They are called the AJ (Architect's Journal) Small Projects Awards but the winners turn out to be a celebration of recycled, sustainable and innovative buildings in England.
The winner was the JellyFish Theatre, a ramshackle, temporary theatre built out of wood pallets last summer for the 2010 London Festival of Architecture by a team of 80 volunteers using only found materials.
Calling it "junkitecture", the building was made completely of old materials from all sources: junked theatre sets, building sites, 800 market pallets, old kitchen units that the public bring along. Built for just £17,000 by German architects Köbberling & Kaltwasser, the 120-seat temporary theatre was built by volunteers, apparently mostly unemployed architects. It was described by competition judges as "the most inventive project and was done with a certain spirit and enthusiasm. The decision not to cut up the found materials was a simple choice but was well received, worked well and was quite exciting."
Photo: LincolnMiles Architecture
The second prize was won by LincolnMiles Architecture, for the architect's house which was a little bungalow that grew and grew. The architectural designer and his wife wanted to build on the Isle of Wight, but were unable to find a good piece of land. Featured on the t.v. show Grand Designs, they decided to find a bungalow on a prime piece of land (in this case, surrounded by unspoilt ancient woodland) and rebuild it.
Fear not, a monster house did not result. Instead they recycled the existing 70s bungalow, even keeping some of its retro features like the stone-clad chimney, and adding a three-storey 'tower' extension with an upstairs bedroom with treetop views.
The nicest part is how much of the building vanished into the natural woodland setting. The old bungalow and new studio extension are clad in scorched larch planks, which echo the bark of the forest. The tower extension is clad with agricultural cement board, usually used on cowsheds, which they will smother with yoghurt and cow pat to encourage mosses and lichens to grow.
Photo: moving architecture
A highly commended award was also given to Moving Architecture for its Greyfriars Surgery (doctors' offices) project in Hereford. An extension was added to a historically designated building. It had to respect both the practical needs of doctors' offices and relate to the historical setting.
The original building was complicated, built into and over a historically designated monument--Hereford City Wall. This the third extension and it faces over the site of medieval fortifications and towards a local bridge. On this façade there are slotted windows with beaten lead panels and rough cut oak boards. The judges described it as "an excellent example of carrying the spirit of architecture-school into a real-world project."
Pictures of the impressive list of short-listed buildings can be seen here.
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