© 2018 by KM for SJCC

Craftmanship awards

RIBA Suffolk annual Craftsmanship Awards

 

This annual competition is a celebration of the quality and expertise of Suffolk craftsmen and women who demonstrate their skills on construction projects across the county.  Results confirm that the traditional skills of bricklaying, carpentry, joinery, plastering, roof tiling, and internal finishing are very much alive and well throughout the Suffolk construction industry. 

  

Nominations are received from Architects, Contractors and Clients, all of whom are proud to show off their completed projects to the adjudication team, to allow the details to be inspected and for comparisons to be made. 

  

Projects are divided into four categories: 

  • New Buildings

  • Alterations & Extensions

  • Restorations 

  • Individual Craftsmanship 

 

Typically between 40 and 50 nominations are received each year. 

  

Judging takes place in March and the Awards are presented at the Suffolk Joint Council for Construction (SJCC) Annual Dinner at Trinity Park in early May.  This prestigious event attracts some 400 building professionals

New Build - small scheme

WINNER: Marton House, Woodbridge

Architect: James Rush and Craig Western, Wincer Kievenaar

Contractor: Robert Norman Construction 

Judge’s comment: “Marton House sits on a sizeable plot. A 1930’s detached house was demolished to be replaced by an outstanding home designed to meet the needs of the family. The courtyard garden is surrounded on three sides by the new building and provides a very private and quiet space.  The new house sits under a double pitch slate roof, the link corridor under sedum and the office and hydrotherapy room combine to provide that privacy. 

The ground floor layout is an open plan flexible space with playrooms that can become bedrooms, an outstanding kitchen and a quiet snug. The first-floor circulation space is top lit with galleried landing allowing the light to flow down the timber and glass stairs to the hall below. The quality of workmanship is excellent throughout, and of particular note is the brickwork, the cedar cladding and the kitchen.  

This is a big house that makes the most of its central plot and is designed for ease of access. It is a true home for life.”

New Build - large scheme

WINNER: Alms Houses, Framlingham

Architect: Rob Marsh-Feiley, Hollins Architects  

Contractor: O. Seaman & Son 

Owner: The Mills Charity

Judge’s comment: “What is outstanding with this project is how the quality prevails throughout the entire terrace, built on a rising curve to take advantage of the open space immediately south.  The works comprise of four one-bedroom flats and 10 three-bedroom town houses; five of which are ‘accessible’ and include a bedroom and a wet room on the ground floor. 

The deliberately small back gardens include the basic necessities of bicycle shed and space to dry the washing. The narrow front gardens simply separate the front windows from passing pedestrians.

The well-chosen light buff bricks are an ideal choice for reducing the bulk of the extensive terrace, as are the ‘end stops’ created by turning the roof of each terminal property through 90 degrees.  

One would expect tenants, recently moved into a new property to be pleased with the building, but those we spoke to were unreservedly complementary, not least for the sense of community that had developed between neighbours. They were, without exception, delighted with their new homes.”

Major Alteration & Extension

WINNER: 10 Quay Street, Woodbridge

Architect:  Chris Game, Plaice Design Company 

Contractor:  John W O’Dowd

Owner: Mr O Cottam & Ms S Mogaghan

Judge’s comment: “A small semi-detached property with a miniscule back yard, the architects were challenged to remodel the property maximising both the internal and external spaces. Collectively the quality of workmanship throughout is excellent; the installation of the steelwork was obviously challenging and the structural glass roof to the kitchen extension innovative.  A warm welcoming home has been created out of an otherwise ordinary Victorian property.”

Major Alteration & Extension

COMMENDATION: Red House, Saxmundham

Architect: James Bailey, Matheson Whiteley Architects

Contractor: Birch Homes

Structural Engineer: Superstructures

Owner: Mr R Gander

Judge’s comment: “The project was to extend and refurbish a pair of Victorian houses in Saxmundham making it suitable for use as a wheelchair-friendly home and artist studio. The artist owner envisaged some unique features including the brick surround to the living room fireplace and the steel staircase.  We particularly admired the perfection achieved in the shadow gaps, notably between steel joist and ceiling.” 

Restoration and Refurbishments

WINNER: Peatlings, Bury St Edmunds

Architect: Aoife O'Gorman, BCR Infinity Architects,

Contractor: O. Seaman & Son 

Owner: Mr & Mrs Haydon

Judge’s comment: “The original building had a variety of uses over the past 200 years, latterly as a wine merchant.  For restoration into a home, it was re-roofed, the interior was completely gutted and refitted, and a single-storey extension was built. The quality of workmanship is outstanding, and credit should go to the architect who had the vision to create a warm comfortable home from a previous open plan retail unit.”

Restoration and Refurbishments

COMMENDATION: Wright House, Ipswich

Architect: Ross Warren, Hoopers Architects

Contractor: A C Harding

Structural Engineer: JP Chick & Partners

Owner: Mr & Mrs Wright

Judge’s comment: “An insignificant bungalow tucked away amongst substantial property in north Ipswich until a chance meeting between client and architect.  The result is a former late-20th century non-entity opened up to let the light stream in, extended to grab a view across the Gipping valley and turned into a warm welcoming and comfortable home; almost all contained wholly within the existing shell.”

Individual Trades

WINNER: Multiple Trades, Branfield, Bentley

Architect: Jon Pattle, Poole & Pattle 

Contractor:  DC Construction Ltd

Owner: Mr & Mrs B. Feltwell

Judge’s comment: “What are the factors that make one new house so much better than another?  Why is it that some houses ‘work’ when others are just nice because they’re new? Is good design an influential factor that leads to good build and do the workmen take more pride in what they are doing when they sense they are building something worthwhile rather than just another box?

Barnfield is ‘back-garden’ development in Bentley. It received Planning Permission because it is the replacement for a barn that stood on the site (hence the name).

It is obvious that everybody took their time on this project, applied just that little extra effort and tried to get things right first time.  Everybody includes the client who had spent some time working on the brief and so knew reasonably well what they wanted. The architect who had some substantial ideas on which to base his design and led the main contractor who knew immediately that some quality tradesmen would be required.

Thus, by the time the lads were on site, laying bricks, cutting rafters or plastering curves, the quality requirements were to the fore. To cut corners would have been alien to common theme, against the grain of the daily routine.  The result is an outstanding example of what is achievable for a reasonable budget with just that little extra amount of effort.”

Special Award

WINNER: Goldsmiths Mansion, Sudbury

Architect: Phil Branton, Chris Hyam and Megan Clark, Wincer Kievenaar Architects 

Contractor:  Rose Builders

Structural Engineer: Richard Jackson

Owner: Roger Mattingly and Christina Manning 

Judge’s comment: “Goldsmiths Mansion, or Mattingly’s as it is commonly known after the family which purchased the property in 1874 as a gentleman’s outfitter, is a long-established building in the centre of Sudbury. Originally one shop, more recently it was divided into three units with flats above.  The building suffered an unfortunate but devastating fire in 2015 and the damage was so extensive that there was little choice but to demolish the entire property and rebuild.  

However, this is easier said than done. Like most town centre sites, the footprint of the building occupied the full width and most of the depth of the plot. There was no space for site huts, materials or manoeuvrings, and the road outside was a key route through the town centre.

The building’s owners were keen to acknowledge the historic significance of the building and its place within the high street but understood that an exact replica was both impracticable and prohibitively expensive.  Thus, the new building displays many of the original features of the original including sash windows, decorative brickwork and an initialled and dated roundel.

Mention should be made of Peter Minter of Bulmer Bricks who searched amongst the rubble just hours after the fire to recover examples of the decorative bricks so that replicas could be recreated.  The result is an excellent example of the whole construction team working together to achieve a worthy replacement to a fine Sudbury building.

New Build - small scheme

WINNER: Marton House, Woodbridge

Architect: James Rush and Craig Western, Wincer Kievenaar

Contractor: Robert Norman Construction 

Judge’s comment: “Marton House sits on a sizeable plot. A 1930’s detached house was demolished to be replaced by an outstanding home designed to meet the needs of the family. The courtyard garden is surrounded on three sides by the new building and provides a very private and quiet space.  The new house sits under a double pitch slate roof, the link corridor under sedum and the office and hydrotherapy room combine to provide that privacy. 

The ground floor layout is an open plan flexible space with playrooms that can become bedrooms, an outstanding kitchen and a quiet snug. The first-floor circulation space is top lit with galleried landing allowing the light to flow down the timber and glass stairs to the hall below. The quality of workmanship is excellent throughout, and of particular note is the brickwork, the cedar cladding and the kitchen.  

This is a big house that makes the most of its central plot and is designed for ease of access. It is a true home for life.”

New Build - large scheme

WINNER: Alms Houses, Framlingham

Architect: Rob Marsh-Feiley, Hollins Architects  

Contractor: O. Seaman & Son 

Owner: The Mills Charity

Judge’s comment: “What is outstanding with this project is how the quality prevails throughout the entire terrace, built on a rising curve to take advantage of the open space immediately south.  The works comprise of four one-bedroom flats and 10 three-bedroom town houses; five of which are ‘accessible’ and include a bedroom and a wet room on the ground floor. 

The deliberately small back gardens include the basic necessities of bicycle shed and space to dry the washing. The narrow front gardens simply separate the front windows from passing pedestrians.

The well-chosen light buff bricks are an ideal choice for reducing the bulk of the extensive terrace, as are the ‘end stops’ created by turning the roof of each terminal property through 90 degrees.  

One would expect tenants, recently moved into a new property to be pleased with the building, but those we spoke to were unreservedly complementary, not least for the sense of community that had developed between neighbours. They were, without exception, delighted with their new homes.”

Major Alteration & Extension

WINNER: 10 Quay Street, Woodbridge

Architect:  Chris Game, Plaice Design Company 

Contractor:  John W O’Dowd

Owner: Mr O Cottam & Ms S Mogaghan

Judge’s comment: “A small semi-detached property with a miniscule back yard, the architects were challenged to remodel the property maximising both the internal and external spaces. Collectively the quality of workmanship throughout is excellent; the installation of the steelwork was obviously challenging and the structural glass roof to the kitchen extension innovative.  A warm welcoming home has been created out of an otherwise ordinary Victorian property.”

Major Alteration & Extension

COMMENDATION: Red House, Saxmundham

Architect: James Bailey, Matheson Whiteley Architects

Contractor: Birch Homes

Structural Engineer: Superstructures

Owner: Mr R Gander

Judge’s comment: “The project was to extend and refurbish a pair of Victorian houses in Saxmundham making it suitable for use as a wheelchair-friendly home and artist studio. The artist owner envisaged some unique features including the brick surround to the living room fireplace and the steel staircase.  We particularly admired the perfection achieved in the shadow gaps, notably between steel joist and ceiling.” 

Restoration and Refurbishments

WINNER: Peatlings, Bury St Edmunds

Architect: Aoife O'Gorman, BCR Infinity Architects,

Contractor: O. Seaman & Son 

Owner: Mr & Mrs Haydon

Judge’s comment: “The original building had a variety of uses over the past 200 years, latterly as a wine merchant.  For restoration into a home, it was re-roofed, the interior was completely gutted and refitted, and a single-storey extension was built. The quality of workmanship is outstanding, and credit should go to the architect who had the vision to create a warm comfortable home from a previous open plan retail unit.”

Restoration and Refurbishments

COMMENDATION: Wright House, Ipswich

Architect: Ross Warren, Hoopers Architects

Contractor: A C Harding

Structural Engineer: JP Chick & Partners

Owner: Mr & Mrs Wright

Judge’s comment: “An insignificant bungalow tucked away amongst substantial property in north Ipswich until a chance meeting between client and architect.  The result is a former late-20th century non-entity opened up to let the light stream in, extended to grab a view across the Gipping valley and turned into a warm welcoming and comfortable home; almost all contained wholly within the existing shell.”

Individual Trades

WINNER: Multiple Trades, Branfield, Bentley

Architect: Jon Pattle, Poole & Pattle 

Contractor:  DC Construction Ltd

Owner: Mr & Mrs B. Feltwell

Judge’s comment: “What are the factors that make one new house so much better than another?  Why is it that some houses ‘work’ when others are just nice because they’re new? Is good design an influential factor that leads to good build and do the workmen take more pride in what they are doing when they sense they are building something worthwhile rather than just another box?

Barnfield is ‘back-garden’ development in Bentley. It received Planning Permission because it is the replacement for a barn that stood on the site (hence the name).

It is obvious that everybody took their time on this project, applied just that little extra effort and tried to get things right first time.  Everybody includes the client who had spent some time working on the brief and so knew reasonably well what they wanted. The architect who had some substantial ideas on which to base his design and led the main contractor who knew immediately that some quality tradesmen would be required.

Thus, by the time the lads were on site, laying bricks, cutting rafters or plastering curves, the quality requirements were to the fore. To cut corners would have been alien to common theme, against the grain of the daily routine.  The result is an outstanding example of what is achievable for a reasonable budget with just that little extra amount of effort.”

Special Award

WINNER: Goldsmiths Mansion, Sudbury

Architect: Phil Branton, Chris Hyam and Megan Clark, Wincer Kievenaar Architects 

Contractor:  Rose Builders

Structural Engineer: Richard Jackson

Owner: Roger Mattingly and Christina Manning 

Judge’s comment: “Goldsmiths Mansion, or Mattingly’s as it is commonly known after the family which purchased the property in 1874 as a gentleman’s outfitter, is a long-established building in the centre of Sudbury. Originally one shop, more recently it was divided into three units with flats above.  The building suffered an unfortunate but devastating fire in 2015 and the damage was so extensive that there was little choice but to demolish the entire property and rebuild.  

However, this is easier said than done. Like most town centre sites, the footprint of the building occupied the full width and most of the depth of the plot. There was no space for site huts, materials or manoeuvrings, and the road outside was a key route through the town centre.

The building’s owners were keen to acknowledge the historic significance of the building and its place within the high street but understood that an exact replica was both impracticable and prohibitively expensive.  Thus, the new building displays many of the original features of the original including sash windows, decorative brickwork and an initialled and dated roundel.

Mention should be made of Peter Minter of Bulmer Bricks who searched amongst the rubble just hours after the fire to recover examples of the decorative bricks so that replicas could be recreated.  The result is an excellent example of the whole construction team working together to achieve a worthy replacement to a fine Sudbury building.

RIBA Suffolk a Craftsmanship Awards 2019