The Civic Trust Awards was established in 1959 to recognise outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment. The aim is to encourage the very best in architecture and environmental design, to improve the built environment for us all through design, sustainability, inclusiveness and accessibility, but also to reward projects that offer a positive cultural, social, economic or environmental benefit to their local communities.
In my time as an assessor since 2012 I have had the pleasure to assess a wide range of high quality buildings vying for national recognition. The process involves a judging team including architectural, accessibility, and community assessors. The building visits of 2-4 buildings usually take place on the same day with the teams being led around the buildings by their hosts along with detailed information submitted by the applicants regarding the process and design.
The process assesses the following criteria: Architectural or design merit; Suitability of the design in relationship with its context and surrounds; Layout of interior spaces; Design relating to use and functionality; How the character and structure of the scheme relate or convey its intended use; Sustainability credentials; Construction and detailing; and Civic Contribution.
Following the visits the panel write up individual narrative responses of the buildings and agree whether the scheme deserves an award. Following the recommendations the successful schemes are put forward for the finals where they fight it out to obtain the prestigious awards.
Personal highlights over the last few year have included:
• Brandon Street an innovative public housing development for London and Quadrant Housing Association and Southwark Council. A colourful ceramic mosaic elevation creates a striking counterpoint to a tradition terrace.
• Courtyard Housing by Barking and Dagenham for elderly social housing, individual houses are arranged around a communal courtyard garden creating a secure and positive environment for the elderly residents;
• Deptford Market Yard is a transformation of the former run down coach yard adjacent to the mainline station by U + I Regeneration. The public space acts as a focal point to a mixed use development of private and social housing, hotel and work space for local businesses. The refurbished railway arches act as incubators for new local start-ups. The development has made a significant contribution to the revitalisation and renaissance of Deptford.
• Weston Street private flats and offices exquisitely design private apartments developed by Solidspace located adjacent to a small pocket park in Southwark. The new triplex designed units are modelled in concrete, brick and timber creating a classic modernist response to the site designed for owner occupiers a rarity in the area dominated by overseas property investments.
• The Dulwich Gallery Pavilion design for last years annual event. The temporary gallery created a transformation of the public garden in front of the grade I listed gallery, a joyful expression of a summer pavilion which cleverly succeeds within its sensitive context to provide an inviting and flexible community space, encouraging public engagement with the Picture Gallery.
This years 61st Anniversary Awards Ceremony, will take place on Friday 6th March 2020 at the iconic venue Imperial War Museum North, in Trafford, Manchester.