Awards Shortlist

St Albans Civic Society celebrates imaginative development and design initiatives which have been completed within the city in the previous two years – anything from an entire housing scheme to a beautiful front door. While many of the projects considered are architectural, and can involve restoration as well as new buildings, we have also in past years given awards to green space refurbishment.  The awards presentation takes place on 21 May 2024 at the Abbey Theatre where the entries are showcased and the winners revealed. On this page we show some of the shortlisted projects.

 

TRINDERS HAIR STUDIOS, George Street

CATEGORY – COMMERCIAL DESIGN/ BUSINESS

A sensitive upgrading of two commercial properties into one enhanced unit. Using traditional and skilled workmanship, effective graphics and a stylish colour-way, this is a welcome improvement to this important and historical street in the Conservation Area.

HIDDEN HOUSE, Alma Cut

CATEGORY – DOMESTIC DESIGN/ NEW BUILD

Tucked away on a tiny one-way street and sitting an awkward plot, this basement house uses a pre-fabricated slab system to fantastic effect. A highly insulated home with two floors of living space, it boasts significant thermal mass. The external finish of red brick and flint echoes its neighbours, securing its place as a well regarded addition to this Conservation Area.

PRIORY COURT, Old London Road

CATEGORY – DOMESTIC DESIGN/ RENOVATION

This renovation and extension of a mundane 1960s apartment block is exemplary in its demonstration of sustainability, by retaining and fully refurbishing the existing structure, externally and internally, to modern standards. The ground floor level extension provides a smart presence on Old London Road. Internally, the flats have generous proportions and good quality fittings. An excellent example of a developer going the extra mile to ensure a high quality outcome, that works for the home owners and for the city’s skyline.

KINGS ROAD WAR MEMORIAL

CATEGORY – PUBLIC REALM

This memorial to the fifteen men from one small St Albans street who gave their lives during the Great War rights a wrong that came about because the street did not form part of the Abbey parish and their sacrifice was not recognised elsewhere locally. So the residents and a local author set about researching, fund raising and erecting their own memorial to the brave men of their street. Supported by many local organisations and individuals, this contemporary and distinctive memorial was designed by Renato Niemis.

THE WHITE HOUSE, BOWGATE HOUSE and ST PETER’S COTTAGE (ST PETER’S STREET DEVELOPMENT)

CATEGORY – DOMESTIC DESIGN/ RENOVATION

An extensive renovation to a 3-property terrace of iconic and outstanding houses, standing opposite St Peter’s Church and enhancing this important and historical street. The White House, a late Georgian mansion, was part of the first classical architecture seen in St Albans. Originally built in 1829, it had been semi-derelict and empty for many years. Extensive renovation and refurbishment has now created these three outstanding properties, sensitively restored to their former glory.

1-7a FISHPOOL STREET

CATEGORY – DOMESTIC DESIGN/ RENOVATION

A complete restoration of the facades and structure of these important ,Grade 2 listed, historic buildings which signal the entry into this historic street from the Cathedral Quarter. Dating from the 1700s, with a Wattle and Daub render, they were badly in need of repair. This was no ordinary restoration – it required painstaking work and time honoured skills. It’s one for the building geeks – If the words Wattle and Daub get you going, this project also involved Sheep’s Wool insulation and air dried oak laths, resulting in an enduring and impressive restoration.  Number 7 Fishpool Street has now had a Blue Plaque erected, to honour a previous tenant, Thomas Kitchin, an engraver and cartographer, who lived there in the 18th century.

SUMPTER YARD REVIVED

CATEGORY – PUBLIC REALM

A significant rejuvenation that aims to reinstate the historic walled garden approach to St Albans Cathedral. This is a fine improvement and an enhancement to the award winning Welcome Centre entrance of the Cathedral. The scheme reflects the desire to enhance biodiversity and frames the Cathedral’s commitment to enhancing its reputation as an outstanding place of welcome and hospitality. The mixed planting avoids the general formality of traditional planted beds and recognises the need for hardworking plants that are more resilient as we face up to climate change. It has improved pathways and gardens, and created new seating for visitors to stop, sit and enjoy this historic and beautiful building.

COTTONMILL COMMUNITY AND CYCLING CENTRE

CATEGORY – COMMERCIAL DESIGN/ COMMUNITY

A valuable new resource brought to life by a community in need of decent facilities. CASH (Cottonmill and Sopwell Hub Campaign) and SADC (St Albans District Council) worked together to create this welcoming and approachable resource.

Its intelligent infrastructure boasts air source heat pumps and all that a community of mixed ethnicity and needs could want in mod cons. This building has cemented its role as an important and well-used local asset, and thanks in part to its successful bike hub, the building is thriving. An all-too-rare example of generosity of expenditure on public services.

 

24 WATFORD ROAD

CATEGORY – DOMESTIC DESIGN/ RENOVATION

The quality of construction of this Art Deco influenced renovation is immediately noticeable. The great care that has been taken to retain features of the original building, especially on the street façade, should be applauded, and much thought has been lavished on the interiors throughout the house. Generosity of glazing also ensures wonderful natural lighting and connections both visually and physically to the exterior and the generous rear garden.

 

59 BERNARD STREET

CATEGORY – DOMESTIC DESIGN/ RENOVATION

By adding little over a meter to this end of terrace home in a sensitive and smart addition, the arrangement of the floor plan and the functions within have been substantially improved.

The ingenious design allows for ease when transitioning between the levels of the house and moving from front to back, making a small house feel generous. Every space excavated or added has been used to maximum benefit of the liveability of the house. The exterior court yard has been effectively maximised for restfulness and privacy, with the addition of water rills, perimeter planting and amenity for exterior dining while still providing off-street parking. The high quality materials used throughout ensure it is in keeping with the neighbouring terrace buildings – a great exemplar for end of terrace houses throughout St. Albans.

 

61 SANDRIDGE ROAD

CATEGORY – DOMESTIC DESIGN/ NEW BUILD

On a site with a major challenge – sitting within a sinkhole area and requiring extensive piling as part of the construction – this is a quality and pleasing new build home.

Boasting high quality finishes, generous room spaces and circulation areas, plus a well-balanced frontage with restrained planting, this house is bespoke and welcoming, a very pleasing family home for the 21st century.

ABOYNE LODGE SCHOOL

CATEGORY – COMMERCIAL DESIGN/ COMMUNITY

This iconic, pioneering, Grade 2 Listed, Hertfordshire structural system school, built in 1950, was long neglected and in a parlous state. A proper and sensitive refurbishment has restored its dignity and the wonderful airiness of its classrooms.

The original generous quality of the circulation spaces has been restored, including some of the original colour-ways in the classrooms. The atmosphere inside the building has retained its welcoming feeling, an atmosphere where children can thrive. It looks and feels very mid-century and that is part of its attraction, with light being enhanced by the many windows throughout.

BLUE PLAQUES ST ALBANS

CATEGORY – PUBLIC REALM

Who can have failed to notice the emergence of the St Albans Blue Plaques? Since the installation of the first Blue Plaque in 2022 for John Ball, 11 more have followed, celebrating a cross-section of men and women who have contributed to the nation and to St Albans’ history, through politics, the arts, science, and many other areas.

The initiative resembles the well-known blue plaque scheme run by English Heritage and fully celebrates St Albans’ rich history. The dozen already in place (with plenty more to come) have been met with delight and widespread support. A trail to find and see the plaques is being planned.

10 BRICKET ROAD

CATEGORY – COMMERCIAL DESIGN/ BUSINESS

The re-developed 10 Bricket Road office block boasts strong sustainability credentials, incorporating an enhanced specification resulting in the delivery of a high-quality energy efficiency, with car charging points, secure cycle storage and shower facilities also on offer.
The external facade was enhanced and a new atrium created, and overall the outcome adds to the streetscape. A modern, crisp and well executed re-development, which provides an enhanced quality, post-lockdown office environment in the city.

THE SAINT AND SINNER

CATEGORY – COMMERCIAL DESIGN/ BUSINESS

The Saint & Sinner pub and restaurant has undergone a vibrant and overarching renovation, utterly changed from its previous life as a building society by a stylish, some might say ‘miraculous’, transformation, which brings many of its previous hidden assets to life, including rooms with plaster work in Adam style. Built in the 1760’s, previously described as a “country house in town”, known as The Grange, with grounds that stretched to Victoria Street. this Grade II listed building was once home to John Osborn, three times mayor of St Albans.

The beautiful old building now shines and it’s a far cry from its previous use as a building society branch. The new owners, McMullens, were generous in praise of its previous occupants, stating that, however un-glitzy its interiors, “Nationwide looked after the building really well”. The new owners are now equally careful custodians, giving this historic venue a new and hopefully long life.

An invite to our awards event is shown below, please respond to chair@stalbanscivicsociety.com to confirm you wish to attend.