RIBA Regional Awards 2014: East Midlands
Derek Latham, Derby: At the transition between the upland Peak District and the lush Trent Valley, Pevsner summed up Derbyshire as ‘having everything but a coastline’.
But add the rest of the East Midlands and the omission’s resolved, with the ‘bracing’ beaches of Lincolnshire reaching down toward the Fens – the Stump of Boston in the south and the dramatic hilltop cathedral and castle of Lincoln further north, with the new University of Lincoln around ‘The Pool’ as a modern model of educational regeneration.
The golden limestone and Collywestern slated villages of Northamptonshire nestle into the shire around the expanding county town of Northampton, looking to grow its town centre without losing its more intimate character.
Leicester’s retail offer has benefited from the stylish additions to Highcross of a stainless steel clad multiplex and the patterned facade of John Lewis. With Grimshaw’s Space Centre and Vinoly’s ‘Curve’, the buildings are as cosmopolitan as its people.
Nottingham Universities’ new Jubilee Campus by Hopkins and then Make, also ‘raises the bar’, as does the Contemporary by Caruso St John, next to the Broadmarsh Centre which is currently suffering an ectopic pregnancy before rebirth.
Derby’s reputation as a high-tech engineering city is not matched by its buildings. The successful Westfield Shopping Centre may beat Leicester economically, but not architecturally. The new velodrome on Pride Park is a start, and the recent fire at the Assembly Rooms may provide an opportunity to offer a new face to the Market Place.
Meanwhile, not to be complacent, the local architect’s society, NDSA, are proactive, with regular events promoting architecture. ‘Nott: Just A City Exhibition’ is currently running in a vacant shop unit in Nottingham and has attracted hundreds of people through its doors with lectures, children activities and workshops as well as local university and practice work.
Derek Latham is founder of Lathams, Derby
Architect of the Year Award: Evans Vettori
Client of the Year Award: Derby City Council (for Noel Baker Community School)
Building of the Year Award: College Court
Conservation Award: College Court
Small Project of the Year: The Studio