Revealed: The buildings named as the best designed in Norwich

The Norwich Society has run its 'Design and Craftsmanship' awards every two years since 2003.

The Norwich Society has run its 'Design and Craftsmanship' awards every two years since 2003. - Credit: DCA21

Norwich is steeped in history with incredible architecture spread across the city.

Seeking to champion the city's buildings and public spaces is The Norwich Society.

The society is an independent community-based charity that supports the preservation, development and improvement of features of historic interest of the city.

The Norwich Society's 'Design and Craftsmanship' awards were launched in 2003 to encourage and highlight the best of contemporary architecture and the built environment within the city boundary, and have been held every two years since.

The society's aim was to stimulate interest, promote critical assessment and publicise the variety of buildings that make up the city scene.

The award ceremony for the 2021 Design and Craftsmanship Awards took place on October 14, 2021 at The Assembly House.

The 2021 awards were judged across categories – Housing, Non-Residential, Conservation and Community as well as an inaugural Student award. The Sir Bernard Feilden Award was presented by The Norwich Society in recognition of excellence in alterations and restoration of a historic building in Norwich.

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Below are the design award winners from across Norwich.

Sir Bernard Feilden Conservation Architecture Award

Elm Hill is the winner of the Sir Bernard Feilden Conservation Architecture Award for 2021.

Elm Hill is the winner of the Sir Bernard Feilden Conservation Architecture Award for 2021. - Credit: DCA21

Elm Hill, Norwich 

What the judges said: "This derelict and unoccupied historic building has undergone extensive, high quality repairs and a thoughtful reconfiguration of internal layout to provide a sustainable, liveable house with modern amenities. Environmental considerations have been thoroughly resolved, and there has been sensitive and detailed conservation of historic features. Its conservation has enhanced the local area and community."

Non-Residential Awards

Judges said the Ella May Barnes Building had real presence.

Judges said the Ella May Barnes Building had real presence. - Credit: DCA21

Ella May Barnes Building, Norwich

What the judges said: "Research Park has a stylish, functional design with real presence. It maximises the use of natural light and its solar gains is a nice feature, as well as conspicuously demonstrating the work being done inside. Simple massing with a neat elevational twist at the recessed front elevation and south end elevations gives the building real presence. Architecturally the building “stands its ground” in relation to the recent high-quality buildings adjacent."

Around 300 students live in St Benedicts Gate in Norwich.

Around 300 students live in St Benedicts Gate in Norwich. - Credit: DCA21

St Benedict's Gate, Norwich

What the judges said: "This site provides accommodation for around 300 students. The building makes a positive contribution to the cityscape without resort to overly obvious architectural gestures. It demonstrates a simple, legible and logical layout with the central court providing a strong, sunny external space which is publicly accessible. The student accommodation is to a high standard and some rooms have dramatic views."

Community Category

Judges described the design of The Matthew Project as modern and functional.

Judges described the design of The Matthew Project as modern and functional. - Credit: DCA21

Matthew Project - Oak Street, Norwich

What the judges said: "The Matthew Project has been running for 37 years from several locations around the city. Their primary objective is to provide a support network for vulnerable adults, to help them get back into work and society. Two years ago, they took over this old council food testing facility, and have transformed the utilitarian space into a warm and welcoming centre. The design is modern and functional, with real consistency of how it all works together from the cafe area through to the offices."

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