Each year St Albans Civic Society celebrates imaginative development and design initiatives which have been completed within the city in the previous year – anything from an entire housing scheme to a beautiful front door. While many of the projects considered are architectural, and can involve restoration as well as new buildings, we have also in past years given the chief award to green space refurbishment, such as in the Vintry Gardens, and, less easy to categorise, the larger-than-life-size puppets that accompany the annual St Albans Pilgrimage.
Awards Winner 2019
For its Awards, the Society looks for projects that contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the character of St Albans, and achieve the highest standards of architecture, planning, landscaping and civic design. This year, one project was given the Society’s Annual Award and plaque, and six projects were commended. The Trevelyan Prize recognises projects that achieve the finest quality in terms of conservation / restoration. This year, one project was awarded the Trevelyan Prize and one project was commended. These awards cover projects completed in 2018 and were presented on 24 July 2019
Winner of the Civic Society’s Plaque
St Albans Museum + Gallery
Client: St Albans City and District Council
Architects: John McAslan + Partners
Contractor: Willmott Dixon
The Town Hall, dating from 1832, was originally the Court House and Council Assembly hall. In the last couple of decades it has suffered from lack of maintenance and uncertainty about its role in the City. It is now the city’s Museum + Gallery. The redesign cleverly incorporated two significant additions. First, excavation below the entrance hall creating a fine exhibition gallery capable of taking the most sensitive works. Second, two glazed links were added on the first floor, on either side of the courtroom, linking back rooms of the building with major spaces to the front. These give views down into the courtroom, and out over the city. The Assembly Room was restored to its prime with three large chandeliers that underlined its splendour, and double glazing added for improved insulation. The Society considered this to be a clever and sensitive regeneration of a fine building and an achievement which has restored the building’s architectural dignity and strengthened its significance in the life of the city. It was however noted that some of the external work on the Town Hall was of doubtful standard, and that defects were already appearing on the new external surfaces.
Winner of the Trevelyan Prize
(awarded to a project that has achieved the finest quality in terms of conservation / restoration)
House Restoration and Extension – Rose Walk
Client: Mr and Mrs Bedwood
Designers: Nett Assets
Contractor: Impala Property Ventures Ltd
The conservation award went to an elegant 1930’s Art Deco villa that has been extended and revitalised. For example, every one of the windows, including curved corners, and external doors have been double glazed. Side extensions have been added, with curved corner windows and matching tiled roofs, carefully respecting the external design of the main house. Similar care and attention to detail has been lavished on the interior. The Society congratulated all involved, not least the owners, on their commitment.
- Extension to Top School – St Michaels
- Highfield Park Visitor Centre
- The Ivy St Albans Brasserie – Verulam Road
- Molton Brown Shop – Market Place
- Clarks Shoe Shop Redesign – St Peter’s Street
- House Renovation and Extension – Bernard Street
- Conversion of Restaurant to Five Cottages -16-24 Spencer Street (Conservation Project)
The Awards Process
In the first half of the year, members of the Society and the general public are invited to submit suggestions for consideration by our Awards Panel. All such projects are eligible if they have been completed by the preceding 31st December. At a wine and canapés evening the good – and sometimes not so good – projects are presented to assembled members and guests and the final winner and commendations are revealed. For anyone interested in the changing face of St Albans, this is an event that is not to be missed.