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Former Norwich eyesore Westlegate Tower is now attracting lots of admirers

PUBLISHED: 09:37 11 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:42 11 March 2015

The renovation and conversion work on Westlegate Tower in Norwich nears completion.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

The renovation and conversion work on Westlegate Tower in Norwich nears completion. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

For years it was the city's greatest eyesore widely seen as a blight on its skyline. But Westlegate Tower's new look has now seen it shortlisted for an architectural award.

The new Bob Champion Research and Education building next to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe new Bob Champion Research and Education building next to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The tower, along with The Great Hospital and the Bob Champion Research and Education Building, has been nominated for the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) East Awards 2015.

The tower, built in 1959, was an office block before standing empty for 14 years. Its redevelopment saw it transformed into 17 luxury apartments, including a penthouse suite with 360 degree views of the city, two town houses and three commercial units.

The medieval Great Hospital, in Bishopgate, was founded in 1249 and includes 15 listed buildings – six of which are grade I. The historical events venue was developed into a sheltered housing complex and assisted living houses in 2013.

The newest of the Norwich buildings on the shortlist, the £19 million medical research centre, is on the research park and was completed last year.

The new look gardens and new accommodation at the Great Hospital in Norwich.
Photo by Simon Finlay.The new look gardens and new accommodation at the Great Hospital in Norwich. Photo by Simon Finlay.

It is named after former Grand National winning jockey Bob Champion whose cancer trust was the project’s biggest charitable donor.

The buildings are up against 12 others in the eastern region.

Jon Greenfield, chairman of RIBA East, said: “We have seen a diverse range of entries this year and it’s really great to see clients pushing for good design across such a broad spectrum.”

The winners, to be announced on April 16, will be considered for a RIBA national award.

Do you have a Norwich story? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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