Stephen Lawrence prize
When we were working with our architect we wanted something different that would stand out and hopefully intrigue potential guests. The fact that the building has gone on to win a national RIBA award was a lovely, unexpected bonus. We had thought that the journey ended there but then we were nominated for the Stephen Lawrence Prize…..
To be honest we hadn’t heard of the Stephen Lawrence prize – though as our architect was extremely excited we knew that it was something special. We hadn’t known that Stephen wanted to become an architect before he was murdered in a racist attack. The prize, now in its 21st year, honours projects that cost less than £1m to complete and is intended to encourage fresh architectural talent. I have to admit when I told my parents they laughed. I think that they were amused that someone should be honoured building a house for less than £1m!! I reassured them that we didn’t spend anywhere near that much!
The judges came to visit earlier in the summer and included Stephen’s mother – Baroness Lawrence. In the great tradition of judging panels they were pretty inscrutable so had no idea what they thought. We were one of seven projects on the shortlist so the odds seemed reasonable. You can see the shortlist here
The winner was to be announced in October at the same event as the Stirling Prize – at the Roundhouse in London. The only slight problem was the price – £400 a ticket! Way too much for B&B owners. Fortunately RIBA let us go in the cheap seats with the architecture students for only £50 ahead. Now that was more like it.
It was a great night – a brief window on a world of which neither of us are a part. Funnily enough as we bumped into a number of our previous guests (we have a lot of architects staying) we actually felt quite at home.
Unfortunately….. we didn’t win, with the award deservedly going to ‘Old Shed New House’ by Tonkin Liu Architects. It looks amazing. Our architect Greg was a little disappointed – I think that they had rather cruelly sat him right next to the stage. He very generously bought a couple of bottles of champagne which was as much compensation as we needed!
It was a fun ride while it lasted and we look forward to see the winners in future years.
We would like to thank….
Our architect Greg Blee (www.bleehalligan.co.uk) asked whether we wanted to be entered into the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) East 2018 awards earlier in the year. We thought ‘why not?’ and then didn’t give it much thought. We were surprised and excited to find out that we had been shortlisted in March and the judges came round to visit in April. As we had already committed to go on holiday (a rare event!) we could only guess from the snippets of feedback we received from Greg and our B&B sitting friend James, whether or not Five Acre Barn had impressed the judges…..
Bruce and I then went off – with some trepidation – to the awards ceremony on 24th May just outside Cambridge. The long and the short of it was that we were an award winner and also received an additional gong for ‘Best small project’ (not that it felt very small to us, but it is in relation to university libraries, social housing estates etc.).
It was a very interesting event and a rare chance for people like us to hear about the incredible projects being undertaken in the area. Each shortlisted project was featured and the judges provided insight about how the project had been conceived and executed. Unfortunately we missed most of the feedback from the judges about our own build as we were busy gurning for the cameras with our awards – but we were really pleased that as well as celebrating the great work of Greg and Josh, our architects, they also acknowledged the excellence of our builder Paul Rolph. We have come to realise that builders are frequently the ‘unsung heroes’ and it was great to see him get some well deserved credit!
The awards are currently in the loo in the Barn – isn’t that what you are supposed to do with them?? We will contact Adele for some advice….