Winner — Urban Splash - Lister Mills, Bradford

At one time, the Maningham Mills complex in Bradford was the largest textile manufacturing centre in the world. A hundred years later, and it was one of the largest derelict manufacturing centres in the world, a training ground for local vandals and bit of an embarrassment to the town around it. One of the reasons that nothing was done to save it is just because it’s so big – so it’s a tribute to Urban Splash’s courage as well as its vision that it decided to save, restore and reuse it as a container for 130 modern apartments, with 500 more in the pipeline. According to Urban Splash, the role of building control was crucial to the success of the project so far, in particular the way the fire protection and the acoustic insulation strategies were handled at a very early stage, and the assistance that the council gave to the site team.

The finalists

Berkeley Homes - Chelsea Bridge Wharf

Highly commended

The transformation of a poisoned strip of post-industrial unpleasantness into a vibrant complex of 612 private flats and 224 affordable ones, grouped around extensive water gardens, has done wonders for this previously down-at-heel neighbourhood. Once the building next door with the four big chimneys finally gets built this portion of London will become a destination for the surrounding boroughs. The judges liked it so much that they named it the only highly commended entry in this year’s awards.

Berkeley Homes - Holborough housing development

Next we go to Kent for the new Holborough development, another project by Berkeley Homes. Built on a former chalk quarry the New England style scheme provides around 1000 homes. This development is one of the more notable attempts by a volume housebuilder to tackle low energy housing. The first phase consists of 147 units, built using the Alouette timber-frame system complemented by the Canadio Super-E system, which together offer a better performance than that called for in the latest revision to Part L of the Building Regulations. Tonbridge and Malling council played an invaluable part in helping Berkeley to make the design perform, and in helping its customers to find out just what the modern housebuilding industry can achieve.

Torbay council - Dart Marina projects

This former shipyard in Dartmouth forms an integral part of the Dart Marina Hotel and marina complex project. The job undertaken by local architect Kay Elliott was to design a mixed-use scheme including 27 flats and nine houses, complete with amenities including a bistro, swimming pool and gymnasium. The scheme also had to fit into an area of outstanding natural beauty and civic distinction. The architect examined and measured the existing buildings the better to reproduce their proportions and vernacular features. It used this information to patch the new-build into the existing fabric of the town, and in so doing won at least one unlikely fan: the planning inspector described it as “a scheme of excellence”. So, a tribute to the designers skills, just as the finished project is eloquent testimony to the workmanship of main contractor, Dean & Dyball.

East Devon council - Ottery St Mary hospital

The village of Ottery St Mary has a claim to be the most historically interesting in England: Thomas Cromwell and Samual Taylor Coleridge were based there, and its cottage hospital, with its Victorian tiled floor, formed part of this rich tradition. This project dealt with the conversion of the hospital into beautiful homes by Dependable Homes. The judges were impressed by the attention that has been paid to the details, such as the hand-built double-sash windows, plaster cornices and cast-iron antique baths.

Flintshire - Franciscan Monastery

Despite its title, this extremely large building is actually the Convent of St Clare, or at least it was up until 1977, when the last nun left and the building fell into dereliction. David McLean decided to save it from total collapse and turn it into two and three bedroom townhouses. The historical importance of the building meant workmanship was at a premium, and Flintshire’s submission makes clear the appreciation the council had for the work done by the site agent and Quad Architects, the designer on the project. Building control were also complimentary about the way the site was run: tidy, safe and well supervised – quite an achievement when you consider the size of the job.