Judges enjoy the best of York
JUDGES who spent two days touring nearly 30 of York’s best new buildings admit they will be faced with a tough choice in picking a winner.
“We saw beautiful buildings! said architect Andy Davey, chief judge of this year’s York Design Awards.
“Our decision is going to be very difficult, because the quality is so high. But we didn’t argue! We keep talking to each other.”
Andy and his fellow judges – Professor Brian Edwards of the University of Edinburgh; conservation architect Janine Riley; and Nicky Watson, Principal of JDDK Architects in Newcastle – spent all of Monday and Tuesday touring the entries for this year’s awards.
Their tours covered everything from major new developments such as the Hudson Quarter to conversions such as the old Clifford Street Fire Station, major heritage restoration projects such as Clifford’s Tower and the Guildhall, and a host of conversions , extensions and smaller developments.
Besides the generally high quality of the programs, Andy said a notable feature this year was the number of relatively new buildings – buildings dating as recently as the early 2000s – that had survived their original use and had been converted or “reused”.
It was good, he said. “Twenty years ago they would have been demolished and new buildings put up. So it’s a good sustainable use of existing buildings.”
The annual awards aim to celebrate good building design across the city, with the aim of improving the quality of York’s urban environment.
This year marked a return after a two-year absence imposed by Covid.
“It feels good to be back!” said Andy, who served as a judge in previous years. “York hasn’t changed at all – except it has, because that’s what we were looking for!”
New Design Awards chair Ann Reid, who accompanied the judges on their site visits, said she was particularly impressed with the range of entries this year.
“There has been a really good mix, from the Lowfield site, which is a large residential site, to smaller extensions,” she said. “It was very impressive to see – but I’m glad I don’t have to judge!”
Judges will spend a few days deliberating and choose winners in a range of categories, including large and small commercial and residential projects; large and small community and public/open space projects, and conservation and restoration projects.
There will also be a Lord Mayor’s Award, given to the project the judges deem the best overall, a Sustainability Award and two special awards, one chosen by young people of York and the other – the Press People’s Choice Award – chosen by readers of The Presse.
Winners will be revealed at a special awards night at the Yorkshire Museum on Monday 4 July.
Learn more at www.yorkdesignawards.org