This year we brought together industry experts outside of the membership of SPACES to review the schemes already awarded as category runners up and winners to inform the decision on this award. The expert panel consisted of Tom Jefferies, Manchester School of Architecture, Ann Bodkin, ESFA, Nick Mead, former President of CIBSE and Peter Colenutt, Hampshire County Council and former President of EBDOG.
Three projects were further shortlisted for consideration for this award:
- The Word, South Shields
- Meadow View Care Home
- Blackrock Quarry Training Centre.
The winner was The Word, South Shields. The award was presented by Mike Britch, NPS Group, sponsor of the awards.
As their justification the expert panel wished to note the following:
Congratulations to the many partners involved in realising The Word. South Shields has obviously held a conversation with its people. The building reflects the cultural vision which has developed out of that conversation and speaks volumes of how the town has chosen a building to reflect its civic society which benefits all. The Word demonstrates the value of connecting ambition and quality across a range of scales; functional programme, architectural detail, built form and urban space. The scheme is particularly notable for showcasing the value of high quality civic buildings as key components of a revived town centre. Using the new building as an urban landmark, the Word’s relationship with the public space around the scheme is as critical as its internal layout.
Through a creative reimagining of what a library could be for the 21st Century the library is not just as a repository but a shared space of knowledge, learning and culture. The generosity and ambition of the scheme is a powerful statement that shared civic values can be embodied through high quality architecture that by connects internal and external civic spaces.