Launching the inaugural Royal Institute of British Architects’ Conservation Awards, RIBA president George Ferguson has voiced concern that ‘startling new projects’ often gain recognition over and above historic preservation works.
Presented as part of the wider RIBA Awards on 17 June, the accolades were won by five architectural practices. Among them, John McAslan & Partners picked up prizes for its work at department store Peter Jones in London’s Sloane Square and 78-80 Derngate, Northampton – the first interior created by Charles Rennie Mackintosh south of Scotland.
Avanti Architects was recognised for two projects the practice worked on in north-west London – at the Wells Coates-designed Isokon apartments in Belsize Park and Private House in Hampstead.
Also honoured was Hopkins Architects, for its work to restore Norwich Cathedral, Spratley & Woodfield for The Granary at Crowmarsh Battle Farm, Oxfordshire and Stuart Page Architects for the preservation of the 14th century Ightham Mote in Sevenoaks.
The awards have been created with the aim of putting conservation back on to the RIBA agenda, according to Ferguson, whose own practice specialises in such work. ‘My perception was that we were tending to give recognition to startling new projects, rather at the expense of the historic, building-related projects,’ he explains. ‘The message I want to get across is that good conservation requires good design sense.’