IHBC GASA Award

Reports


Reports


2016

IHBC Gus Astley 2016 Student Award: (from IHBC NewsBlog – 16th December 2016)
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The winner of the IHBC Gus Astley Student Award for 2016 has been announced as Hilary Wyatt, then on the IHBC-recognised conservation course at Cardiff University, for her work on historic marine infrastructure, selected by judge David Trench CBE FCIOB, for its ‘valuable contribution to this specialist subject… overlooked as a conservation priority.’

Hilary will receive a free place at the IHBC’s Annual School in Manchester in June – fittingly, themed on Historic Infrastructure – at which her £500 cash award and certificate will be presented.

Also selected for commendation by David Trench were:
  • - Marc Pique i Gascon, from the IHBC-recognised conservation course at the University of Bath, for ‘quoting the scripts and the life and times of the author’s hero’, Gustavo Giovannoni, ‘and matching those with before and after photographs of good and not-so-good examples of restoration and conservation’.
  • - Silvia Rossi, from the IHBC-recognised conservation course at the University of Central Lancashire, for her ‘comprehensive grasp of the UK planning process’, reaching ‘the inevitable conclusion that austerity budgets have reduced resources dedicated to conservation, and this has placed strains on the system’


Gus Astley Fund – Trustee Selection:
Bob Kindred MBE, independent conservation consultant, IHBC research consultant and trustee of the Gus Astley Fund – which has underpinned the development of the IHBC’s annual Gus Astley Student Award – added to the awards for 2016 with two submissions deserving particular commendation as ‘Trustee Selections’:
  • - Andy Atkinson, for work carried out on the IHBC-recognised conservation course at the Anglia Ruskin University.
  • - Tom Nancoll, for his dissertation submitted on the IHBC-recognised conservation course at Kingston University.


Commended and Selected submissions secure their authors the offer of £150 cash and a place at the 2017 Annual School in Manchester, where they can collect their certificates and prizes.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘The IHBC can be especially proud of the selection of winners for 2016 as we have had a ‘clean sweep’ of all the awards by students working on our IHBC accredited, ‘Recognised’, conservation courses.’

‘This is especially relevant when the primary selection has been made by the hugely respected and emphatically development-focussed practitioner David Trench, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building!’

‘When graduates from conservation courses recognised by the IHBC are consistently delivering heritage research that gains the admiration and respect of such independent figures as David, then we know we are doing things right!’

David Trench said: ‘It has been an honour and a pleasure to judge the 2016 IHBC Gus Astley Student Award.’

‘The Award is a tremendous way of promoting best practice, improving standards, and raising the profile of conservation studies. The standard of submissions was exceptional, and I have learned an enormous amount about developments across the historic environment.’

‘Hilary’s winning entry in particular is a fabulous contribution to specialist knowledge about a vital but little understood subject.’

Hilary Wyatt: ‘An Introduction to Historic Marine Infrastructure in Exposed Tidal Harbours…’

Hilary’s tutor, Oriel Prizemen, Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University, said: ‘The MSc Sustainable Building Conservation team at the Welsh School of Architecture are immensely proud of Hilary’s achievement, the quality of her dissertation reflects her deep understanding of the subject from a range of perspectives. We are also very grateful that she is now commencing an EPSRC PhD studentship which will enable her to contribute knowledge further to this valuable area.’

Hilary Wyatt, PhD Researcher at Cardiff, said: ‘I am delighted to be awarded the Gus Astley Prize for 2016, and delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Annual School in 2017. My thanks to the IHBC for their generous award.’

‘My course at the Welsh School of Architecture offered a unique opportunity to study conservation AND (italics) sustainability within a practical design context, and I am indebted to Dr Oriel Prizeman for her continued support and encouragement. In my last year at Cardiff I was fortunate to be offered a fully funded EPSRC PhD research post – a rare opportunity to extend my studies in the conservation of coastal heritage.’

‘As the effects of climate change accelerate, this issue poses an almost unique challenge to conservators and coastal managers who continue to maintain our coastal heritage, sometimes in extraordinary conditions. I’d like to thank all the engineers, harbour managers, trusts, and voluntary associations who generously shared their experiences of repair and recovery following the storms of 2014.’

‘I hope that my being awarded this prize contributes in some way to raising awareness of the specific issues we face in approaching the conservation of coastal structures’

For more on Hilary see Linkedin

Marc Piqué i Gascón: ‘Gustavo Giovannoni: historic building conservation and modern planning development in ancient towns’

Dr Michael Forsyth, Director of Studies on Marc’s IHBC-Recognised MSc in the Conservation of Historic Buildings at the university of Bath, as well as Marc’s tutor, said: ‘I am delighted that the prestigious Gus Astley Award recognises Bath’s students yet again this year.

‘Marc has consistently produced first class material, so is deserving. It is very gratifying that our Bath course continues to produce graduates of the highest calibre.’

Marc, architect at Philip Hughes Associates, said: ‘I had a wonderful time researching and writing this piece of work, and I am delighted to receive this commendation. My work aimed to analyse the conservation theories on historic buildings and ancient towns developed by the Italian architect Gustavo Giovannoni. His ideas thoroughly influenced professionals and legislation during the first half of the 20th century and have been illustrated with past and contemporary examples.’

‘I would like to thank the University of Bath for the excellent MSc course, the IHBC for promoting the work of students and professionals in building conservation, and to Philip Hughes Associates for the ongoing support and learning.’

For more on Marc see Linkedin

Sylvia Rossi: ‘The decision-making process for new housing developments in histroic areas: issues and solutions’

Chris O’Flaherty, tutor to Sylvia and course leader on her IHBC-recognised course, the Building Conservation & Adaptation MSc at the University of Central Lancashire. said: ‘This is great news and I’m delighted with this thoroughly deserved commendation for Silvia. Her research into the topic area was exceptional and the findings of her study, although in many ways disappointing –as they confirmed the damage to conservation services wrought by years of cuts – provide valuable insight into how new housing proposals in conservation areas are currently being assessed at planning stage.’

‘I’d also like to thank the many respondents to Silvia’s survey and her interviewees. Without their willingness to engage primary research of this nature proves impossible.’

Sylvia, an architect at Blackett-Ord Conservation in Cumbria, said: ‘I feel very honoured to be awarded a Commendation for my work, and excited by the opportunity to attend the IHBC Annual School. I am very grateful to my tutors for their invaluable guidance, to my family for continuing support and to the IHBC for recognizing the value of my work.’

‘My study investigated the planning dilemma of balancing the needs of heritage with those of housing development in practice, through the work and experience of Conservation Officers in the context of public financial constraints. It was a complex and challenging topic in many ways and one that expanded my understanding of the varied and interlinked issues surrounding the management of change in an historic environment increasingly under threat. More research is needed and I hope that more students will consider exploring further aspects of this topic.’

For more on Sylvia see Linkedin

Andy Atkinson: ‘Understanding precedence and how historical buildings inform development interventions in England’

Dr. Alan Coday, Principal Lecturer and Course Leader on the IHBC-recognised course on the ‘Conservation of Buildings’ at Anglia Ruskin University, said: ‘We at Anglia Ruskin University are so utterly delighted that Andy Atkinson has achieved this recognition in the IHBC Gus Astley Award – he scored one of our highest ever dissertation marks for his MSc dissertation and we had rather hoped that the work might achieve recognition beyond academia.’

‘Andy ‘hoovered-up’ the MSc Conservation of Buildings course and attended every site visit, and every overseas study-visit, and very cleverly massaged each of his astute observations into the dissertation – for example he uses the Venetian Olivetti Store off Piazza San Marco as an exemplar of modernist craftsmanship challenging the concept of the ‘deficient storefront’ in an otherwise traditionally embellished arcade. In another example Andy traced the reductive classicism of the ‘Looshaus’ in Vienna back to an of-the-time satirical illustration ‘Brooding about Art’ in which a cartoon character is shown to trip over a grid-like void in the street. Absolute genius!’

‘Bringing research to life – Andy has recently achieved Grade II listing for a 1935 department store ‘Havens’ in Westcliff-on-Sea and continues to lobby for the strategic management of Conservation Areas as a way to engage with local stakeholders. If everyone used observation, research, and such discreet enthusiasm like Andy – the world would be an even better place!’

Andy Atkinson, an historic building consultant based in Essex, said: ‘I’m thrilled and delighted to hear this news and sincerely hope that this helps the work to reach a wider readership and then participation in the important dialogue of intervention at historical buildings.’

‘Unlike many of the specialised areas of our professions’ work, intervention touches everyone’s lives in some way and describes a future, in many cases a necessary future, for historical buildings. That the subject remains unresolved and open to on-going question is, perhaps, indicative of its importance.’

‘The prize is very much appreciated and will go towards my building conservation work.’

For more on Andy Linkedin

Tom Nancollas: ‘A machine for living in: appraising the rock lighthouse interior, 1800-1905’

Judith Farren Bradley, Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Landscape at Kingston University, and course leader on the IHBC recognised course there, where Tom undertook his work, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted that Tom will be offered such prestigious recognition. He was an exemplary student and made a significant contribution to the programme, bringing an infectious enthusiasm and consummate erudition to everything he did.’

‘I was fortunate to be part of the conversation as his dissertation developed and he gave a memorable presentation of it to staff and students as part of our internal postgraduate conference.’

Tom Nancollas, author and Planning Officer (Historic Environment) at the City of London Corporation, said: ‘I’m delighted to receive recognition of my work on rock lighthouses from the IHBC. Past winners and commendees have been extremely thought-provoking and I’m really pleased that my work will stand among them. It’s gratifying that the IHBC can recognise papers on more unusual subjects such as mine, and I look forward to future involvement with the Institute.’

Tom is working on various conservation schemes and policy projects and his first book, about rock lighthouses in Britain and Ireland, will be published by Particular Books in 2018.

For more on Tom see Linkedin

2015

IHBC Gus Astley 2015 Student Award: (from IHBC NewsBlog – 26th February 2016)
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Professor May Cassar, judge on the IHBC’s 2015 Student Award and Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, has selected as the winner of 2015 Gus Astley Student Award a dissertation entitled ‘EXPLORING THE VALUE OF HERITAGE: Urban exploration and the historic environment’, written by Samantha Stones, curator at English Heritage and previously a student under Harriet Devlin on the IHBC-recognised conservation course at the then Ironbridge Institute at the University of Birmingham.

The Gus Astley Trust also selected for commendation entries to the 2015 award by:
  • - Anna Shelley, for her work on ‘Anne of Denmark as an Architectural Patron, 1603-19’, developed on the IHBC-recognised Building History MSt at the University of Cambridge, led by Dr Adam Menuge IHBC
  • Andrew McBride, for his work entitled ‘Amongst the Ruins of Slains Castle – Is there a Future for
  • - Scotland’s ‘Dracula Castle’?’, written on the ‘Architectural Studies with International Study’ programme at the University of Strathclyde, with Cristina Gonzalez-Longo as tutor
  • - Rob Ward, for his ‘Assessment of Large Drystone Structures on the Ffestiniog Railway’, written while on the ‘Structural Engineering with Architecture’ programme at the University of Edinburgh, with Tim Stratford as tutor.


All will receive cash prizes –£500 is awarded to Samantha, and £100 to the commended authors – and a free place at the IHBC’s Annual School in Worcester in June.

Details on all awarded submissions are offered below.

Gus Astley Award: Samantha Stones
Professor May Cassar said of Samantah’s selection: ‘The 2015 shortlist for the Gus Astley Student Award 2015 was as strong as it was varied and interesting. Its topics ranged from architectural conservation to energy efficiency, re-use of ruins, the lives of art patrons, building history and heritage engineering. All could have been worthy winners. However there can only be one winner and for me the most outstanding submission was the dissertation by Samantha Stones on ‘EXPLORING THE VALUE OF HERITAGE: Urban exploration and the historic environment.’

‘With her finger on the pulse of urban exploration of, and attitudes to, the historic environment, Samantha touches a theme that should make policy makers sit up and reflect.’

‘Samantha tells a story of contemporary alternative engagement with urban heritage which is both fascinating and an eye opener.’

Samantha Stones, Assistant Properties Curator (South) at English Heritage, said: ‘I am delighted and honoured to be the recipient of the 2015 Gus Astley Award.’

‘I chose to research urban exploration as a non-traditional approach to heritage and found surprising parallels in the language of exploration and the mainstream terminology of heritage values. Although urban exploration cannot be welcomed by the heritage community, there are interesting benefits to gaining an understanding of alternative and non-visible groups that are accessing and appreciating the built environment on their own terms.’

‘I’m extremely grateful to my colleagues at English Heritage for their support throughout my studies and career so far. In addition, particular thanks to Harriet Devlin for her sound guidance and encouragement throughout the Historic Environment Conservation course. Receiving the Gus Astley Award provides an exceptional end to a wonderful two years of study.

Tutor’s introduction to ‘…Urban exploration and the historic environment’
Samantha’s work is introduced as follows by her then tutor, Harriet Devlin MBE, now Course Leader on the IHBC-recognised ‘Conservation of the Historic Environment’ programme at Birmingham City University:

‘WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS THE NIGHT IS OURS. As night descends we creep out to explore the city and her secrets. We venture deep below into the sewers and the subways, dodging the trains which whistle by and jumping over the third rail. Nimbly we climb high above the streets, scaling the bridges, cranes and the rooftops, tiny specks unnoticed amongst the clouds. Welcome to sleepycity, where the urban infrastructure is our playground. Tell me more…’

This quote from Sleepycity.net is the opening of an extraordinary dissertation by Samantha Stones entitled ’Exploring the value of heritage.. Urban Exploration and the Historic Environment’.

Samantha, who works for English Heritage, was one of the last cohort of students from the Historic Environment Conservation postgraduate course at the Ironbridge Institute, and her choice of topic was edgy but important. Does ‘heritage’ alienate; should we embrace other interactions with heritage even if they are potentially illegal and dangerous? If we wish to encourage new and diverse audiences to heritage – is this a legitimate route?

To gather primary survey data for this study Samantha contacted over 200 individuals via online forums, social media sites, and offline professional and personal networks. In addition, in-depth interviews were carried out with urban explorers, heritage policymakers and owners. However, no practical fieldwork was undertaken! Sam did not abseil down a factory chimney or scale a wall topped with barbed wire. Sam’s conclusions are interesting:

Despite the mainstream media attention on place-hacking and infiltration, the study found that the core of urban exploration activity share many similarities with the perceived traditional heritage visit and the sectors wider outlook. Urban explorers research historic sites to understand the history and significance of a building and acknowledge all types of heritage values. The unregulated nature of urbex allows a freedom of movement and experience that encourages the individual to follow their own intuition and interests; from military history to asylums, or tall structures to underground bunkers. The necessity for visible decay to attract some urban explorers to a site reflects the assigned aesthetic value for abandonment, but also illustrates a broader appreciation for abandoned buildings as a culmination of historic layers with a still-changing presence. In contrast to the historic house museum, an abandoned building is not preserved or conserved to a strict time period and urban explorers can avoid the use of curators as intermediaries. The urban explorer is experiencing the building as a part of its history rather than witnessing the past from afar.

There are many barriers to the traditional heritage sector being able to embrace an activity that is unlawful, involves potentially high risks to personal safety and may be damaging to historic fabric. Alternative approaches to heritage, such as urban exploration, may not present the heritage sector with an easy route to a new audience, but can offer a new understanding of how groups wish to engage with the historic environment. To fully achieve audience diversification, the heritage sector must also embrace new technologies to ensure, not only that current online data is utilised, but that technologies can be optimised as gateways to heritage’

Neither condoning nor condemning, this study is an exciting exploration itself of an area many of us would be uncomfortable with and we are delighted that it has achieved recognition by IHBC through the Gus Astley Award.

Sam’s award is a great valedictory for the former course at the Ironbridge Institute – but the course continues under a different name as Conservation of the Historic Environment within the School of Architecture at Birmingham City University. Let’s hope this fosters equal original thinking!’

Gus Astley Awards 2015: Commendations
The following submissions were selected for commendation on behalf of the Gus Astley Trust. All receive cash awards of £100 and free places at the IHBC’s 2016 Annual School in Worcester.

Anna Shelley, author of ‘Anne of Denmark as an Architectural Patron, 1603-19’, said: ‘I am really thrilled to be awarded a Commendation for the Gus Astley award, and it is very gratifying to receive wider recognition for this piece of work. I am most grateful too to my dissertation supervisor, Professor Deborah Howard, whose guidance and support was invaluable.’

‘My thesis explored themes within the architectural patronage of Anne of Denmark, Queen consort of James I, between 1603-19, their years in London. Although Anne’s buildings and landscapes are for the most part lost, details of the commissioned works are well-documented in the records of the Office of Works and elsewhere. Above all, the project has shown me the value of looking again at well-worn material to reveal a fresh story and to gain new insights into early seventeenth-century architectural trends and practices.’

‘The IHBC marries my academic and professional interests, so it will be a pleasure to attend the Annual School in June!’

Anna’s tutor Adam Menuge IHBC said: ‘In the week that IHBC announced its recognition of the MSt in Building History this is a particularly welcome bonus for us. Anna Shelley’s commended work exemplifies the research qualities on which all good evidence-based conservation depends. She has an excellent career ahead of her.’

Andrew McBride, author of ‘Amongst the Ruins of Slains Castle – Is there a Future for Scotland’s ‘Dracula Castle’?’, said: ‘I am honoured that my dissertation has been chosen for commendation and to be offered a place at the IHBC annual school. It was very interesting to research and enjoyable to write the dissertation on Slain’s castle, since it’s one of my favorite ruins in Scotland!

Andrew’s tutor Cristina Gonzalez-Longo said: ‘This is an outstanding work, providing an excellent discussion on the conservation of ruins and the implications in its conservation, focusing on Slains Castle, a victim of the roof tax avoidance.’

‘It considers different theories and a variety of examples (national and international), reflecting on how creative architectural projects could help in the conservation of ruins. It combines an excellent understanding of the topic, the use of carefully selected resources and examples as well as original analytical work.’

Rob Ward, author of ‘Assessment of Large Drystone Structures on the Ffestiniog Railway’, said: ‘This project was a perfect combination of my interest in historic buildings, my specialism – structural engineering and my love of drystone walls. Maybe not seen as an exciting topic by many, this project proved that they are far from dull.’

‘I hope that this work is continued by future students at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the Ffestiniog Railway in order to assist in their asset care programme and in order to support this important historic feature of industry and tourism in North Wales.’

‘I’d also like to say ‘thank you’ to the IHBC for considering my work worthy of a commendation and I look forward to attending the annual summer school.’

2014

IHBC Gus Astley 2014 Student Award: (from IHBC NewsBlog – 27th February 2015)
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The IHBC is delighted to announce the winner of the IHBC Gus Astley Student Awards for 2014 as Cambridge student Sarah Hendriks, for her exploration of ‘Spaces for Secular Music Performance in Seventeenth-Century England’, one of 6 entrants selected by our judge, Professor Jukka Jokilehto, to win cash prizes and offers of places at the IHBC’s 2015 Annual School in Norwich in June.

In a tight competition with nearly 40 submissions of remarkably high quality and consistency, Professor Jokilehto – a keynote speaker at the IHBC’s 2014 School in Edinburgh – offered awards, commendations and special mentions to an unprecedented 6 entrants.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘This year, remarkably, about 15% of entrants gained places at our School, each one entirely deserved. And it’s fair to say too that as the standard was so remarkably high that many of the other entrants were ‘near misses’ for awards too.’

‘But we should not be too surprised that our prestigious annual Gus Astley Award has such a high standard, even though the submissions are self-selected. It reflects the special quality niche the IHBC holds in the world of conservation and the historic environment. Those truly interested in our work tend know the IHBC’s values and standards without having to be told.’

Bob Kindred Kindred MBE, Chair of the Gus Astley Fund’s trustees who manage the resources that underpin the annual award, said: ‘The Gus Astley Student Awards (GASAs) are now an important part of the Institute’s work in encouraging post-graduate students on the path towards joining the profession.’

‘The GASAs give formal recognition to some very good work being done by many excellent candidates and ensure this effort receives the wider recognition it deserves. The awards also demonstrate the diverse concerns and subject matter that candidates have chosen to study, investigate and analyse.’

‘At a time when uncertainty about heritage resources continues, and refreshing the heritage skills base assumes ever greater importance, the IHBC’s annual GASA submissions are an encouraging affirmation of the sector’s ability to provide expertise in the future.’

‘The selection of winning entries is always a significant challenge and as Chair of the Gus Astley trustees I am very grateful to Professor Jukka Jokilehto for undertaking the selection this year. The Institute has been very privileged to have a sequence of distinguished judges to assess and validate the standard of the submissions.’

‘I look forward to meeting the winners at the Institute’s Annual School in Norwich in June.’

2014 Award winner
Concerning the work of the winner of the 2014 award, Sarah Hendriks, Professor Jokilehto said: ‘Sarah understood architecture as forming a social space, resulting from particular processes. I consider it a fresh and sensitive approach, which merits being recognised.’

Sarah Hendriks, whose submission was part of her Master of Studies course at the University of Cambridge, said: ‘I am thrilled to have been awarded the Gus Astley Student Award for 2014 and am very excited to be taking part in the upcoming IHBC Annual School.’

‘It is an honour to be part of Gus Astley’s legacy for the built environment and to contribute to the future of historic building conservation through research. My thanks go to the IHBC for making the award possible, to my supervisor Professor Deborah Howard at Cambridge for her guidance and support, and the rest of the ‘Master of Studies: Building History’ team at Cambridge.’

Sarah’s tutor, the renowned architectural historian Professor Deborah Howard, said: ‘I am delighted that Sarah’s application has been regarded positively. She has great potential.’

‘In her research, Sarah has used a wealth of primary sources – both archival documents and early printed texts – with impressive facility. She has also studied the buildings themselves and the nature of the music performed, displaying an authoritative understanding of both architecture and music and threading interdisciplinary principles through every page without any loss of clarity. She has manoeuvred her way through the complex historical situation of 17th-century England and its dramatic political shifts with absolute control.’

Sarah will receive a £500 cash prize – up from the £300 award of previous years – and the offer of a place at the IHBC’s 2015 School in Norwich, also worth some £500.

Special Commendation
A ‘Special commendation’ in the 2014 Award was presented by Professor Jokilehto to recognise work of ‘extra merit’ by Kjersti Bakkejord, for her submission in her BSc in Architectural Studies (Year 4) at the University of Strathclyde, entitled, ‘The Future of the H-block in Oslo: Should Norway’s Government Building be Demolished, Conserved or Restored?’ Kjersti will receive £250 and the offer of a place at the IHBC 2015 School, worth some £500.

Kjersti said: ‘I am honoured that my work has been commended in the IHBC Gus Astley Student Award. I enjoyed writing the dissertation and it increased my interest in the field. The H-block has great value, and I hope the issues discussed are resolved soon.’

Kjersti’s dissertation supervisor, and Director of the University of Strathclyde’s IHBC recognised MSc in Architectural Design for the Conservation of Built Heritage, Cristina Gonzalez-Longo said: ‘Kjersti has provided an excellent critical analysis of the conservation dilemma presented by this emblematic building, considering both local and international contexts.’

She has looked at all the options for the future of the building, based on a thorough research on its design, urban setting, technology, history and cultural context, while also taking into account the public and politician’s views. She makes a balanced judgement on the conservation of the building, providing also a series of recommendations for the most suitable strategies and approaches to be followed.’

Commendations
Two joint Commendations were awarded by Professor Jokilehto for what he described as ‘interesting monographic studies’, and each of which receive a cash prize of £100 and the offer of a place at the IHBC’s Annual School.

Michael Nelles, was commended for his submission in his MA in Regional and Local History and Archaeology at the University of Winchester, a work entitled ‘Modernity in a historic setting: Urban redevelopment and the rise of the historic buildings conservation movement in Winchester, c.1925-1970’.

Michael said: ‘I’m thrilled and delighted to be awarded a Commendation! I was lucky enough to be able to attend the 2012 IHBC Annual School in Winchester, when my research was at a very early stage. The extent to which everyone seemed genuinely interested in my project was very encouraging.’

Michael’s tutor Dr Mark Allen, said: ‘Michael’s work was a thoroughly original piece that covers an under-researched area, both in terms of 20th century Winchester and the developing heritage movement generally.

Prof Jokilehto also commended Nigel Green for his submission in his MSc in Conservation of Historic Buildings at the University of Bath – a course fully recognised by the IHBC. His submission was entitled ‘History and Philosophy of Building Conservation Within London Underground – Success or Failure?’

Nigel said: ‘The invitation to attend the IHBC Annual School in Norwich will provide an invaluable development to my studies at the University of Bath.’

‘The research for my paper has illustrated how the need for building conservation policies is vital in the modern world. Through the conservation work advocated by London Underground in a technically challenging and budget conscious environment, a defined conservation policy can bring commercial benefits to a modern organisation. It is a model that can potentially develop for other commercial, institutional and government funded organisations.’

Nigel’s course director, Dr Michael Forsyth said: ‘Nigel is a worthy recipient in the 2014 award for his paper on London Underground’s modernist buildings, addressing as it does the critical issue of balancing the conservation of historic fabric with present day operational needs.’

Special Mentions
Professor Jokilehto also offered special mentions to two submissions, each of which receive £50 and offers of places at the IHBC’s 2015 School.

Distinguished as a ‘broad survey and analysis of the field, in the UK context’, he offered a special mention to Kate Kendall for her submission in the MSc in Commercial Building Surveying at Liverpool John Moores University, a work entitled ‘Understanding Heritage Skills: Investigating the Conservation Professionals’ Knowledge’.

Kate, now IHBC’s ‘LETS’ Liaison Officer and responsible for ‘Learning, Education Training and Standards’ across the institute’s specialist voluntary network, said: ‘I’m delighted to receive a special mention from Prof Jokilehto for my academic work on understanding heritage skills in a professional context. It is very rewarding to have my work acknowledged, and it wholly justifies the effort I put into the research. I am in a great position now to be able to put some of the recommendations of my work into action through my new role with the IHBC. It’s a great opportunity to spread the word about conservation.’

Kate’s tutor at John Moores, Senior Lecturer Paul Kenny, said: ‘I am delighted that Kate has won a Special Mention in the Gus Astley Award. Kate was an exceptional Masters degree student and demonstrated her passion for building conservation very clearly.’

For ‘an engineering study of modern framed buildings that has a good personal touch in its case studies’, Professor Jokilehto also offered special mention to Andy Pearson for his course submission entitled ‘The Conservation of Twentieth Century Buildings – An introduction to inherent defects of framed buildings’.

Submitted to the IHBC-recognised MA in Historic Environment Conservation at the then Ironbridge Institute, Andrew said: ‘Many lay people and indeed some professionals that I have worked with through my profession as a structural engineer, associate conservation with old timber framed buildings, stately homes, castles and the like, failing to recognise that buildings from the twentieth century may be in excess of one hundred years old.’

‘This was a period of innovation in material technology and construction techniques and examples from this era have become of conservation interest and more will undoubtedly follow with the passage of time. This assignment, aimed at a non-technical audience, attempts to introduce some of the different forms of construction from this period and to raise awareness of possible structural issues that may have a significant bearing on the potential for preservation.’

Andy’s then tutor, Harriet Devlin MBE, is now course director at Birmingham City University School of Architecture’s IHBC-recognised course, on the Conservation of the Historic Environment. Harriet said: ‘Over the last few years the work of a number of students from the former Historic Environment Conservation post-graduate course at the Ironbridge Institute has received recognition through the Gus Astley Award.’

‘This award, and the accompanying time at the IHBC Annual School, has been a major stepping stone in the students’ careers. It has encouraged them to seek full membership of the IHBC and thereby gain professional accreditation. Through this, the award upholds professional standards, recognises outstanding work and often extends our knowledge base on a particular thorny conservation topic while also providing students with a real incentive to succeed. I think Gus would be very proud of the award that bears his name.’

2013

IHBC Gus Astley 2013 Student Award: (from IHBC NewsBlog – 1st February 2014)
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The judge for the 2013 IHBC Annual Gus Astley Student Awards, Jeremy Musson, architectural historian and writer, has selected Sebastian Fry as the winner, for a thesis presented to the IHBC-recognised conservation course at the Architectural Association, a work Musson describes as an ‘impressively wide-ranging study’ into Knight Hospitaller commanderies and associated parish churches.

Three other submissions have been selected for commendation by Musson, all also made to courses fully recognised by the IHBC:
  • - Yuk Hong Ian Tan, University of Edinburgh, on bridges in Singapore
  • - Tim Lewis, Birmingham University, on a case study around post-War social housing
  • - Lauren Ayers, Oxford Brookes University, on the conservation of the Edwardian terrace house.


Fry, and the authors of the 2013 Award’s three commended submissions, all will received free places at the IHBC’s 2014 Annual School in Edinburgh on 5-7 June, hearing speakers ranging from Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop, MSP, to a global authority on the history of conservation, Prof Jukka Jokilehto. Jeremy Musson will also attend the School, and present the Award’s prizes at the IHBC’s Annual Dinner.

Jeremy Musson said of his experience of judging the 2014 IHBC Gus Astley Award: ‘I very much enjoyed the privilege of being the judge of this Award and was overwhelmed by the high quality of research going on in the broad field of historic building conservation. It ranges from in-depth analysis of conservation policy, to more building-focused studies that highlight the complexity of so many contemporary conservation issues. Selecting my finalists was a challenge, but it was a very rewarding journey.’

Of Fry’s Award-winning submission, Jeremy Musson said: ‘Knowledge and clear understanding of buildings underpin the best conservation philosophy and practice so I have selected for the first prize, the impressively wide-ranging study of Knight Hospitaller commanderies and associated parish churches by Sebastian Fry.’

‘I was, in truth, quite swept away by the depth of research and the rigour with which Mr Fry tackled and explained this much overlooked but fascinating subject, drawing not only on on-site survey work, and visits to structures as far apart as Pembrokeshire and the Mediterranean island of Rhodes, but also first-hand research in medieval and later sources.’

‘This study must stand as one of the best surveys of the subject to date, and includes both a valuable gazetteer of surviving commanderies (of a historic 37 only 14 remain) and it also concludes with a thoughtful survey of the history and current practice of the conservation and presentation of surviving commanderies. I very much hope that this dissertation will be progressed to publication.’

He continued: ‘The other three dissertations I have chosen to receive awards have a similarly impressive range although they tackle very different subjects. Each showed a thoroughness in investigating significant and unusual topics: Lauren’s study into the conservation of Edwardian terraces illustrates the need to review their current conservation protection; Tim’s study, a rewarding review of concrete structures used in postwar public housing projects, and Ian’s study of historic Singapore bridges also was stimulating and unexpected.’

On the submissions for the 2014 Award as a whole, Jeremy Musson noted: ‘The work going on in universities and architectural schools today in this field, represented by the wide range of entries and those selected here for awards, is truly inspiring and gives great hope for fresh new ideas in the philosophy of conservation and preservation. I humbly thank the Institute for my exposure to so much talent and industry: which gives us all great hope for the future.’

Andrew Shepherd of the Architectural Association said of Sebastian Fry’s award-winning work there: ‘Sebastian was an interested and interesting student who participated very fully on the course and as ever my colleagues and I will watch the expected progression of his career with pride. We were a little dubious about the scope and possibilities of his selected thesis topic, but are delighted that he proved us wrong, and produced such a work of scholarship’.

Sebastian Fry said: ‘I’m delighted and proud to win this fantastic award for a thesis I really enjoyed writing – what a fantastic opportunity the IHBC Gus Astley Award has offered. Thank you to the IHBC, to Jeremy Musson and to the Architectural Association.’

Of the submission by Tim Lewis commended in the 2014 Award, Jeremy Musson said: ‘I was captivated by Tim Lewis’s fascinating study into a period too much overlooked and a subject that also is a defining one for the British town: post-war social housing.’

‘The provision of postwar housing was an enormous challenge to national and local government and Mr Ellis’s investigation into the new housing on Hester’s Way Estate in Cheltenham, built using non-traditional systems, is again rigorous and well-written. It offers a robust understanding of the process and historic context of the design of such houses, which were constructed using poured and pre-cast concrete to speed the delivery of building targets, and of the challenges of repair and maintenance of these houses in modern times.

Tim Lewis said: ‘To have one’s work commended by fellow professionals is hugely gratifying and will hopefully help bring the subject of study to a much wider audience’.

Of the submission by Lauren Ayers commended in the 2013 Award Jeremy Musson said: ‘Ms Ayers’ work was on a much more everyday subject, but caught my eye for its careful and systematic character, pursuing an effective account of the legal conservation protection of the Edwardian terraced house in Britain. This lively study vividly underlines the vulnerability of the Edwardian terraced house, which is not only an important feature of the evolution of the British terraced house, but a defining feature of the British townscape and way of life; in my view Ms Ayers makes a very good case for further nationwide analysis, recording and indeed the extension of legal protection.’

Lauren Ayers write: ‘I am very honoured that my submission has been commended for the Gus Astley Student Award’

Of the submission by Yuk Hong Ian Tan commended in the 2013 Award, Jeremy Musson said: ‘This is an ambitious, multi-layered study of five historic colonial era bridges over the Singapore River, built between the the 1860s and 1930s; this study was very well researched, clearly argued and puts a compelling stress on a holistic approach to the conservation of such bridges, drawing on a clear understanding of the technological, historic, economic, and contemporary social significance of such bridges.’

Dimitris Theodossopoulos of the University of Edinburgh said of Ian: ‘Ian has been brilliant as a student, driving the project from the start, with genuine enthusiasm and will for knowledge. I also learnt so much on the procurement of such important structures through the colonial network.’

Ian writes: ‘This came at a most opportune time in my career as I embarked on a year long project to document and showcase the historic infrastructure development of Singapore during the colonial and early independence period.’

‘My current employer, National Heritage Board had kindly sponsored my Masters Education in the University of Edinburgh, allowing me to have the opportunity to embark on this research dissertation on Historic Bridges over Singapore. Upon my return, they had further encouraged me to showcase the research findings, culminating in a series of public lectures and walking tours along the Singapore riverfront and historic bridges. I am glad the research findings from the dissertation have been disseminated to a wider public audience over the last two years’.

‘Thank you once again for the award.’

And of his intention to travel from Singapore to the IHBC’s Annual School in Edinburgh to receive his award, Ian writes: ‘This trip will be even more memorable for me as I will be receiving the awards in Edinburgh, where I embarked on this research dissertation on Historic Bridges over Singapore River.’

SUMMARY NOTES
The winning submission for the 2014 IHBC Gus Astley Student Award is:
  • - Sebastian Fry, AA Graduate Diploma in the Conservation of Historic Buildings, Architectural Association: ‘Function, Tradition, Ideology or Patron: What influenced the architecture of Knights Hospitaller Commandery Chapels and Associated Churches in Britain, 1140-1370?’. Tutor Andrew Shepherd.


The ‘Commended’ submissions for the 2014 IHBC Gus Astley Student Award are:
  • - Yuk Hong Ian Tan, MSc Architectural Conservation (2012) University of Edinburgh, ‘Bridges to Our Heritage – The Significance of Five Historic Bridges over Singapore River’. Tutor: Dimitris Theodossopoulos.
  • - Tim Lewis, MA Historic Environment Conservation 2012, University of Birmingham, ‘’Homes fit for heroes’ – An evaluation of non-traditional post war social housing, Hester’s Way, Cheltenham 1945-59’. Tutor: Harriet Devlin.
  • - Lauren Ayers, MSc Historic Conservation 2012, Oxford Brookes University ‘The Significance and Protection of the Edwardian Terraced House’. Tutor: Michelle Thomas.


2012

IHBC Gus Astley 2012 Student Award: (from IHBC NewsBlog – 11th January 2013)
Link  

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), the professional body for built and historic environment conservation specialists, has announced the winners in its prestigious Annual Student Award.

The 2012 judge, Terry Levinthal, of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), awarded the winning prize to a student from Oxford Brookes University, and commendations to students from the University of Bath, the Architectural Association and, again, Oxford Brookes.

The winner of the 2012 IHBC Gus Astley Student Award is architect Aimee Felton. She submitted her work on listed building maintenance in non-heritage bodies to the Masters course on International Architectural Regeneration and Development at Oxford Brookes University Aimee, who is currently working at Julian Harrap’s leading architectural conservation practice, will receive a £300 cash prize and a free place at the IHBC’s 2013 Annual School. The IHBC School will take place in Carlisle in June and, suitably, takes ‘skills’ as its theme.

Judge Terry Levinthal said of Aimee’s winning essay: ‘Her submission reflects the great paradox that the conservation profession is facing in a recessionary environment, as the downward pressure on resources of all kinds brings a paradigm shift in our approach to conservation. Ironically, as the paper points out, the maintenance regime takes us back to the era of William Morris and the foundation of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).’

Three other submissions have been selected for commendation, as students from conservation courses in Bath, London and Oxford receive smaller cash prizes as well as offers of places at the IHBC’s Annual School.

IHBC Jo Evans, IHBC Chair, said: ‘Our Student Award is crucially important for the IHBC, and for the heritage conservation industry as a whole. It highlights the best of the diverse professions and career routes that underpin successful conservation – from engineering to history and from young students to established professionals modernising their skills.’

‘I would like to thank everyone who took the trouble to make a submission, as well as their tutors for the guidance the have provided, often with very little recognition beyond the personal gratitude of the student. And of course I would also like to thank Terry for his energetic and dedicated review of the submissions for 2012, one of our busiest awards to date!’

Bob Kindred MBE, vice-chair of the IHBC’s Education Committee and a trustee of the Gus Astley memorial fund, said: ‘It is heartening, at a challenging time for conservation education, that there are so many committed and talented graduates. This would have given Gus, in whose honour we make the award, great delight and satisfaction.’

Winner of the IHBC Student Award 2012: Aimee Felton, author of ‘Securing a future: Non-Heritage Organisations’ approach to listed building maintenance’, submitted her work to Oxford Brookes University.

Terry Levinthal said of Aimée’s essay: ‘For an academic work, it is especially well structured for practical application, and supported by evidence of good research and lots of source material. I am a cautious about the assumption that only ‘non-heritage organisations’ should be fingered in this debate. The issue is almost an accountacy one – of revenue versus capital – and this paradox is rightly exposed in the legislative short-comings highlighted in the work’.

Jonathan Bassindale, tutor at Oxford Brookes for the winning essay, said: ‘Aimee’s writing is of a very high standard: fluent, articulate and accurate. This was an excellent study which makes a valid contribution to research is this area.’

Aimee Felton said: ‘It has taken the past two years of working at Julian Harrap Architects since writing my thesis to fully appreciate, disseminate and put into practice some of the complexities I stumbled upon whilst researching the maintenance of historic buildings, which even still remains an area much in need of further research. I now view the document as an enrichable theory, prime for development and I enjoy the opportunity to review this with reference to the projects I undertake in the practice.

‘The challenge of everyday practice for conservation architects is continually evolving, and it is only via an intelligent approach to process and thorough, practical research that can we enable historic buildings to act both as cultural assets within the urban fabric and play a fulfilling role within our towns and cities. This challenge, along with many others, is one I hope to be involved in throughout my career.’

‘I am both delighted and honoured to be recognised by the IHBC in memory of Gus Astley for this academic research.’ IHBC Student Award 2012: High Commendations Terry Levinthal also awarded High Commendations to two essays, one each from the University of Bath and the Architectural Association, London.

He said: ‘The 2 highly commended entries represent excellent typological studies. Although not primary work, these synthesize material in a very competent way. Both subjects are huge, and would merit further study, possibly at doctoral levels’.

IHBC Gus Astley Student Award 2012 Highly Commended: Richard Free submitted his work, ‘The English Model Farm: Agricultural Enlightenment or Social Statement?’ to the University of Bath.

Richard’s tutor at Bath, and course director there, Dr Michael Forsyth, said ‘Richard is an experienced practicing architect whose contributions to our postgraduate Conservation of Historic Buildings programme at Bath were always lively and stimulating. The examiner said that Richard’s study of model farms ‘covers much new material [and is] a serious attempt to study a group of neglected buildings that were once at the centre of our way of life’.

IHBC Gus Astley Student Award 2012 Highly Commended – Lisa McIntyre submitted her paper, ‘Are the Historic Bishop’s Palaces of the Church of England fit for purpose in the 21st Century?’, to the Architectural Association (AA).

Lisa’s tutor at the AA, and course director there, Andrew Shepherd said: ‘I am Delighted for Lisa who is one of the most interesting and delightfully personable students that it has been my pleasure to tutor over the years. I look forward to watching her career blossom.’

IHBC Gus Astley Student Award 2012 Commended – Zana Lloncari submitted her essay, ‘Conservation of Vernacular Architecture in Kosova with reference to Kula as a special typology’, to Oxford Brookes University.

Terry Levinthal formally commended Zana for the work, saying that: ‘As this subject is so important to the sector, it scored especially high.’

Tutor Michelle Thomas, of Oxford Brookes, said: ‘ ‘The dissertation makes an outstanding contribution to thinking concerning the conservation of an important regional building type with significant cultural associations, both past and present, which led to its targeting for destruction in the recent Kosovan conflict.’

‘Zana provides detailed analysis of Kosovan heritage policy, and her dissertation gives those involved in conservation an invaluable overview of the contexts within which decisions concerning the future of Kullat have to be made.’

Background to the Gus Astley Student Award The IHBC’s Annual Gus Astley Student Award is presented for outstanding work presented as part of a taught course in the UK, and selected by a different judge each year. To highlight the practical focus of the Award, judges are always selected for the pivotal role they play in practical conservation bodies and projects.

In 2012 here were 42 entries to Award, with contestants ranging from undergraduates learning about historic places to later-career architects honing skills in understanding places.

Though the Award open to anyone on a taught course, it is significant that all winners presented material to IHBC recognised courses, as these courses have been tested for compatibility with the international standard for conservation skills provided by ICOMOS.

2011

IHBC Gus Astley 2011 Student Award: (from IHBC NewsBlog – 16th March 2012)
Link

There were 51 entries to the 2011 Award, with contestants ranging from undergraduates learning about historic places to later-career architects honing skills in understanding places.

The winner is Emma Anderson, who submitted her work on the rebuilding of listed buildings after catastrophic destruction on the conservation course at Oxford Brookes. She will receive a £300 cash prize and a free place at the IHBC’s Annual School, which takes place in Winchester in June. Three other submissions have been selected for commendation. The authors, from institutions in Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh, will receive smaller cash prizes as well as offers of places at the Annual School.

Rory Cullen said of Emma’s winning submission: ‘This is a very well researched exercise, extremely readable, with good and wide-ranging case studies that might inform practitioners’ advice.’

Jo Evans, IHBC Chair, said: ‘Our Student Award is crucially important for the IHBC, and for the heritage conservation industry as a whole. It highlights the best of the diverse professions and career routes that underpin successful conservation – from engineering to history and from young students to established professionals modernising their skills.’

I would like to thank everyone who took the trouble to make a submission, as well as their tutors for the guidance the have provided, often with very little recognition beyond the personal gratitude of the student. And of course I would also like to thank Rory for his energetic and dedicated review of the submissions for 2011, our busiest award to date!’

Bob Kindred MBE, IHBC Government Liaison Secretary, said on behalf of the Gus Astley Trustees: ‘It is heartening, at a challenging time for conservation education, that there are so many committed and talented graduates. This would have given Gus, in whose honour we make the award, great delight and satisfaction.’


Award winners

IHBC Gus Astley Award Winner
Emma Anderson,
‘Rising from the Rubble: An examination of the rebuilding of listed buildings after catastrophic destruction; Principles, Process and Practice’, Oxford Brookes, 2010

Of this Rory Cullen said: ‘This is a very well researched exercise, extremely readable, with good and wide-ranging case studies, all especially well presented. It is also a very practical project that explores lessons from which practitioners can learn, while also interrogating wider principles that might inform professional advice.’

‘Understanding of what is a complex and challenging topic is helped by a clear and logical structure, as it progresses from examining the nature of catastrophic events that may strike any building, through the philosophies and legislative and statutory frameworks, to the conclusions that can be drawn from what are highly relevant case studies.’

Commended (Joint award)
Tristan Dewhurst, ‘Project – enhancing a public place: The Setting of St. Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol’, University of the West of England, 2011

Rory Cullen said: ‘This could have been a modest student project but diligence and a wide-ranging professional approach to the topic ensured that it stands well above the ordinary. It is well written and set out, exploring how issues such as urban grain and access can shape how we plan the future of heritage, while the topic itself provides a good example of the kind of challenges many planners will face throughout their career.’

Commended (Joint award)
Grant Prescott, ‘The Future of Constructivist Architecture in Moscow’, Manchester School of Architecture, 2011

Rory Cullen said: ‘It is a fascinating exploration of the subject with lots of interesting details, all well illustrated by often and original striking images. It is both well written and well researched, and covers a subject that many may be aware of from books, but which is here presented with a substantial body of first-hand experience. That the work was supported by an award from the Manchester Society of Architects is a clear demonstration of just how well professional bodies can support historical and conservation studies’.

Special Mention
Michael MacDonagh,
‘Finding New Uses for Irish Demesnes: authenticity and integrity issues’, Edinburgh College of Art, 2010

Rory Cullen said: ‘This is another well-researched and well written study of an important topic, all well laid out and structured. This subject matter left you delving into the potential for re-use – an important and very interesting study of an increasing rare legacy’.

2010

IHBC Gus Astley 2010 Student Award: winners & seminar (from IHBC NewsBlog – 26th January 2011) Link

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), the key professional body for built and historic environment conservation specialists, has announced the winners of its Annual Gus Astley Student Award for 2010, the major award of its type for the sector.

Trefor Thorpe, Cadw’s Chief Architect and an IHBC member, was the guest judge for the 2010 Award. He said: “It’s been a pleasure, and a privilege to deal with so much new talent. When I see what the economy is doing to the field of activity a great many of us have spent our careers trying to develop into an honourable profession, it’s gratifying to know that there is some real potential out there capable of picking up the baton.”

Jo Evans, IHBC Chair, said: “Our Student Award is crucially important for the IHBC, and for the heritage conservation industry as a whole. It highlights the best of the diverse professions and career routes that underpin successful conservation – from engineering to history and from young students to established professionals modernising their skills.”

Bob Kindred MBE, IHBC Government Liaison Secretary, said on behalf of the Gus Astley Trustees: “It is heartening, at a challenging time for conservation education, that there are so many committed and talented graduates. This would have given Gus, in whose honour we make the award, great delight and satisfaction.”

The winners in the 2010 Gus Astley Student Award are as follows:

Recipient of the IHBC Gus Astley Student Award 2010: Andrew Beckett, of Oxford Brookes University, for his dissertation on Building Preservation Trusts (BPTs),described by the judge, Trefor Thorpe, as ‘a thoroughly engaging exposé of the BPT movement today and a cracking good read to boot!’. Andrew will receive £300 & the offer of a place at the IHBC’s 2011 Annual School in Llandudno, in June.

Special Commendation with Distinction: Anne Brownley Raines of Edinburgh College of Art, for a case study of area conservation & regeneration in an industrialized German region, described by Trefor Thorpe as being ‘excellently researched and immaculately presented… a superb study of the rise of conservation values tied to renewal and regeneration in a heavily industrialized area.’ Anne will receive £100 & the offer of a place at the IHBC’s 2011 Annual School.

Special Commendations: Tom Hulme of the University of Leicester, for a study of the conservation of Gay heritage in Manchester, described by Trefor Thorpe as ‘an excellent and erudite insight into an alternative view of ‘heritage’ and regeneration’, and; Jayne Boldy of the University of Bath, for an analysis of local lists, a work described by Trefor Throrpe as ‘a thorough and comprehensive study and analysis of a relatively unappreciated aspect of heritage protection’. Both Tom and Jayne will receive £50 & the offer of a place at the IHBC’s 2011 Annual School.

2009

2009 Award – Report from Context Issue 116, September 2010
Link to article
Announcement

The Annual IHBC Gus Astley Student Award is presented in memory of the IHBC’s former membership secretary, and supported by the IHBC and the Gus Astley Memorial Fund. The award is presented for an outstanding item of taught coursework accepted as part of either undergraduate or postgraduate courses. Subjects relate to one or more aspects of historic environment conservation, including its evaluation, management or implementation.

Five papers were presented at the IHBC Fringe School to an attentive audience in the Art Workers Guild. IHBC president Eddie Booth presented the award at a ceremony that evening in the Building Centre to Emma Speers, a student on the Edinburgh College of Art (Edinburgh University) postgraduate conservation course.

Speers’ subject was An Assessment of Energy in Traditional Vernacular Buildings in Northern Ireland: comparisons of embodied energy in traditional vernacular buildings versus new-build construction. The paper provided a well-illustrated account of energy use in traditional buildings, their deficiencies and the opportunities for improvement. Embodied energy was clearly explained, providing a compelling case for continuing the use of existing buildings and, at the very least, the re-use of their materials.


Other papers presented were by Zoe Kemp of Leeds Metropolitan University on Conservation-led Regeneration: friend or foe to the Victorian terrace?; Kate Walker of Ironbridge Institute, University of Birmingham, on Conservation Management Plan: Enson Works, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent; Laura Barr and Shona Black of the University of Edinburgh on Modelling Neoclassical Stonework: securing our heritage; and Alexandra Reddaway of the University of Edinburgh on Space Structures and Historic Buildings: an engineer’s approach (GASA 2009 Commendation).

The awards were assessed by Roger Bowdler, head of designation at English Heritage. ‘It was a pleasure to read the dissertations, which showed great commitment and thought,’ he said. ‘Overall, the standards were very high. Students were clearly motivated by their chosen subject, and showed great skill in interrogating web sources and producing clear arguments.

‘On the basis of this year’s submissions, the conservation profession can look forward to reinforcement from a promising new wave of professionals, eager to deploy their emerging skills. What marked out the winner was Emma Speers’ fluency in discussing perhaps the most pressing topic for all of us – the sustainability arguments and the need to make better use of our inherited building stock. Timely, eloquent and clearly argued, this exceptional dissertation deserves wider circulation.

‘A special mention should also be made of Kate Walker’s conservation management plan for a potteries site in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. This was a very professional example of the genre. It was marked by deeply felt appreciation of the special interest of this decaying block. Hearts as well as minds are needed in the cause of championing special places.’

Commendations went to Zoe Kemp, Alexandra Reddaway and Georgie Hayes (University of Edinburgh), the last for her paper on The investigation into the importance of heritage and the ability to reinvent and enhance a historic site sympathetically with modern architecture and engineering methods.

The 2010 award closed for submissions in July: another excellent crop is now being assessed. The winner will be announced at the Annual School in Llandudno in 2011.

2008

2008 Competition – Report from Context, Issue 111, September 2009
Link to article
Announcement  

The second fringe school took place in the University of Derby’s Devonshire Dome in Buxton (built in 1789 by John Carr of York as stables and later converted to a hospital). There was a good mixture of presentations by students who had been shortlisted for the Gus Astley Student Award. The subject matter was diverse but all of the presentations had a relevance to the school theme: ‘Conservation: a key to sustainable design’.

Regular maintenance and housekeeping are the essential foundations of any sustainable historic building or place. Emma James researched the National Trust’s maintenance regimes for mansion properties. She found that maintenance was considered to be important and that every trust property had a maintenance log book. Around eight per cent of trust properties had a handyman and the trust ran housekeeping training for staff. However, slates still slip and gutters become clogged with leaves. Repairs and maintenance are sometimes delayed, leading to further problems. Day-to-day maintenance needs constant attention. The trust wants to develop visual guides and to organise specialist housekeeping tours of properties to keep the issue in the forefront of minds.


Eva Méndez discussed tourism and heritage in the Ibias municipality of north west Spain. Ibias is in a remote location and is suffering from rural depopulation. Distinctive building types include elevated granaries, anti-bear beehives and forest chapels.

Bridget Pereira’s talk was titled ‘Conserving Brasilia: people versus buildings’. Brasilia, the only 20th century cityto be a designated a world heritage site, was built between 1956 to 1960 by Oscar Neimeyer (architect), Lucio Costa (planner) and Juscelino Kubitschek (president). The city was an attempt to create ‘perfect social coexistence’, a utopian modernist ideal. The 1964 military coup dispensed with that vision. Land was sold off to developers, construction workers’ shacks were demolished and a series of satellite towns were created.

In the period after 1945 there was a fascination among many architects with hyperbolic paraboloid structures. These were visually exciting structures that could be built using straight beams. The structures were used for churches, schools, factories and even for a little chef. However, workmanship at the time was often poor quality and several of these structures are now reaching the end of their lives. Rachel Parry investigated these structures: in all of them repair, maintenance, adaptation and demolition has proved to be difficult. Parry’s four case studies were:

Bynmawr rubber factory (1946–51) by the Architects co-Partnership. listed in 1986 and demolished in 2001. The site has been redeveloped as a supermarket.

Silhouette factory, Market Drayton (1959–60). Robert Townsend, architect. listed 2000 and demolished in 2001, now a lidl supermarket.

Queensgate Market, Huddersfield (1968–70). Seymour Harris architects. listed 2005 but currently planned for demolition and redevelopment.

Commonwealth Institute, London (1962). Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall architects. listed 1988 and closed in 2004.

It would appear that these structures are not generally appreciated and their significance not understood. In terms of sustainable use the structures present problems. The Brynmawr rubber factory, for example, was never a commercial success and returning the building to its original use was not a realistic option.

Sayma Iqbal examined the Oxford Castle restoration and conservation scheme. The castle has served time as a royal castle, as a centre of justice, and for several hundred years a prison. In 1996 the prison closed and oxfordshire county council acquired the site. The building gained popularity with filmmakers, and Inspector Morse, 102 Dalmations, and the Spy game were filmed there. Trevor Osborne Developers joined forces with the county council and the Oxford Preservation Trust in 2001 to restore and develop the area. by acquiring a 200-year lease from the county council and gaining planning permission to develop the Oxford Castle Heritage Project, Osborne secured a sustainable future for these important buildings and monuments. This area is now branded as oxford’s oldest new Quarter.The Malmaison hotel conversion of the former prison is a good example of reusing an historic building. The area is pedestrian friendly, is on a human scale and appears to be sustainable.

Crispin Edwards used the case study of the redevelopment of Normanhurst on Brooklands road conservation area in Sale, Manchester to investigate different perceptions of heritage values. Brooklands road was built by Samuel Brooks in the 1860s as a grand avenue, of mansions and villas, leading to the new railway station. Strict criteria controlled the orientation and design of the villas. Since 2004 there have been five planning applications, and four appeals, to redevelop villas, one of which was Normanhurst. Edwards examined the importance of intangibles such as local identity and community value in the consideration of the planning appeals.

David Kincaid, Canterbury City Council

2007

2007 Competition – Report from Context, Issue 106, September 2008
Link to article

The first IHBC fringe school took place on the first afternoon of this year’s annual school. It provided an opportunity for the presentation of new research, new approaches and new talent. The speakers were drawn mainly from those who had entered their student work for the Gus Astley Student Award. The breadth of subject matter covered was a microcosm of the breadth of interests and skills found within our membership.

Presentations ranged from Gus Astley Student Award first prize winner David Hills’ explanation of the issues surrounding the listing and development of management guidelines for Chamberlain, Powell and Bon’s 1960s Barbican development in London to Aiswarya Tipnis’ colourful description of the characterisation and repair of the area around the former colonial Crawford market hall (Mahatma Jyotiba Phule) in Mumbai.

Emily Tracey described her work researching building stones in Scotland using a rectified image of part of a building with digital overlays, showing different levels of stone decay. Sarah Lupton compared two methods of metric survey which she had learned from scratch to enable comparison. leading a lively discussion on internal and external perceptions of the sector, Victoria James asked how the heritage sector saw itself after ten years of the DCMS. Emily Gee’s thoroughly researched and complete thematic review of purpose-built single women’s accommodation was an absorbing insight into architecture for a particular section of society.

The fringe school was a fascinating collection of presentations and the quality was exceptional throughout. The information and CPD value provided by the fringe exceeded that available at many costly conferences. If this standard is maintained into 2009, the fringe should certainly be the first choice for annual school delegates looking for a stimulating, enlightening and varied afternoon.

Fiona Newton