The Masters House in Ledbury has won the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Building of the Year Award, and the Conservation Project of the Year Award in the RIBA Regional Awards for 2016.
The Masters House fought off tough competition to win. Eight buildings were short-listed for the award across the West Midlands, then four, including the Masters House won awards, the other award winners were Chattock Gardens in Solihull by Khoury Architects McIntyre House in Birmingham by Associated Architects and The School Yard - Phase 2 in Harborne by BPN Architects.
Rachel Lambert, Heritage and volunteering coordinator for Herefordshire Council said :
"We're delighted that The Master's House has won such a prestigious award."
"It is greatly deserved and a vindication of the persistence, commitment and support of the restoration process from the people of Ledbury, Butler Hegarty and Herefordshire Council."
"Investment in this kind of high quality, community, cultural and heritage site is a proven route to engagement with heritage, education and well being. I'm thrilled to be part of the team that delivers such a successful programme of activities, events and services."
RIBA describe the Masters House and the work of architects, Butler Hegarty below:
Butler Hegarty Architect’s forensic exploration, imaginative reshaping, and painstaking restoration of this building, was supported throughout by the enthusiasm of the building’s band of local volunteer ‘friends’, and was sustained by the commitment of owner client, Herefordshire Council. Together they have successful integrated an accessible design into the historic fabric of The Master's House, and reconnected the building to its context and local community.
The architects demonstrate commendable attention to detail and a fluent approach to design, combining careful and sensitive restoration of each main historic era of original construction, with modest and elegant contemporary insertions, and purpose designed furniture and fittings. Contractor Speller Metcalfe have achieved a high level of craftsmanship, with carefully repaired medieval timber frame, insulation of walls and new ‘second over’ roof using Hempcrete and clay tiles, use of lime plaster and natural finishes, and new internal timber joinery.
With new life breathed into it, the building now provides a library, a base for local authority and voluntary services, a visitor attraction, and starting point for orientation and interpretation of medieval Ledbury. In today’s challenging times for library services, the Masters House has achieved a 40% increase in library membership and book loans in its first year of operation, and has become adopted as a social hub by the local community. It demonstrates the potential of good architecture to enhance the civic life of the community.
Regional winners will also be considered for a coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, which will be announced in June. The short-list for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning buildings later in the year.
For more information on the Masters House www.herefordshire.gov.uk/mastershouse
For more information on RIBA awards https://www.architecture.com/Awards/Awards2016/RegionalAwards/WestMidlands/TheMastersHouse.aspx
The Masters House project was made possible through funding received from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Severn Waste Environmental Fund.