The Georgian Group Architectural Awards 2017, winners announced

01 December 2017

The winners of The Georgian Group Architectural Awards have been announced at a ceremony hosted and chaired by Dr John Goodall. Now in their fifteenth year, the awards recognise exemplary conservation and restoration projects in the United Kingdom and reward those who have shown the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings and designed landscapes. In addition, the awards also commend new buildings in the classical tradition; a testament to the continued popularity of Georgian design.

As in past years, entries received have been of exceptional high-quality and come from a wide-range of building types.  Crispin Holborow, Country Director of Savills Private Office and member of the judging panel says: ‘Some wonderful entries this year. In particular the tenacity and attention to detail of some owners in restoring their houses and landscapes is awe inspiring. The new build category exemplifies the imaginative and decorative skills still evident among the architectural and artisan community.’

The winning schemes by category are:


Winner: Lowther Castle and Gardens Trust – Dan Pearson Studio and Fielden Clegg Bradley

Lowther Castle stands on a site occupied by the Lowther family for over 800 years. It sits in a 3,000 acre medieval deer park, which is part of a 75,000 acre agricultural estate within Cumbria's Lake District National Park. The Gothic Revival building, now partially ruined, was the third home to be built on the site. It was designed by Robert Smirke for the first Earl of Lonsdale and was completed in 1806.

Dan Pearson Studios were first appointed in 2008 to provide a landscape and gardens master plan for a Heritage Lottery Fund application for the cultural redevelopment of the castle and gardens. The original master plan was then taken on by Land Use Consultants, who oversaw the initial stages of the resuscitation of the historic landscape, including the reinstatement of the historic South Lawn at the rear of the castle.

Since 2011 Dan Pearson Studios have developed and implemented several elements of the master plan including a new Parterre Garden built on the site of the previous Lowther castle ruins, new plantings to the castle interior and landscaping of the Arrival Courtyard, which was planted with specimen hornbeam topiary in January 2017. A new Rose Garden on the site of the historic Rose Garden, is scheduled to open in 2018.

Community involvement and highly-skilled conservation craft have been critical drivers for this extraordinary project which has provided a focus for heritage skills and garden training.

Commended: Duncombe Park, Helmsley, North Yorkshire - Peter Pace Architects


Winner: Williamstrip Chapel, Gloucestershire – Craig Hamilton Architects

The construction of a new chapel for Williamstrip Park is a further phase in the overall restoration and remodelling of Williamstrip Park following the purchase of the property by the applicant in 2007. The Chapel is intended to be a contemporary neo-classical building designed as a very restrained new building within the context of Williamstrip Park. The west entrance front presents itself as a stripped down Classical temple front in the most restrained manner. The chapel is designed as a restrained new Classical building, built out of the finest materials and presents itself as a small traditional chapel within the grounds of the house. This new building in no way competes with the main house, but rather complements the newly designed gardens to the east and south of the house.

Commended: Harris Manchester College Clock Tower and Gate – Yiangou Architects


Winner: Pitshill House, West Sussex – Simon Johnson Architects Ltd

Pitshill sits at the head of a coomb, slightly askance to the spectacular view of the Downs to the south. The restoration was to reinstate the presence the house once had in the landscape along with the surviving contemporary buildings; a Shell House, a Prospect Tower, an Ice House and two picturesque drive Lodges. Simon Johnson oversaw the preservation of these historic structures as well as laying out a new formal garden to ‘answer’ Soane’s east front.

Conservation of surviving work was preceded by the complete renewal of all services and the house now has a modern electrical system and environmental control powered by a bio-mass heating system sited near the original stable block, now brought back to use. Careful repair was needed as the work progressed and the minimum of new stone by Cathedral Works of Chichester. Coade stone balusters have had to be replaced and new Coade stone, in the form of classical figures and reliefs, have been made by Stephen Pettifer, who also conserved the surviving stone floor in the Stair Hall.

The intent to create a practical and comfortable family house has been achieved with the addition of a new bedroom floor, bathrooms, a lift and oval attic staircase; but the bulk of the original layouts are as left in the 1830s.

Jointly commended: Sandycombe Lodge, Twickenham - Butler Hegarty Architects

Jointly commended: Glynde Place, Lewes, East Sussex – Giles Quarme and Associates


Winner: Marchmont House, Berwickshire – Smith and Garratt, Surveyors

Marchmont is a major Palladian mansion in the Scottish Borders, between the small towns of Greenlaw and Duns. In 1988 Mr. Oliver Burge, managing director of Marchmont Farms, had purchased some 3,000 acres of the estate (a further 2,500 acres followed separately in 2007). Mr Burge at this stage had no particular interest in the house, but in 2006, with the failure of the care home use, he and his son Hugo, fellow director, decided to take it on.

Finding a viable future for a house the size of Marchmont in a remote rural setting presented a major challenge. The Burges concluded that the best way forward would be effectively to divide the building into functionally separate units without compromising its architectural integrity. These would comprise the Georgian state rooms on the piano nobile, including large and small dining rooms; meeting rooms for conferences, including the music room and a film room; one main apartment that could be rented separately; self-contained flats for a housekeeper and caretaker; various estate offices; and, on the top floor, an eight-bedroom apartment that could be let to shooting parties and others.

In restoring and finding new uses for one of Scotland’s most important but least known country houses, the aim was to involve local firms and individual craftsmen as far as practicable, and in the event over 85% came from south-east Scotland. The restoration was completed in early 2017.

The result has been truly remarkable, and seeing the house today it is very hard to believe that only a few years ago the magnificent interiors were obscured by institutional use, with not a single piece of historic furniture remaining in the house.

Jointly commended:  Mount Stewart, Co. Down, Northern Ireland – The National Trust Northern Ireland

Jointly commended:  Euston Hall, Suffolk – Francis Johnston and Partners


Winner: 14 Fournier Street, London – Julian Harrapp Architects

No. 14 Fournier Street was built in 1726 by William Taylor, a joiner and woodworker, for his own family home. The house is one of the grandest house in what is widely recognised to be the finest street in Spitalfields. Until purchased by the present owner in 2014, the house had been in single ownership since its rescue from the threat of demolition in the early 1970’s.

The project commenced as a relatively straightforward refurbishment project with internal and external repair of the historic fabric, new bathrooms and kitchen and new M&E services. However, structural analysis demonstrated that the building was considerably overstressed and almost in a state of collapse. The architectural aim for the project was to bring the house up to present day standards, address the very serious structural issues and present a comfortable home, whilst retaining the evidence of history, structural distress and severe wear and tear through almost three centuries. This perceived light touch concealed an extraordinary amount of dedicated work by highly skilled craftsmen.

Jointly commended: 44 Long Street, Tetbury, Gloucestershire – Chris Dyson Architects

Jointly commended: 9 Somerset Place, Bath – Jonathan Rhind Architects


Winner: Grimsthorpe Gates, Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire – Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Landscape Design

Grimsthorpe Castle is a heritage asset of the greatest importance. The historic park and garden are registered Grade I and the Castle building is listed grade I. Therefore, when new entrance gates were proposed for the North Avenue, the greatest attention to the design and execution of the work was required. The design is intended to create a dramatic but sympathetic entrance to the North Avenue and the approach to the Castle. The new gates introduce a new frame into the long-distance but important view of the Castle, and they also redefine the North Avenue in the key view into the park from the A151. The new gates, by the quality of their design and execution, greatly enhance the grandeur of the North Avenue and the Castle as a grand vista and emphasising its role as the principal approach.

Jointly commended: Sir John Soane’s Masonic Ark, The Grand Temple, Freemasons Hall, London – Houghtons of York

Jointly commended: Stowe Gothic Cross, Stowe, Buckinghamshire – Cliveden Conservation

Jointly commended: Holkham Cricket Pavillion, Holkham Hall, Norfolk – George Carter Garden Design

Jointly commended: Blandford Parish Church Cupola Project, Blandford Forum, Dorset  – Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects


Reads Cutlers, 4 Parliament Street, Dublin, Ireland – Kelly and Cogan Architects

Trading in Dublin since the 1670’s (originally at Blind Quay) and in its present location since the 1740’s Reads was a lucrative family business trading in swords, knives, forks, and medical instruments.

The building is a conglomeration of built fabric dating from different construction periods: The earliest being the hitherto unrecognised early 17th / 18th century premises fronting onto Crane Lane which were later absorbed into the mid18th century Wide Streets Commissioners alterations which front onto Parliament Street.

A myriad of problems were also present ranging from damage to original fabric and structure as a result of interventions in the 1980s, to the consequences of bomb and bullet damage during the 1916 insurrection on the shop-front and façade brickwork over to Parliament Street. Less dramatic but serious damage occurred as a result of wear and tear due to the buildings age including general wear and damage (as well as structurally derived distortion) to the shop fittings and fixtures and the consequences of poor quality cement re-pointing to the Parliament Street Façade in the mid 20th century. These issues were not irresolvable but required a carefully managed process of intervention and stabilisation.

The aim was to minimise intervention and maximise preservation and conservation such that our work will pass unnoticed, our interventions will be those of only the strictest necessity, and ultimately our participation in the history of Reads Cutlers will pass quietly into the seamless life over the centuries of the Building.


Burn Croft, High Street, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire – Mrs. Julie Roberts

Burncroft is an attractive semi-detached villa of c.1840. It was identified as a building at risk by North Lincolnshire Council in 2005. The interior had been little altered, but the property had suffered from decades of neglect with the roof, plasterwork, brick, windows and stucco all requiring serious attention. Over fifteen years the owner carefully restored this property, while living in it, removing 1930s chimneypieces and replacing them with late Georgian examples, including the replacement of a stolen original chimneypiece, and painstakingly repairing and reinstating lost elements of this modest but elegant building. This is a commendable example of a restoration scheme undertaken on a very tight budget, with much of the work being undertaken by the owners themselves. What is very striking is the way that the owners have researched each stage of the repair process and found local craftsmen who were willing and able to undertake conservative repairs using traditional materials. The restoration of Burncroft admirably demonstrates what can be achieved with limited resources, and its restoration has transformed a building which was at risk into an ornament and exemplar to the conservation area in which it sits.



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