2007 Civic Society Awards Nominations
Nine nominations were received for eight buildings in the 2007 awards scheme. This is more than the previous two years put together, and an encouraging sign that the scheme is now gaining in popularity after a shaky start.
However four of these buildings, The frontage of London Road Station, The former Pfister & Vogel Warehouse 78-80 Rutland Street, Curve Performing Arts Centre, Rutland Street, and Knighton Croft, Knighton Road, were unfinished at the end of the year. These nominations have now been carried over to the 2008 scheme that will be launched with the publication of Leicester Citizen No.17 in December 2008.
The adjudication panel consisting of our Chairman Stuart Bailey, Vice-Chairman Derek Hollingworth and Secretary Jenny Westmoreland, made lengthy site visits throughout Saturday 24th February. Society members Jennifer Macgregor, and Richard and Ann Allsopp – for whose input we were very grateful – joined us for parts of the day. However the final decisions were ours alone.
2007 New Build Award Category
Nominations in the ‘New Build’ category were for new offices at No.1 Colton Square, adjoining St. George’s Conservation Area, by Gordon McKenzie of De Novo Architecture, London, and for the Eco-Houses at 15A to 15C Church Lane, Knighton, by Steve Wells of Status Architecture, Leicester.
The panel was unanimous in making an award for excellence to the Eco-Houses. We were particularly impressed by the use of a prominent site, with the houses looking into the conservation area but adding to its character in an almost rural setting. Also the massive interior dimensions made larger in appearance by an open plan ground floor, and the fact that these were seen as no barrier to committed sustainability in the design.
2007 Restoration Award Category
Nominations in the ‘Restoration’ category were for Delemere House, 325 London Road by Gareth Share of Kent, Porter, Warren Architects, Leicester, and The City Rooms, Hotel Street by Naresh Parmar, as owner and project manager. (Two nominations received)
The panel was particularly impressed by the standard of restoration work at Delemere House, originally built in the 1920’s as a home for the Pick Family but suffering from appallingly inappropriate additions and extensions in the 1960’s and 70’s. The reuse of Swithland slates, the quality rendering and tile voussoirs were all of particular note.
Notwithstanding the above the panel was however unanimous in making an award for excellence to the City Rooms. We were delighted by the painstaking effort and attention to detail lavished by Mr. Parmar as the new owner of these splendid Georgian Assembly Rooms, after several years of neglect by the previous owner, Leicester City Council.
The City Rooms are listed Grade 1 and much advice has had to be taken from English Heritage, and heeded carefully. The work has involved the use of specialist contractors for restoration of the plasterwork and gold paintwork in the great ballroom, and has taken 18 months to complete.
2007 Awards Ceremony
The Society is particularly pleased to welcome as its guest of honour HM Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Jennifer, Lady Gretton JP, who will present the awards at a ceremony to be held at the Belmont House Hotel, De Montfort Street on Friday 4th April.
Invitations for members to attend were issued with the spring mail drop at the end of February and the evening will be reviewed in Leicester Citizen No. 16 due to be published in August.