2016 Awards

Civic Voice Design Awards returned for its second year in 2016

“How exciting that the Civic Voice Design Awards are back again this year. I have seen a lot of restoration projects and programmes over the years, but the sheer variety, commitment and range of these projects astonished me last year. What I really like about the Civic Voice Design Awards is that they are national awards which have been nominated by local community organisations like civic societies, residents’ groups, town and parish councils and other community based voluntary organisations, rather than the industry professionals.” Griff Rhys Jones, Civic Voice President


See all the winning entries in the 2016 awards brochure.


Design Awards 2016 Overall Winner and New Build Winner: Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool


Building a new hospital doesn’t happen very often, especially one whose design was inspired by a 15-year-old girl!

Alder Hey listened carefully to children and thousands of families who took part in one of the NHS’s biggest-ever public consultations. Many suggestions, such as better access to fresh air and nature, influenced the plans, and it was a drawing by Eleanor Brogan that impressed the architects and inspired their final design.

The Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust invited the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community to lead the public consultation for the redevelopment of the hospital. The Friends of Springfield Park actively engaged in the process to ensure that the community’s voice was heard.

Designed in response to the needs of patients, visitors, staff, and the community as a whole, the close attention paid to improving the user experience to create a home-from- home for children who need care, is utterly commendable. The project successfully combines art, architecture and landscape design to create a new hospital which is warm, happy, calming and educational, marking a step-change in the quality of public hospital design.

Through meaningful consultation, the city of Liverpool now has a hospital of which it is immensely proud. The judges were unanimous in naming Alder Hey Children’s Hospital as the winner of the new buildings category and also their overall winner of the 2016 Design Awards.

Nominated by Friends of Springfield Park


New Build

Highly Commended: Soho Multi-level Playground

Jane’s Pond

Previously limited for outdoor play space, the pupils of Soho Parish Primary School, situated in the heart of London, now have the perfect space to use their energy and creativity. The Soho ‘play cubes’ are a unique and modern piece of urban architecture, housing within them a variety of play opportunities. The scheme has made economical use of the limited urban space, creating a structure that sits between the buildings and remains in harmony with its surroundings. 

An exemplar to other inner city schools, the judges praised the scheme for creating a dynamic and wonderfully playful space which reaches out to the community. The dramatic cubes offer the school a visible presence in the heart of Soho, making a strong statement and a bold, artistic, architectural contribution to Great Windmill Street. Most importantly, the kids love it!

Nominated by Soho Parish Primary School


Highly Commended: St Valentine’s Close, Winchester

Jeremy Tyrrell (T2 Architects)

Local residents, the wider community and the local planning authority collaborated to agree a design framework for the site which has achieved a residential-led, mixed-use development which is applauded for its high standard of modern townscape design, sensitive to its urban context. 

The final design was influenced by the community’s input to take inspiration from Winchester’s historic streets, but not to mimic the Victorian and Edwardian architecture. These were the key principles for the development of St Valentine’s Close. The judges commented that this process merited recognition with a Highly Commended award for demonstrating how collaborative working can positively enhance the design process.

Nominated by City of Winchester Trust



Winner: The Master’s House, Ledbury

Butler Hegarty Architects

The Friends of the Master’s House have been involved in this project since 2002, when the building ceased to be used and its future was uncertain. At that point a collective community desire to save the building led to the formation of the Friends group, whose commitment has sustained the project.

Groups including Herefordshire Council, Ledbury and District Civic Society, the John Masefield Society, AGE UK, Victoria County History and others have participated in bringing this Grade II* listed, timber-frame medieval building, previously on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Register, back to life. 

A grant of £1.25 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund acted as the catalyst for the regeneration of this historic building. It has had a positive impact on the local community, rapidly becoming the hub of community life, including a library and one stop shop. 

The judges praised the great attention paid to acknowledging, protecting and celebrating the evolution of the building over time and its different periods of architecture. The conservation philosophy underpinning the project was focused on the extensive medieval fabric. Through its physical presence, the Master’s House consolidates a sense of place and continuity, allowing access to its unique architecture, while providing a high-quality environment for vital public services and accessible arts and cultural events. Local people have enthusiastically taken the building to their heart and made it their own.

Nominated by Friends of the Master’s House 


Highly Commended: Briddlesford Lodge Farm Hop Kilns

Lincoln Miles Architecture

A local family who own the farm decided to protect this local asset, restoring the kilns to a farm heritage centre. The kilns have been cleverly converted and extended as a museum and gallery with an honest dignity and charming simplicity. Pride in farming traditions is well displayed, helping to celebrate the long agricultural history of the island. 

Nominated by Isle of Wight Society


Highly Commended: The Old Grammar School, Coventry

Underwood & Weston

Identified as one of the five most important buildings at risk in Coventry, restoration has focused on bringing the derelict Old Grammar School back to life with minimal impact on its historic fabric. Now an asset and a reminder of Coventry’s history, it will make a significant contribution as an events venue to Coventry’s bid to be City of Culture in 2021.

Nominated by The Coventry Society


Highly Commended: Yarmouth Station, Isle of Wight

Andrew Court Architects

Local partnerships have brought a previously derelict Victorian railway station back into use. It has been sensitively and imaginatively restored through the careful replacement of lost features and use of reclaimed materials. Yarmouth Station is now an asset to its location and a focal point for community activities.

Nominated by Isle of Wight Society


Judges' Special Mention: Scenic Railway, Dreamland, Margate

Guy Hollaway Architects

With support from Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, restoration of this scenic railway, listed Grade II*, is a key part of the project to restore Dreamland to its historic role as an amusement park. The judges felt it was a beautiful and culturally important restoration, worthy of a special mention for the challenges the project has faced and overcome.

Nominated by Margate Civic Society


Public Realm

Winner: The Holywells Park Project, Ipswich

Ipswich Borough Council

In 2013, Holywells Park was awarded a grant of £2.8 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund for the ‘Parks For People’ restoration project, to be invested over a five-year period. The grant was topped up by the Friends of Holywells Park and Ipswich Borough Council to a total of £3.5 million.

Central to the aims of the Friends of Holywells is use of the park by local residents. The project has facilitated this in novel ways, by opening up areas for a variety of uses while restricting parts of the park where the environments call for careful treatment. The park is now central to local community life – extending a vibrant, friendly and warm welcome and providing a varied programme of activities throughout the seasons, including a Scarecrow Tea Party in May and an Apple Day in October.

In the park, previously forgotten buildings have been restored. The Orangery has been transformed into a light-filled, brilliant and noble structure. The restoration of the cast-iron framework, the replacement of the glazing, and the cleaning and replacing of the original tiles inside the building have all been completed with great care, with the intention of honouring the original idea of the Orangery. Friends of Holywells Park, sharing a common aim, works in close collaboration with Ipswich Borough Council. It believes that this is a model for other communities to follow. 

Nominated by The Ipswich Society


Highly Commended: Eyesore to Artwork, Derbyshire

Peter Barber (artsderbyshire)

The judges felt that this impressive community-led project shows that, even in times of austerity, public realm matters and people can help to make positive change.

Led by the community through the Matlock Civic Association, the project has succeeded in radically changing part of Derwent Way from an ‘anywhere’ road, defined entirely by standardised highway engineering, into a beautiful and innovative ‘artscape’ – a location with a sense of place and its own distinctive look and identity. The mural encourages local people to take an interest in local landmarks and heritage, and has renewed pride in the town.

The judges were particularly impressed with how the leadership of the local civic society pursued a collaborative approach with statutory agencies from idea to implementation. It is an example to other civic societies.

Nominated by Matlock Civic Association


Judges' Special Mention: Road of Remembrance War Poppies, Folkestone

A timely project with the centenary of the First World War upon us, this display of hand-knitted and crocheted poppies has generated a huge response from the public. It involved people from the local community and beyond, with poppies sent from around the world to commemorate the loss of loved ones in two world wars.

Brightening up a neglected part of town, the display is an act of remembrance which has captured the hearts and minds of many and provokes thoughts about the huge cost of war.

The judges felt that this was worthy of a special mention for its low-cost but high impact expression of identity and memory.

Nominated by Purl Queens