Manchester City Council and Monastery of St. Francis and Gorton Trust – Friary and Church of St Francis

This project was intended to restore one of the most architecturally significant buildings in England. The site is internationally recognised as one of the most endangered in the world, in the same league as the Taj Mahal and the ruins of Pompeii.

Work on the conservation and restoration of these buildings started on site in late 2005, and was largely completed by July 2007. In total 300 people took 609 days to conserve the structures, and 100 miles of scaffolding tube was erected – enough to stretch from the monastery to Hadrian’s Wall.

Among the building materials used, were 15,000 slate tiles, 125 tonnes of lime mortar and plaster, 400 stained and leaded panes of glass and 20,000 reclaimed bricks.

The judges noted that the restoration was a “hugely challenging project that fully engaged the local community”.


Calderdale Council and Aedas Architects – Holy Trinity C of E (VA) Primary School

This school was originally houses in two separate buildings, one of which was subject to an arson attack in March 2003. It now has a new home, orientated to the south to make the best use of natural daylight, with all classrooms ventilated by stack effect ventilation. The historical problems of congested corridors and cloakrooms have been overcome by arranging the classrooms into pairs, each with their own dedicated entrance, toilets, cloakrooms and storage. A much calmer atmosphere exists throughout the school as a result.

Colchester Borough Council and Roff Marsh Partnership – Midsite at Sixth Form College

Aesthetics were an important feature for this project, as the location for the proposed building made it highly visible on the main northerly approach to Colchester. A design therefore had to be constructed that would be sympathetic to the local architecture and the scale of adjacent buildings.

Accessibility also high on the priority list, and the four-storey building creates a link between the south and north site buildings. Environmental features have also been considered: the curved south-facing entrance elevation is clad with enough photovoltaic cells to light the upper floor. Rainwater is harvested in a 10,000-litre tank in the basement and used to flush the toilets.

Stafford Borough Council and Thomas Vale Construction – Stafford Children’s Centre

Two approaches were taken towards sustainability on this project. First, materials were sourced locally, as were the subcontractors and labour, and this helped to reduce the building’s environmental impact through reduced transportation, the greater longevity of components and materials obtained from sustainable sources. Second, the systems installed were designed to operate in an efficient and cost-effective way, minimising fuel consumption and maximising the comfort of the building’s users.

Sunderland City Council, Red Box Architecture and Balfour Beatty Construction – Sunderland Aquatic Centre

This centre is going to attain national significance when the 2012 Olympics arrive, because it now houses north-east England’s first Olympic-sized swimming pool. It also has a multi-purpose pool, complete with springboards, diving platforms and seating for 500 spectators. Notable green features include an “excellent” BREEAM rating, timber roof beams from sustainably managed forests in Austria, a super insulated external fabric on the pool and a system that harvests and reuses rainwater. Both the main and the multi-purpose pool have moveable floors, which allow their depths to be varied, enabling them to accommodate a range of activities, from aqua-aerobics to water polo.

Wycombe District Council and Leadbitter – Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, Marlow

Founded in 1624, this new £3m Technology and Performing Arts block combines modern technologies and a traditional design to allow it to sit comfortably among the older buildings of the school. The school has been granted specialist status in the performing arts, and the addition of drama spaces has been a huge asset, with the new theatre enabling the staging of top quality local events and productions.

Similarly, the addition of fully-equipped technology workshops has allowed students to learn traditional and modern techniques in metalwork, woodwork, plastics, graphics, textiles and electronics.