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Presidents' Award Winners 2016

This year, two winners have been awarded the 2016 Presidents' Award for new church architecture, run by the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association and the National Churches Trust.
The award for reordering, extensions or alterations to existing church buildings was presented to Wymondham Abbey for the works by Freeland Rees Roberts
The award for new buildings was presented to Wass, Stanbrook Abbey Fielden Clegg & Bradley Studios 

 Wymondham, St Mary & St Thomas of Canterbury, Wymondham Abbey

Freeland Rees Roberts Architects

Young Architect: Tania Gomez-Duran


Extensions to each aisle, with flexible spaces, toilets, servery. The church is part of the fabric of Wymondham, and helps all living in the parish, not just the congregation. The Abbey Experience project aims: to open up the Abbey and environs to a broader audience, to inspire participation and engagement; to conserve and interpret the Abbey’s heritage and explain its continuing influence on the community; to provide a dynamic learning experience for all ages and abilities. The existing church has been greatly improved by removing ‘clutter’, including the ‘temporary’ vestries in the South aisle and relocating the shop to allow reopening of the West doors. The new extensions provide much needed facilities: new flexible spaces, sacristy, choir vestry, servery, lavatories and storage to cater for a wide range of activities, interpretation and learning. Traditional materials have been used in a contemporary way to be sensitive to the context and to achieve elegance in construction and detailing. The extensions abut the South aisle, East tower and North aisle. The extensions have been designed to have minimal impact on the existing fabric, but of sufficient scale against the large imposing Abbey and allow an accessible circular route around the church with new ramps in the aisles. The extension walls are Clipsham stone, glazing and oak louvres. The SE extension employs soaring, tapered cruciform shaped steel columns, which keeps the structure away from the South chancel wall, and new rooflights wash the extension in light and allow an uninterrupted view of the existing archaeological wall and tower beyond. The roof has been clad with terne coated steel -looking much like lead used on the other roofs but without the attraction for metal thieves. The NE extension is within the ruins of the former St Margaret’s Chapel and has a green sedum roof. The impact on the above and below-ground archaeology was reduced, with design of the foundations to minimise disturbance of the demolished C12th S aisle foundations, the impact on the blocked nave South arcade and South wall of the East tower have been minimised; existing blocked doorways were reopened, so that only one new opening was formed. While unblocking the East arch, a large quantity of worked stone was discovered from the demolished monastery and revealed a substantial incised gable and window tracery architectural design; and medieval graffiti. A minimal glazed screen was used to avoid the design and maximise the impact. Worked stones from the unblocking have been displayed





Wass, Stanbrook Abbey Church

Feilden Clegg and Bradley Studios



The Conventus of Our Lady of Consolation relocated a few years ago from their original 19th abbey building in Worcestershire a few years ago. They chose (in accordance with their Benedictine heritage) a remote site on the edge of the North York Moors. The single storey residential and working parts of the abbey having been completed, the chapel, which provides the focus of their mission was next, and was dedicated in September 2015. From the outside, the building presents a soaring curved facade, reminiscent of a theme-park roller coaster, faced in vertical timber slats, which have already weathered to grey. A walk round the building reveals the way the curve has been resolved into an almost cylindrical termination, facing to the east. The only embellishment being a cross let into the facade. A further progress round the outside of the building discovers the south face, which is almost entirely composed of tall windows. This takes full advantage of the south facing slope of the site, and the elevated position above the Vale of York. Weather permitting, the view stretches to the ruins of the medieval Byland Abbey, with a more distant prospect of the towers of York Minster. Inside, the chapel is lambent with the south light, the brilliance of which is enhanced by the light interior finishes, to the roughly finished walls, with the floor in Purbeck limestone. The pews are carefully detailed in sycamore wood, with liturgical furnishings in York Stone. The chapel design is given a vertical emphasis by the structural concrete pillars, which terminate in the roof trusses, which support the timber roof lining, which mirrors the outside finish. The north wall of the main chapel intersects with the curved outside wall, to separate off a side chapel, with a similar unadorned finish. The order brought with them from their original abbey a number of cherished fittings -including a hanging lantern, and the cross above the altar. In use, the asymmetrical profile of the building has provided a resonant and sympathetic acoustic for the choral worship of the congregation. The overall design combines the traditional liturgical needs with a contemporary approach. (Photo credits: Tom Crocker for Feilden Clegg and Bradley Studios)



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