It’s that time of year again when we announce the recipient of our Renaissance Award. However, this year is a little bit different because the Society is celebrating its centenary! As you can imagine, 2018 is a year of celebration for us, highlighting ‘The City Beautiful’. From picnics to blue plaques, the 2018 Centenary Renaissance Award is just one of the highlights, and our Planning Committee have been out and about judging the bumper crop of nominations received this year. 

The purpose of the Renaissance Award is to highlight those projects across the city that have undergone conservation and refurbishment, recognising the most successful of them. The projects could 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 – ‘renaissance’ means ‘re-born’ or ‘rebirth’. 

There was a range of projects nominated this year – from offices to apartments, museums to restaurants. Over the past eight weeks, members of our Planning Committee have been travelling across the city, visiting all the shortlisted projects. It has been a difficult but really enjoyable task due to the quality of the projects. We’ve spoken to architects, designers and museum directors to name a few, and have been treated to some wonderful views of the city, including a rooftop view of Birmingham, a tour round a former derelict metal press factory, and visited a room filled with literally 3.5 billion years of history!

Visiting all the shortlisted projects and speaking to those involved in delivering them is critical in the judging process. 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 has been retained and importantly how successful the completed project is – what impact has it had upon the community both locally and city-wide. We also consider how innovative and creative the project has been in tackling the often unseen issues that come about during the refurbishment process. 

Bringing existing buildings, structures and spaces back into positive use is always a challenge and more a ‘labour of love’ for all involved, but once completed the reward of seeing them brought back to life is second to none!

Take a look at the gallery to see photos of our Planning Committee during the visits to this year’s nominated projects.