Who are the winners of this year's Civic Society Awards?

The new St Albans Cathedral Welcome Centre.

The new St Albans Cathedral Welcome Centre. - Credit: St Albans Civic Society

Building projects which contribute towards the preservation and enhancement of the character of St Albans were celebrated at an annual awards ceremony.

St Albans Civic Society was able to welcome back a host of nominees, architects, designers, builders and members to recognise the highest standards of architecture, planning, landscaping and civic design in the district. Because of Covid, this year’s awards covered projects from 2019 and 2020.

Many of the projects considered are architectural, but the awards involve restoration as well as new buildings - anything from an entire housing scheme to a beautiful front door.

President Emeritus Geraint John presented the Trevelyan Prize, which recognises projects that achieve the finest quality in terms of conservation and restoration to the new St Albans Cathedral Welcome Centre.

The residential category was presented by previous nominee Mary Conneely to joint winners: 2 Barncroft Way, a retrofit of a 1970s family home, and Beaumont Gardens in Fleetville.

The latter project, the former Beaumont Works, has proved a great success both commercially and in how it has been received by the local community, who were keen to see this much loved site put to good long term use, whilst retaining its distinctive appearance.

Finally, Chris McIntyre presented the commercial category to 40-42 London Road, a complete new building that used traditional forms and materials for a design that made great efforts to link with the neighbouring properties, both in scale and in its use of materials,

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He also spoke of the importance good civic design has in the life of a city such as St Albans, from the bigger projects to the smaller ones, so distinctive shopfronts such as Books On The Hill, Crepeaffaire and Flower Box were commended here.

The overall prize, the prestigious Civic Society Award plaque, was won by St Albans Cathedral Welcome Centre. The architectural challenge here was to create a new entrance between the Norman and Gothic architecture of the Cathedral and the 1970s architecture of the Chapter House. The result uses the heritage materials of matching brickwork, stone and flint to create a harmonised and sensitive marriage. Outside the landscaping treatment enhances the exterior and its setting. The design is distinctive and the judges praised the quality of construction and workmanship.

The plaque was presented by Mayor Edgar Hill, and received by Steph Pisharody, Head of Development at the Cathedral, who thanked everyone involved in not just the construction and design of the new building, but in the support and fund-raising that made it a possibility in the first place.

Civic Society Chairman Freda Chaloner ended the evening by thanking everyone involved in contributing to an evening that was able to fully celebrate the high standards of architecture and civic design in the city.

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