Solent Design Awards 2015 - Winners - Quality Places - Urban Design

Buildings serving the heart of the academic community have produced a top-grade performance in the 2014 Solent Design Awards. The two big winners were: firstly, a project to re-establish a University’s frontage and provide flexible teaching areas; and secondly, a new School entrance building with a landscaped courtyard to enhance the lives of all students. Meanwhile the People’s Choice for 2014 was the Mary Rose Museum.


Quality Places Award

The judges were unanimous in their decision to award the top Quality Places Award to Ryde School on the Isle of Wight. Designed by Walters & Cohen Architects, the new entrance was, in their words: “A bold approach to the listed building and conservation area, creating a timeless addition to the School of exceptional clarity and rigour, executed with intelligence and honesty.”

Lisa Jackson, Chairman of the Solent Design Awards Judges, voiced the view of all when she added: “The overall ensemble reveals the Grade II listed Westmont building and creates an enclosed courtyard garden between the two structures.”


Urban Design Award

The new 2014 Urban Design Award, sponsored by the Urban Design Group, was won by the St Alphege Building at the University of Winchester. Designed by Design Engine Architects, it was, in the opinion of the judges, “the best example of urban design.”  They were impressed by the overall master plan for the campus, which was central to the success of this scheme. Lisa Jackson commented: “St. Alphege demonstrates how a single building can contribute positively to a sense of place by respecting its neighbouring buildings and creating enclosure of a reclaimed piece of public realm. The use of public art was exceptional – it was truly integrated into the building fabric and lifted the whole sense of the space as a beautiful piece in its own right.”


As well as Lisa Jackson, the judging panel also included: architect, lecturer and design tutor at the University of Westminster, Peter Barber; Built Environment Expert and urban designer, Liz Kessler of the Urban Design Group (and also a member of CABE’s panel of experts); and Martin Pearce, author and Principal Architecture Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth (also external examiner for RIBA's Professional Education Committee, and chair of the Isle of Wight RIBA Awards).


Peoples' Choice


And because the Solent Design Awards are focused on places and spaces which the community values and in which people want to live, study and work, the People’s Choice Award is a crucial accolade. This year’s clear winner, the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, was described by the judges as “an understated, simple, elegant structure” with “artefacts imaginatively displayed, recreating the concept of the secret jewel inside the box.”


Paul Grover from the University of Portsmouth, who helped organise the Awards on behalf of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH), said: “Our view is that the public’s choice is as important as that of the professionals, as they are the people who really matter and, as with the Sterling Prize this year, the community must be paramount in each and every design.”


The Awards, once again sponsored by PUSH, housing and construction company Bouygues UK, and the Urban Design Group, were presented at a Grand Awards Ceremony at the Mary Rose Museum on 20th November.  Congratulating the winners, Councillor Sean Woodward, Chairman of PUSH, said: “Our initial aim in setting up these Awards was to encourage the creation of excellent places and spaces for our local community in which to live and work. Good design can make great places and all these buildings underline this. I applaud all three winners.”


Bouygues UK Technical Director, Colin Tedder, said: “As any architect, constructor or house-builder will tell you, our job is about building communities, not just houses, offices or physical buildings. It’s about delivering something which has a visible, positive and lasting impact on the local community.  We’re proud once again to be supporting the Solent Design Awards, which embody that view - as do each of this year’s award winners.”