Coventry Architect Wins Prestigious Award

Coventry architect and recent graduate Jess Tyson has shown she can build for the future after winning a national design competition. Jess Tyson came top in the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Philip Webb Award which celebrates new design in the context of historic buildings.

Jess created an exciting new use for a block of disused buildings in Nottingham City Centre.

Inspired by the current climate emergency, Jess’ project asked why so many buildings sat vacant or were scheduled for demolition when redevelopment through imaginative new design could provide them with a new lease of life.

Jess, who graduated from the University of Nottingham this year, chose three sites in the city – all with distinct characters and in various conditions and reimagined them as a community arts centre and performance venue.

The scheme looked at the Grade-II listed 1888 Nottingham Guildhall, the Art-Deco inspired fire station, and the 1954 ‘island’ building that extends the Guildhall. Judges commended her for her focus on sustainability and her exciting elements of new design.

Jess said: “One of the problems that kickstarted my thesis was the acknowledgment of the threats posed to our historic sites as more buildings become neglected, vacant and demolished.

“I feel quite passionately that this problem, especially in the midst of our current climate emergency, is a priority for architects to address – my project hopes to form a new vision for building conservation which is more accessible, achievable and sustainable for more people to carry out.”

Second place was awarded to a team of architecture students from Birmingham School of Architecture and Design for their scheme that imagined the refurbishment of Moseley Road Baths which was highlighted by Chris Patrick in his recent talk to the Coventry Society.

The SPAB was delighted to see so many schemes put forward for the 2020 Philip Webb Award that tackled the urgent issue of sustainability in the construction industry.

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