Over 45 of Yorkshire and Humber’s most impressive and community beneficial property schemes battled it out for top honours at the annual RICS Awards, Yorkshire & Humber. Veteran Look North TV presenter, Clare Frisby hosted this year’s sell-out ceremony – supported by SIKA – held on Friday 11 May at the Centenary Pavilion at Leeds United Football Club.
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 Piece Hall had fell into significant decline over the years. But its transformation has not only brought the historic building brought back to life, but created a stunning cultural venue, complete with quality eateries, boutique and unique shops, that is also attracting an array of events including contemporary and classical music concerts.
RICS judges said the project exemplifies culture-led regeneration and praised the team behind it - including Calderdale Council, LDN Architects, Gleeds, Turner & Townsend and Graham Construction - for realising the true potential of The Piece Hall. The new complex is already attracting significant footfall and new business activity to the area, and having a positive impact on businesses within the town centre.
Repair works had been long-needed after previous works to convert the property into individual apartments back in 2004 led to much of the original fabric under threat from water ingress, damp and dry rot. To ensure the historic fabric is prevented from any further erosion, the property was re-roofed with special consideration to the detailing of leadwork and slate. A new surface water drainage system was also installed to avoid internal drainage runs.
RICS judges said the refurbishment works - delivered by Aura Conservation, Cavendish Bloor and Crosby Granger Architects - are exceptional and have safeguarded the building’s future. The judges also praised the project team for using the works as a ‘live project’ to train young lead workers and architecture students.
Sponsored by Shulmans
The first Grade A office within the £400 million Kirkstall Forge mixed-use development is rated BREEAM Excellent and has an enviable location close to a railway station and surrounded by 150 acres of green space, enjoying riverside views within a wooded valley alongside a canal towpath. The office offers concierge services and lifestyle activities including running clubs, cycle and scooter hire. RICS judges said the project team - including CEG, Cooper Cromar, Wates Construction and Pierre Angulaire – have delivered innovative and striking workspace that not only works for people as well as the environment, but also promotes sustainable travel.
The pioneering conversion of the former derelict East Leeds Leisure Centre into a modern place mainstream school has given one of the most vulnerable communities in Leeds new learning and social opportunities that meet the exact needs of local residents and have helped to boost morale in the community.
The project saw the team behind it – including ISG Construction, Mace Cost Consultancy and Watson Batty Architects – demolish the existing swimming pool hall to make space for a linked 3-storey new-build teaching block and assembly hall. RICS judges praised the project team for involving the community and school children with the design of the project and re-using as much of the existing infrastructure from the former leisure centre as possible.
Sponsored by Forbo Flooring Systems
The £50 million Phase 1 Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme - one of the largest river flood defence projects - in the country involved delivering linear defences along the river through the city centre, and installing innovative moveable weirs at Crown Point and Knostrop that can be lowered in flood conditions.
RICS judges were highly impressed that the project on behalf of Leeds City Council - delivered by Arup, BAM Nuttall, Mott MacDonald, 2H Architects and Knight Architects – has significantly reduced the flood risk to over 3,500 city centre properties, together with access routes to the train station area, electricity sub-stations, and over 300 acres of developable land.
The Piece Hall is the only remaining intact cloth hall in the country, where ‘pieces’ of cloth were traded from 1779 until industrial manufacture supplanted hand loom weaving. Over the years, it fell into decline and was in dire need of significant repair.
Today – thanks to Calderdale Council, LDN Architects, Gleeds, Turner & Townsend and Graham Construction - The Piece Hall is a vibrant new cultural and commercial centre that is attracting significant public and private sector funding and new businesses and organisations to the area. Most recently, Leeds Beckett University made the decision to site its new Business Centre on an approach to The Piece Hall. The Central Library has also proved a huge success, and transformed former derelict brownfield land.
One of the largest flood water attenuation schemes in Great Britain, Willerby and Derringham Flood Alleviation Scheme has significantly reduced flooding to thousands of homes and businesses in the suburbs of Hull. The £14.4 million scheme involved installing controlled structures across four reservoirs – including a large scale hydraulic model for the whole River Hull catchment area - to control the release of water into the lower drainage system.
RICS judges praised the project – delivered by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Balfour Beatty and Pell Frischmann - as highly innovative yet incredibly sustainable, requiring no power consumption to operate.
Fern House – a quality £11.5 million build which was once occupied by Bingley Hospital - provides 49 one and two-bedroom extra-care apartments for elderly people and 30 en-suite Dementia Care rooms together with extensive communal areas. These include a restaurant, hair and beauty salon, assisted spa bathrooms, shop and hobbies room set around a four-storey atrium and sensory garden.
RICS judges praised the project team behind the complex – including Bardsley Construction, Bernard Williams Associates and Brewster Bye Architects – for creating attractive yet affordable extra-care accommodation that offers access to different levels of care up to 24-hour care.
Creating William’s Den - a stunning children’s play attraction - involved converting listed farm buildings and bringing the outdoors inside with an adventure play barn that is designed to connect children with nature by enabling them to explore, run, climb and build dens in an open, rural setting.
The project - delivered by Geo. Houlton & Sons Ltd, Native Chartered Architects and Mason Clark Associates – was described by RICS judges as outstanding. In addition to play, it also offers a quality family restaurant – complete with a bar and ice cream parlour – and since it’s opening last year, William’s Den has achieved high visitor numbers and revenue that is well above what was estimated for the first year.