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European Architecture Prize : Cultural Heritage, 2010
1 Apr 2010
Europa Nostra Awards Winner
Eric Parry Architects’ renewal of St-Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London is one of only two UK projects to be awarded a European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award it was announced today.
This unique Awards programme highlights some of Europe’s best achievements, and showcases remarkable efforts made in safeguarding Europe’s rich architectural, landscape, archaeological and artistic heritage. The Awards celebrate not only outstanding initiatives, conservation projects, research, and education successes within Europe’s cultural heritage sector, but also reward the exceptionally dedicated service to heritage conservation by individuals and/or groups. The 2010 winners have been selected from nearly 140 submitted projects, stemming from 26 countries. The selection of Laureates is made by one of the four Heritage Awards Juries, composed of independent experts from across Europe.
The renewal project at St Martin’s is one of the most complex undertaken in London for many years. The scheme is set against a rich backdrop of heritage, community and faith that is both sacred and secular. The multi-award winning scheme has safeguarded the future of the site providing modern, purpose-designed facilities for the many communities that inhabit the site, including The Connection at St Martin’s, one of the UK’s largest charities providing services to the capital’s homeless, the Chinese community, musicians who rehearse and perform, as well as the local parish.
New public spaces lie at the heart of the scheme: a widened Church Path includes a glazed entrance pavilion providing access to a new foyer below ground and the reconfigured café in the crypt, as well as community meeting rooms, a small chapel and the Chinese Community Centre. The form of the pavilion is inverted at the eastern end of Church Path where a lightwell brings daylight deep into the below-ground spaces. The churchyard has also been reconfigured, providing a place for contemplation and reflection.
A Nash-designed terrace to the north of the Church has been refurbished to provide modern, purpose-built accommodation. The Connection now has flexible spaces in which to undertake its social care work, A day centre, night centre, medical facilities, café and rooms for counselling and workshops have been provided, reflecting St Martin’s ethos as the ‘church with the ever open door’. On the first and second floors of the adjacent vestry, a new extension links to the clergy offices and the site management team.
The conservation works to the church have removed later Victorian additions and returned the interior to its 18th-century glory. Clear hand-made glass has replaced the translucent glazing, allowing natural light once again to flood into the interior space. A new East window, designed by Shirazeh Houshiary with Pip Horne, has replaced the window installed following World War II bomb damage. The church’s elaborate decorative plasterwork has been restored; in addition, the pulpit has been relocated close to its original position, improving sightlines for congregation and audiences and the chancel reordered to allow greater flexibility for worship and concerts. The exterior has been completely restored and cleaned.
Dr Roger Woodley the UK representative on the Europa Nostra Jury, said: ‘The entire European Jury was excited by the way the dramatic and confident new work merged with and enhanced the equally confident classicism of Gibbs and Nash and they loved the meticulous restoration. The project is a credit both to London and the UK as a whole.”
Eric Parry, Principal of Eric Parry Architects welcomed the award: “After almost a decade of work always energized by the clarity of purpose, this award is the most important recognition of a massive team effort, and we are delighted.”
The awards will be presented during the 8th Annual European Heritage Awards Ceremony, taking place in Aya Irini in Istanbul, Turkey on 10 June 2010, as part of the Europa Nostra Annual Congress. These events contribute to the celebration of Istanbul as a European Capital of Culture 2010 and are included in the official programme of Istanbul 2010.
The Europa Nostra plaque will then be unveiled in a ceremony at St Martin’s on Thursday 16th September 2010.
European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Award images / information received 010410
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Europa Nostra represents some 250 non-governmental organisations, 150 associate organisations and 1500 individual members from more than 50 countries who are fully committed to safeguarding Europe’s cultural heritage and landscapes. Together, we provide a powerful network for dialogue and debate, we celebrate the best heritage achievements; we campaign against threats to vulnerable heritage buildings, sites and landscapes, and we lobby for sustainable policies and high quality standards with regard to heritage.
European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awardss
Categories for the awards range from the restoration of buildings and/or their adaptation to new uses, to quality interventions in historic settings and urban or rural landscape rehabilitation, to archaeological site interpretations, and care for art collections. Also awarded are research projects in the heritage field, education and awareness-raising initiatives related to cultural heritage, and dedicated service to heritage conservation by individuals or organisations.
Information and photos of winners from past editions of the Awards scheme can be viewed on the Europa Nostra website, as well as in the yearly dedicated Awards publications.
Prize Recipients from Category 1 (Conservation) will receive a commemorative plaque (seen above) to be placed outside the building to serve as a reminder of the impressive and noteworthy efforts to preserve Europe’s built heritage. These medals can be spotted across Europe at previous awarded projects from the last seven award ceremonies and this year’s winners will soon be able to join this prestigious group. Recipients from remaining Categories, receive a bronze trophy.
The Awards Scheme is organized also with the kind support of ACLEAU- Association of Charity Lotteries in Europe and Les Henokiens – Association of family and bicentenary Companies.
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image © Nick Weall
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