Bath Abbey has been awarded the prize for community and faith buildings in the AJ Architecture Awards.
The judges said “This decade-long project to repair and future-proof the Grade I-listed Bath Abbey wowed the judges with its exceptional craft, thoughtfulness and ingenuity in how to reduce the energy use of an historic building.
Led by a dedicated Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios team, the £19.3 million in total programme focused on the conservation and re-laying of the historic floor, with its roughly 3,000 stones. Below this, the practice introduced a low-carbon underfloor heating system using waste heat from the city’s natural thermal springs. According to the architect, the main objectives of the project were to open up the abbey and give the building ‘a further 100 years of life, before the next major repair work will be required’.
As well as re-modelling the interior of the abbey, the practice also created new learning and music spaces, such as a bespoke rehearsal studio for the 60-strong choir, in the once-damp Georgian and Victorian basement beneath the pavements of Kingston Parade.
The judges described the scheme as ‘simply knockout’ and an exemplar of ‘how a 1,000-year-old building can become a pioneer for a new, sustainable future, both in this century and the next.’
They added: ‘It is a highly successful labour of love, carried out over 10 years, which has made this historic listed building truly accessible and sustainable.
*A technically complex scheme, with meticulous attention paid to every detail, the quality of work is outstanding. There is no ego here. It is a flexible and inventive solution, literally tapping into Bath’s natural hot spring water, which will undoubtedly stand the test of time.’ *
The University of Warwick Faculty of Art was also Highly Commended in the Higher Education category.