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2019 Project of the Year: RICS Awards, East Midlands

We're delighted to announce the RICS Project of the Year 2019, East Midlands - Heckington Windmill - along with the winners and highly commended for the RICS Awards 2019, North East.

A diverse range of the East Midlands most impressive and community beneficial property schemes battled it out for top honours at the annual RICS Awards, East Midlands, which were supported by headline sponsor, Sika and held at the Mercure Leicester The Grand Hotel in Leicester.

Project of the Year - Heckington Windmill, Lincolnshire

The highly acclaimed 'Project of the Year' title is presented to the scheme which demonstrates overall outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area.

The ambitious project in the heart of rural Lincolnshire has regenerated the setting of Heckington Windmill, the only working eight-sailed mill in the world, restoring the historic buildings on site as a new visitor facility, shop, ticket office, exhibition space and WCs. The cornerstone of the design by Cowper Griffith Architects was bringing the C19 buildings back into use while retaining their historic character, at the same time as securing a sustainable economic and environmental future for the mill.

RICS judges were extremely impressed with Heckington Windmill Trusts commitment and enthusiasm to retain and preserve the historical features of the Grade I Listed Windmill and outbuildings. The team behind the project – Sheriff Tiplady Associates, Newman Moore and Cowper Griffith has secured the future of a key local landmark, and created a destination for visitors and the local community to enjoy for years to come.

Spot yourself: take a look at our picture gallery from this year's ceremony

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Heckington Windmill, Lincolnshire

Category winners

Building Conservation

Heckington Windmill, Lincolnshire

The ambitious project in the heart of rural Lincolnshire has regenerated the setting of Heckington Windmill, the only working eight-sailed mill in the world, restoring the historic buildings on site as a new visitor facility, shop, ticket office, exhibition space and WCs. The cornerstone of the design by Cowper Griffith Architects was bringing the C19 buildings back into use while retaining their historic character, at the same time as securing a sustainable economic and environmental future for the mill.

RICS judges described Heckington Windmill as a worthy Building Conservation winner because not only is it the only eight-sailed windmill in the world, but English Heritage now deem this as an example of how windmills should be preserved.

As a notable landmark for the village, judges were impressed not only by the approach to restore the 19th Century buildings back to original condition, using traditional and sympathetic building techniques, but the project team's commitment to ensuring the community were involved not only in the restoration itself but formulating a legacy for generations to come.

Highly commended: The Lawn, Lincoln

Commercial

Princess Road East, Leicester

Princess Road East is a new built, high-end student accommodation scheme, compromising 110 studios with generous communal facilities. The development located at 73-75 Princess Road East, Leicester and within the heart of Leicester historic conservation area and across the road from De Montfort Square. The development communal facilities include a secured outdoor area located at the basement area, study rooms, gym, laundry and a communal & games area.

RICS judges commended, MDA Consulting and mas architecture ltd, for the new build, high-end, student accommodation scheme for its thoughtful development and promotion of modern ideas whilst complimenting adjoining Grade II Listed Buildings. They were impressed by the complexity of the site development, which cleverly and thoughtfully addressed the harmonious and considerate utilization of high-quality external materials, contemporary glazing, energy saving technology and high-end finishes with the provision of 'above and beyond' communal spaces for their student occupants.

Community Benefit

Sponsored by University of Nottingham

Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, Nottingham

Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre is part of a £5.3 million scheme for RSPB to provide new facilities including car park leading to a new village square, staff accommodation, toilets including changing places facility, retail and catering offer which links to an amphitheatre space, open green, children's play area and Sherwood Forest. The new facilities offer exciting events and activities and act as a gateway, providing free access to the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve.

RICS judges saw Sherwood Forest Visitors Centre as a significant gateway building leading visitors into the ancient forest. They commended Woodhead Group, JDDK Architects and Kartar Consulting for delivering the curved, twisted form building; created by staggered roof beams reflects the forest environment and covers 558sq metre across the split-level structure. The linear format pulls visitors from a new village square at Forest Corner through and down a 5m level change, knitting the building and forest into the existing community. Through its design an accessible gateway and community engaging spaces to the forest are created.

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Princess Road East, Leicester
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University of Northampton Learning Hub, Northampton

Design Through Innovation

University of Northampton Learning Hub, Northampton

The 22,000m2 Learning Hub – delivered by Turner Townsend, Bowmer & Kirkland and MCW Architects - forms the core of the learning experience on the University of Northampton's Waterside Campus. The building is the focus for the students' learning experience - a 'fusion facility' open 24 hours/day – that 'blends' an innovative and radical re-think about teaching, learning, working and social spaces to provide a range of dynamic, flexible and supportive environments for students and staff.

RICS judges commended the project team behind the learning hub at Northampton for providing an insight into the standards that can be achieved in a nonspecific academic building that creates an engaging and supportive environment for all users. By embracing innovative approaches, the bi product seems to be that the traditional elements have also moved forward embracing the strategies that promote this building and the university.

It was evident that the philosophy that has been created has been developed with user experience at the forefront with the ability to adapt as academia evolves prevalent in the management of the building.

Infrastructure

Lincoln Transport Hub, Lincoln

The project – supplied by Thornton Wilkin, Willmott Dixon and John Roberts Architects Lincoln - comprises a new 1001-space multi-storey car park, bus station, commercial space, reconfigured railway station forecourt, and improved road network and public realm. The £30m Lincoln Transport Hub redevelopment played a crucial role in securing the city's economic growth, creating a state-of-the-art transport interchange, which significantly improves public transport accessibility, encouraging modal shift and providing an impressive gateway to the city. A phased delivery during construction, coupled with close working relationships with key partners and local businesses ensured that the project was delivered ahead of time to an excellent standard.

RICS judges believe the gateway to any City is important, and far too often the access, particularly from public transport involves crossing busy pedestrian unfriendly roads or using an unattractive underpass or bridge.

The historic City of Lincoln has created with its new Transport Hub, a much-improved access for all visitors to the city, engaging with a range of stakeholders, including Historic England and Network Rail, to create this excellent facility, all on time and within budget.

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Lincoln Transport Hub, Lincoln

Regeneration

Cromford Mills, Matlock

Sir Richard Arkwright's Cromford Mills are regarded as the world's first factory. Grade 1 listed, they sit at the northern gateway to the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site. Work to Building 17, delivered by Purcell UK, Nigel Winter Associates and Eastwood & Partners, involved the £4.2m conservation and conversion of the site's biggest mill c.1785, to provide a centre for creative industries and a visitor centre for the world heritage site. Key challenges included resolving serious contamination and negotiating complex changes to the building's historic fabric to accommodate the new uses.

RICS judges call the project a truly impressive regeneration scheme this is more than first meets the eye. A redundant mill free of contaminant provides spaces for businesses to flourish and a location for visitors to appreciate the heritage. An exemplar model that should be honoured wherever possible.

Highly commended: The Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre, Stanford-on-Soar

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Cromford Mills, Matlock
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Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, Nottingham

Tourism & Leisure

Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, Nottingham

Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre is part of a £5.3m scheme for RSPB to provide a bespoke modern visitor offer that is befitting of the international status of Sherwood Forest. New facilities with retail and catering, allow for exciting events and activities and act as a gateway, providing free access to the National Nature Reserve. The creation of a 'village square' has encouraged greater affinity with the local businesses, and closer ties to Edwinstowe village.

RICS judges commended the project has created an iconic centre while working cleverly within the restrictions of a nature reserve. It has created a focal point to drive tourism not only to Sherwood Forest but also to generate footfall for other visitor attractions in the wider area. The innovative design and excellent facilities enable visitors of all abilities to enjoy the centre. Sustainability and environment measures have been considered at every stage to deliver a building which embodies creative thinking and long-term strategy

Thank you to our sponsors

  • RICS Awards headline sponsor and Project of the Year sponsor

  • Community Benefit Sponsor

    Nottingham University