Wakefield Council won two out of three Design Awards in Wakefield Civic Society’s annual awards night staged on Thursday, 21st March at the Society’s Annual General Meeting.
The new civic office building, Wakefield One, which is home to the city’s new library and museum as well as 1,200 of the Council’s employees, was judged to be a worthy award winner by a panel of judges made up of a number of the Society’s individual and corporate members. And the Council’s recently re-laid out Coronation Gardens, just in front of the County Hall, were also favoured with an award by the panel. The Council just missed a hat trick when the new Sun Lane Leisure centre (designed by NPS Ltd) was awarded a
The third and final Design Award of the evening was presented for the Rural Craft Hub at Pennine Camphill Community at Chapelthorpe.
A further four Commendations were also presented. These were awarded for the restoration of the Secret Garden at Thornes Park, a joint project between the Friends
of CHaT Parks and Wakefield Council, the restoration of the Historic Lakes and Woodland at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the redevelopment of the Harrison Building at Wakefield College and, in the shop front category, to Wilde Ink, a specialist tattoo and body piercing studio in Silver Street.
Awards and commendations were presented to recipients by the Mayor of Wakefield, Councillor Elaine Blezard on behalf of the Society.
Kevin Trickett, President of the Civic Society, said “Once again, the prevailing economic situation has revealed itself in the smaller number of projects being nominated this year and also in the fact that most of the major projects we looked at were public sector led. Nonetheless, on behalf of the Society, I congratulate the winners and runners up, not only for their success in being recognised by our judging panel but also for the physical improvements these schemes bring to Wakefield.”
The judges particularly liked the design and finish of Wakefield One (designed by Cartwright Pickard Architects). The colour of the exterior panels cleverly matched the colour of the stonework of County Hall, helping to connect old and new, while the vibrant colours inset within the window panels added eye-catching detail. The new building makes a statement about Wakefield’s modern image and sits well within the Merchant Gate development without overpowering the Victorian County Hall next to which it stands. The facilities in the newly opened museum and library had been much admired when members of the Society visited them towards the end of 2012.
Round the other side of County Hall, on the corner of Rishworth Street and Wood Street, the Council’s newly re-laid Coronation Gardens (designed by Gillespies) demonstrate how public realm improvements can add real benefit to a city centre. With its new planting and paving, through to the stylish modern street lighting, the new design serves to enhance the setting of both the War Memorial and County Hall and it was noticeable how quickly members of the public adopted the space as a place to sit an relax during the warm autumn days at the end of 2012.
The Rural Crafts Hub at Pennine Camphill Community (designed by Spawforths) was a specially commissioned project to provide a new educational facility for the delivery of workshops in basket weaving, horticulture, woodcraft, pottery and tool repair. The judges, who had made a special visit to the site, were impressed with the quality of the design, its access provision for disabled students, the materials used and the overall finish. It provided an inspiring and stimulating place in which to learn.
Back in the city centre, Wakefield College’s city centre campus is undergoing major redevelopment. The first of the buildings to be completed was the recently opened Harrison Building (designed by Taylor Young). The redevelopment has involved partial demolition of the old building and then a mix of new build and refurbishment. The judges were delighted with the new vista that the re-modelled campus was opening up between Wood Street and Margaret Street and said that they hoped to return to this project again in future Design Awards. For the time being, they awarded the Harrison Building a Commendation.
The Design Award judges do, of course, have to consider major projects alongside the more modest. While the restoration of the Historic Lakes and Woodland at Yorkshire Sculpture Park was a major and significant project, bringing back into use a number of historic structures, and opening up 150 acres of landscape to the public for the first time, the judges also wanted to recognise the efforts of the Friends of Clarence, Holmfield and Thornes (CHaT) Parks in restoring the Secret Garden in Thornes Park. This project had brought back into use a corner of the park that had been neglected for over a quarter of a century, while also reinstating in the park two of the original pillars from the old market cross that stood in Cross Square as well as what is thought to be the original pinnacle from the
The final Commendation, for Wilde Ink in Silver Street, was for the design of the shop window by the proprietors of the shop but took account of the restoration work of the entire façade undertaken by the owner of this historic building. This restoration had resulted in the removal of some rather unattractive canopies and signage and had revealed an older window design with some intricate stained glass above the main shop front. When Wilde Ink moved into the shop, they were careful not to cover the newly revealed and restored façade
and, introduced an understated window treatment that respected the context of what the owners are trying to achieve.
Unfortunately, no awards or commendations were made in the public house/café bar/ restaurant/ frontage category or the residential category. Kevin Trickett said “There were only two nominations made in the first of these categories and neither was considered to be worthy of an award or commendation. Although the judges recognised and appreciated the investment that was being made, over the years, the threshold for an award has been raised on what constitutes award-winning design and these two properties didn’t quite make it. In the residential category, we had just one nomination, a perfectly serviceable apartment block but not one that stood out in design terms”.
The full results of the Wakefield Civic Society 2013 Design Awards are:
Best new development:
Best shop front:
Best public house, café bar or restaurant frontage:
No Awards or Commendations
Best new residential development (6 or more apartments or houses)
No Awards or Commendations
Judges for this year’s competition were Angie de Courcy Bower, Darren Byford, Rick Hayward, Simon Jones, Robert Powell, Graham Roberts, Kate Taylor and Peter Taylor.