP) which is a Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) Perhaps I will report on one of those meetings next time. If you can’t wait, you can find out more here:- Market Towns


One Response to “Wychavon Design Awards 2009”

  1. PhotoCall « Chairman of Wychavon Blog Says:

    […] on from Wychavon Design Awards, the Evesham Observer wanted a picture for his weeks paper taken with the winner’s outside […]

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