Richard Grainger's tomb restoration wins design award

THE 150th anniversary of the death of the man who created much of Newcastle’s now celebrated city centre was marked last night with an award.

Richard Grainger's tomb

THE 150th anniversary of the death of the man who created much of Newcastle's now celebrated city centre was marked last night with an award.

The restoration of the tomb of developer and visionary Richard Grainger was the winner of the conservation category of the 2011 Lord Mayor’s Design Awards held at the Mansion House in Newcastle.

Architect Cyril Winskell was in charge of the project at Grainger’s last resting place in the grounds of St James Church in Benwell in Newcastle, which was carried out for Newcastle City Council by Glendon Services.

The project restored the tomb to its original blue/black colour, the stonework plinths were re-finished in a lime wash and the cast-iron finial tops were repaired, with the judges being “highly impressed” with the workmanship.

Judith Green, secretary of the St James’ Heritage and Environment Group, said: “We are very pleased with the restoration. It was really awful that the site was so overgrown before it was cleared by people from the local community, given that millions of pounds that had been spent on restoring Grainger Town in the city.”

The winner of the Lord Mayor’s Special Award and the accessibility category was Knop Law Primary School at Hill Head Parkway in Westerhope, by ADP architects and Sir Robert McAlpine. The school makes the most of views across the Tyne Valley and has wildlife gardens, a log cabin classroom and a biomass boiler. Judges were “united in their praise for the attention to detail in both the internal and external areas of the school.”

The Refurbishment award went to the Best Western Ryokan Hotel in Westgate Road, Newcastle, by Neil Wilson Design and M K Builders.

The building was formerly the listed Balmoral pub , which was taken over in 1892 by Fitzgerald’s.

Businessman Jangy Khan bought the pub in 2005 and spent two years turning it into a 20-bedroom hotel and restaurant. The New Building prize went to Newcastle University’s Business School at Downing Plaza, opposite St James’ Park, by Ian Simpson Architects and George Downing Construction.

The Sustainability prize also went the way of the university for its Baddiley-Clark building, home of the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology – the world’s first major research centre with a focus on bacterial cells.

The Small Scale Development award was won by Millfield House visitor centre in Jesmond Dene, from Mosedale Gillatt Architects and contractors ROK. The Housing award was taken by Station Court in Newcastle, a Your Homes Newcastle project by Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall architects and contractor Frank Haslam Milan.

An extension to a Georgian house in Summerhill Square by Xsite Architecture and Cameron Builders was the winner of the Residential award.

Among the commendations were Newcastle University’s King’s Gate, a gateway building to the campus, the new public square outside St Nicholas Cathedral, the Sir Bobby Robson Memorial Garden at Gallowgate and Northumbria University’s Sport Central.

A new era for 101-year-old emporium

THIS year the public was able to play a role in the awards by voting online in a new People’s Choice category.

More than 1,500 votes were cast, with the winner being a former landmark department store in Shields Road in Byker.

The ornate Beavans building has been converted by Mansell Construction Services for the Tyne Housing Association into 31 affordable flats for single people.

Anthony Keith Architects of Gosforth in Newcastle designed the £3.2m conversion of the building, which had been empty for three years, to high environmental standards.

Beavans store was a major Edwardian shopping emporium in Newcastle’s East End for decades.

Opened in 1910, Beavans is on the Newcastle City Council’s local list of buildings of interest but there were concerns that it faced demolition before being saved by the housing conversion scheme.

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