Forty seven of the South East’s most impressive and community-beneficial property schemes battled it out for top honours at last night’s 2017 RICS Awards, South East, where British Airways I-360 in Brighton awarded the overall ‘Project of the Year’ title.

The prestigious annual contest — held at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton — celebrates inspirational initiatives in the region’s land, property and construction sectors. Sameena Ali- Khan, best known as the main presenter for ITV News Central, was the host for this year’s sell-out ceremony which attracted over two hundred property professionals.

Project of the year winner: British Airways I-360

The highly acclaimed Project of the Year accolade is presented to the scheme which demonstrates overall outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area. British Airways I-360 not only scooped the prestigious title this year, it also won the 'Design through Innovation' and 'Tourism & Leisure' awards.

Brighton has a long tradition of expressing its identity through remarkable architecture and British Airways I-360 continues this tradition of celebratory structures. Not only has the project given the city a 21st  Century landmark with which to identify itself, it has created new jobs and spurred economic growth. The innovative form of funding used to build British Airways i360 means that Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) earns nearly £1 million per year for the city. These earnings are used for regenerative purposes, to breathe new life into forgotten areas and to give back to the city.

In urban design terms, the tower can be seen as an equivalent of an obelisk which traditionally was used to complete the bottom of an open-ended, three-sided plan, such as Regency Square. The height of British Airways i360 is half the length of the West Pier, while the visitor centre at its base, including the reconstructed Eugenius Birch-designed 1866 tollbooths and flanking stairs, stretches the width of Regency Square behind it. The tower, aligned on the central axis of Regency Square, creates a strong reference point from afar.

Other category winners:

  • Building Conservation – Glynde Place
  • Commercial – The Yarrow, Broadstairs
  • Community Benefit – Civitas, Reading
  • Design through Innovation – British Airways I-360, Brighton
  • Regeneration – Chapel Arches, Maidenhead
  • Residential – Camber Beach Houses, Camber Sands
  • Tourism & Leisure – British Airways I-360, Brighton

Highly commended projects

A number of Highly Commended certificates were also awarded by the judges to projects which impressed, but were just pipped to the post by the winners. These were:

  • Pump House No 5, Chatham (Building Conservation)
  • The White Building, Southampton (Commercial)
  • Warwick Hall Community Centre (Community Benefit)
  • Forest Lodge, New Forest (Design through Innovation)
  • Finberry Village Ashford (Residential)
  • Bombay Sapphire Distillery & Visitor Centre (Tourism & Leisure)
These exemplary built schemes are already having a positive impact on their local communities and are actively helping to ensure the South East is one of the best regions in which to live, work and visit. The teams behind all the projects should be incredibly proud as they have shown just what is achievable with vision and a collaborative approach. In particular, our Project of the Year demonstrates innovation throughout its design and construction, and has created an iconic landmark. Despite the ongoing skills shortages in the construction industry, every year our region’s professionals continue to deliver world-class built projects. This just goes to show that we have some of the very best skilled property professionals and surveyors, who together are attracting significant investment into the South East and helping the region to prosper.

RICS Awards Grand Final

All category winners will go on to compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final in October 2017 in London, for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category.

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