Buddhist retreat, two Aldeburgh houses, and homes at Grays and St Osyth win regional awards
PUBLISHED: 12:59 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:59 19 May 2017
Five outstanding buildings in Suffolk and Essex have won prestigious architecture awards for their ground-breaking design – with one named as the overall winner.
Judges of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Regional Awards presented the £4.26million Buddhist retreat centre in the heart of the countryside at Walsham le Willows with the RIBA East Building of the Year 2017 award.
The 60-bed Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat, designed by Walters & Cohen Architects, was created by transforming a century-old farm into “a serene, beautiful centre that improves health and wellbeing, and enhances the spiritual life of the community”.
The judging jury, which recognises buildings for their architectural excellence and contribution to society, said it was an “exquisite building”.
They said: “This is an extraordinarily well conceived building which has arisen from close collaboration between client and architect and is delighting its users. There is a wonderful sense of calm in both the spaces created and materials used that are thoroughly appropriate to the building’s use.”
Two new properties at Aldeburgh were among the 17 award winners – Marsh Hill, by Cambridge-based Mole Architects, and Peacock House, by BHSF Architekten, Zurich, with Studio-P, London.
Marsh Hill is a modern design home which will withstand possible flooding in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The judges said it made a “distinctive contribution” to the landscape and “a bold architectural statement on a sensitive site overlooking the River Alde estuary in Suffolk”.
Peacock House, built for Jila and Andrew Peacock at a cost of £948,000 on the outskirts of the town, is set in a specially designed enclosed garden.
The jury said: “The house is an accomplished work of architecture, whose overall simplicity in plan, elevation and detail belies an intriguing complexity in both internal and external spaces.”
In Essex, Redshank, by Lisa Shell Architects Ltd with Marcus Taylor, a pod-like building which hovers over the reclaimed marshland at St Osyth won the RIBA East Small Project of the Year. It was praised as a “beautifully detailed and conceived house that has dealt with the considerable challenges presented by the site in a seemingly effortless way”.
Another award winner for the county was The Echoes, Grays, by Bell Phillips Architects, London, a high quality housing scheme sponsored by Thurrock council.
Louise Todd, RIBA East regional director, said: “We spent five days out on the road visiting the 30 shortlisted schemes and it was just fabulous to see the diversity and exceptional quality of buildings around the region.
“The jury had a really difficult task in selecting the winners, which says a lot for the strength of the shortlist and the creativity of the architects involved.
“These buildings all demonstrate that by engaging with an architect, clients can achieve remarkable buildings that improve our communities and enhance people’s lives.”
Winners of the RIBA East Awards will go forward as contenders for the RIBA National Awards, the winners of which will be announced on June 22. Winners of an RIBA National or EU Award are then considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize, announced in October.