This year, we received a very strong list of nominations for the 2019 Renaissance Award and although it seems like we say this every year, the standard was exceptionally high, so choosing a winner is going to be a difficult task to say the least!
The purpose of the Renaissance Award is to highlight those projects across the city that have undergone conservation and refurbishment, recognising the most successful. Nominations can be a building, structure or public space that was once derelict, vacant or under-used that has been brought back into positive use and given a new lease of life.
Our Planning Committee shortlisted four projects and we have been busy visiting these and casting our votes. The committee is formed from architects, urban designers, planners, surveyors and those with an interest in Birmingham’s built heritage. We ensure we have a range of people from all backgrounds to represent a wide spectrum of opinions and views.
We have to say that the Planning Committee brought a new term to the meaning of efficiency because we visted all four projects in one afternoon – it did help that three were in the Jewellery Quarter, but still pretty impressive if we don’t say so ourselves.
Visiting all the shortlisted projects and speaking to those involved in delivering them is critical in the judging process. Our criteria is simple. We consider the project in terms of the building, structure or space’s condition before works started, the level of restoration work involved, how much of the original building/ space has been retained and importantly how successful the completed project is – what impact has it had upon the community both locally and city-wide.
The range of projects this year has been impressive, three of which are in the Jewellery Quarter. From a former pen factory, converted into luxury apartments, a Jewellery Quarter house and workshop dating from 1823, home to a well-known manufacturing family, an Arts and Crafts property, now a university conference centre, to a Grade II listed former silversmith manufactory, which has been transformed into a college and bakery. To say there’s been a variety of shortlisted projects is certainly an understatement.
2019 saw four outstanding projects shortlisted:
- The New Standard Works
- The Squirrel Works
- Mary Street
- Garth House, Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre
One of the perks of visiting these wonderful projects is the people we meet along the way and hearing their stories, but also the wonderful views of the city that we’re treated to!
We will announce the recipients of our 2019 Renaissance Award in early summer, so watch this space!