Awards winners 2024

St Albans Civic Society celebrates imaginative development and design initiatives which have been completed within the city in the previous two years.  The Society looks for projects that contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the character of St Albans, and achieve the highest standards of architecture, planning, landscaping and civic design. Members of the Society and the general public are invited to submit suggestions for consideration by our Awards Panel.  For these Awards, projects were eligible if they have been completed in the two and a half years to 31st August 2023. The criteria we consider include: Quality of Concept, Quality of Design, Quality of Realisation or Finish, Fit with Context, and Overall Impact. The awards presentation took place on 21 May 2024 at the Abbey Theatre where the shortlisted entries were showcased and the winners revealed.


Hidden House, Alma Cut

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.



59 Bernard Street

By adding little over a metre 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.



Blue Plaques

Who can have failed to notice the emergence of the St Albans Blue Plaques? Since the installation of the first Blue Plaque in 2022, 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.



The Saint & Sinner

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.



Cottonmill Community and Cycling Hub

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.



1-7a Fishpool Street

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.




Other shortlisted entries shown below