Solent Design Awards
And the winners are...
Quality Place Overall Winner
Forest Park School, Totton
Architects: Hants County Council Property Services
Client: Hants County Council Children’s Services
Forest Park Primary School provides purpose-built accommodation for children with complex learning difficulties and was designed to accommodate not only the needs of the children, but also the local community. The spaces are planned to form a collection of buildings around a sequence of courtyards and together provide a safe, stimulating and secure environment for children with a wide range of disabilities.
The judges felt the scheme displayed terrific resolution of a complicated brief (especially having to work around the existing building during construction), and carefully avoided an institutional feeling where architecture and landscaping cohere well to create a wonderful and up-lifting school environment.
Quality Place Award
Sunfield Close, Andover
Architects: Architecture PLB
Contractor: Drew Smith Ltd
Sunfield Close comprises 17 houses in a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership, meeting Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4. Mainly single storey, they combine green roof and timber clad pods, arranged to minimise over-looking and to reduce the impact on surrounding properties. A redundant pedestrian access route has been adapted to provide a footpath for easy access to neighbouring amenities.
The judges felt this was brave design in challenging conditions, discrete with good proportions and massing that related sympathetically to the street. The residents who were interviewed said that their new house was life-changing especially in terms of energy efficiency. Furthermore it was felt that what had been created here was a really nice street in which they really felt part of a community.
People’s Choice Award
Sea City Museum, Southampton
Architects: Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Client: Southampton City Council
Contractor: Kier Construction
Sea City museum is a conversion of the grade II listed magistrates court which includes the transformation of the court rooms into exhibition spaces and the restoration of prison cells into toilet facilities.
Adjoining the existing Civic Centre, it addresses the challenge of reinvigorating existing structures: allowing sensitivity to the original building whilst also showing a confidence in defining a bold design appropriate for 2012.
Sea City Museum received 37% of the online votes cast, almost twice that of its nearest rival – quite a remarkable achievement and indicative perhaps less of local voting prejudice but rather more how the building has already become a celebrated new landmark in the city.
Winners of the Solent Design Awards at the Gala Dinner in Portsmouth Guildhall on 13th November
The awards were presented at a gala dinner in Portsmouth Guildhall last night (13th November) in front of an audience of built environment specialists from both the public and private sectors. The judges were unanimous in selecting Forest Park as the overall winner and to receive a quality place award. Bryan Avery one of the judges, praised the achievement of a highly specialised environment, still homely and comfortable and avoiding any institutional feel. "The architects are to be congratulated on creating a wonderful and uplifting school where architecture and landscaping coalesce beautifully. It is a terrific resolution of a complex brief where the attention to detail has been superb."
The second quality places award went to a social housing development in Andover. Designed by Architecture PLB, Sunfield Close is a complex of 17 houses for affordable rent or shared ownership. Located on a former allotment site, the horticultural spirit is captured through the use of green roofs and timber clad pods. Environmental benefits are delivered through designing the building to achieve the Code for Sustainable Housing Level 4 while it has also been recognised as Secure by Design by Hampshire Police. Heights of the buildings have been kept low, with accommodation maximised on ground floors, to avoid overlooking the neighbours with the internal layouts much larger than much social housing.
"A brave design in challenging conditions," concluded the judges. Bryan Avery comments: "The beauty of this scheme is how effectively it relates to the street where it is located, helping to make residents feel part of the community. We spoke to residents who were particularly complimentary about the building had changed their lives in many ways – not least in reducing their fuel bills."
In addition to Bryan Avery, who is design director of Avery Architects, best known for IMAX London and the Museum of the Moving Image, the panel consisted of Roger Zogolovitch, a member of the RIBA Trust Board and Chairman of Solidspace, a developer specialising in innovative ways of delivering new housing, Professor Lorraine Farrelly, of the School of Architecture at the University of Portsmouth, Terence O’ Rourke, architect and town planner, and urban designer, Lisa Jackson, at Jackson Planning.
Alongside the professional judging, the community has chosen its winner, Sea City Museum in Southampton. The Museum is a conversion of the grade II listed magistrates’ court transforming the court rooms into exhibition spaces. The Judges praised the ambition to create a strong relationship to the west side of the complex, the way in which it re-used the old court spaces well and the confidence to create a 21st century design within a listed building. Paul Grover, of the University of Portsmouth says: "The public’s view is as important as the professionals’ as they are the people who have to live with the design and can really attest to its true value."
The Solent Design Awards are all about the encouragement of quality place-making; schemes that create special places, lift communities, create richer experiences ... not just iconic buildings but also the places in-between, the carrier spaces for our daily lives.
Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and the Solent area are wonderful places to live and the Solent Design Awards will recognise new developments that add to, rather than detract from the quality of life they offer, to our experience of the workplace and to our appreciation of the environment we live in.
Following the very successful design awards held in 2010, which attracted many varied and high quality entries, we are again encouraging applications for high quality schemes, including open space and public realm projects, town centre developments and neighbourhood renewal schemes, as well as high quality buildings. Context is everything; we are not looking for isolated (though beautiful) objects in space, but rather buildings and projects that enhance the places where they are developed – the places that set the stage for more fulfilling experience of life of work, and of play.
Entries will be judged against the following criteria:
- Commodity - The scheme’s functionality for its users
- Firmness - Concerning the fabric of the building/scheme
- Delight - The lifting of the spirit
- Civic-mindedness - The impact for the public good
- Sustainability - Aspects which reduce negative impacts on the environment
Schemes eligible for entry were completed between 1st April 2010 and 31st August 2012, and situated within Hampshire or the Isle of Wight. Awards and commendations are made for projects that display a step-change in the delivery of quality place-making in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
The 'people's choice' award is given for the shortlisted scheme which receives the most votes in an on-line poll.
The Shortlisted Finalists Were:
Click on each image for a larger picture and more information.
Forest Park Primary School provides purpose-built accommodation for children with complex learning difficulties and was designed to accommodate not only the needs of the children, but also the local community. The spaces are planned so as to form a collection of buildings around a sequence of courtyards which extend to larger play areas and together provide a safe, stimulating and secure environment for children with a wide range of disabilities. The use of artificial turf and rubber crumb also ensures these areas are accessible in all weather conditions. A key provision within the school is the hoisting system which saves valuable time and ensures inclusion and flexibility.
Natural daylight and ventilation are employed wherever possible and energy efficient technologies include high efficiency lamps, intelligent lighting controls and time clock and photocell operation for external lighting. A combined heat and power unit and solar thermal panels have also been installed, the latter helping to heat the hydro-pool.
The timber has a dark stain to provide a consistent and calm silhouette to the external play areas and planting.
Providing 32 one and two bedroom flats for social rent and shared ownership, Alliance House also has two wheel chair homes. The scheme stitches together a poorly defined public realm and integrates a small row of cottages into a new urban block. The design reflects the local style in a contemporary interpretation of the traditional terraced form to help integrate the design with increased paving and green infrastructure along an otherwise urban edge. All elevations are designed to respond to the public frontage to avoid unsightly service areas and to improve the overall amenity of the site and surroundings. All properties have either direct access from the street or from central corridors which serve small groups of flats and have roof lights and glazed screens allowing light through the communal stairwells.
The scheme addresses the dual aspect of the site, creating a new rear pedestrian route and public space to improve permeability for both existing residents and new occupants and incorporates PV cells to provide free electricity to common areas. Internally, the homes have generous accommodation with communal circulation provided with light stairwells to small groups of flats. All apartments are provided with external space.
The scheme, which provides mixed-use facilities and residential accommodation, has been designed to address the waterfront and forms part of the overall master plan for the dockyard, filling a gap in the historic layout left by war damage and the removal of modern storage buildings. Taking its cue from the character of the nineteenth-century dockyard, the design introduces elements of contemporary architecture, helping to define the public spaces and routes between the new and historic buildings. It provides a new pedestrian walkway and gives public access to a previously inaccessible part of the waterfront.
The Sunfield Close scheme comprises 17 houses being a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership, which meet CfSH Level 4. Mainly single storey, they combine green roof and timber clad pods, reminiscent of the allotments and sheds that previously occupied the site. The housing has been arranged to minimise over looking and to reduce the impact on surrounding properties, and has been awarded full ‘Secure by Design’ certification from Hampshire Constabulary. A redundant pedestrian access route has been adapted to provide a footpath for easy access to neighbouring facilities. The internal areas exceed the statutory requirements for affordable housing and ground floor accommodation has been maximised to reduce overshadowing of surrounding gardens.
The regeneration of a traffic dominated space in front of the ruins of a medieval church have transformed the area into a serene, fully accessible pedestrian urban square, which has become a city landmark. Part of the city’s QE2 Mile, the project lies on the principal street that connects the retail centre with the waterfront. The creation of a memorial for the city’s merchant seamen in the form of an anchor from the QE2 and the incorporation of seating and innovative public art have not only provided focal points for individuals and groups, but have addressed historic sensitivities and brought them to a wider audience as well as benefitting the economy of the area. Belisha beacons and illuminated traffic islands were removed to minimise energy use and de-clutter the setting and a cafe culture is now emerging along the widened pavements. Local stone has been used to reflect the existing church hues and the furniture is designed to deter misuse.
The aim of the proposed improvement works was to replace poor condition and failed paving with a safe, durable surface, and to provide a high quality, attractive environment. The quality of place in the High Street was to be improved and the historic surroundings enhanced.
The scheme was progressed jointly by Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council. Public consultation was carried out as part of the Winchester Town Access Plan process. The contract was managed by the County Council and was completed in November 2010.
The design has established an improved and contemporary appearance for the High Street in the context of the Conservation Area. It reinforces local character, identity, patterns and culture, but without imposing a self conscious identity of its own. The design and materials reflect the need for sustainable use of resources and better access for all. Many businesses have responded by improving their frontages, including cafes which have extended seating into the public realm, increasing the vitality of the street.
The Sea City museum is a conversion of the grade II listed magistrates court which includes the transformation of the court rooms into exhibition spaces and the restoration of prison cells into toilet facilities.
Adjoining the existing civic centre, it addresses the challenge of reinvigorating existing structures whilst allowing a sensitivity to the building, and also showing a confidence in defining a bold design appropriate for 2012. The design has enabled the building’s early steel frame structure to be repaired, extending its life.