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RIBA Regional Awards 2014: Yorkshire

RIBA Regional Awards 2014: Yorkshire

Charlotte Harrison, York: Five years’ practising in Yorkshire has been beneficial both professionally and personally. Moving the office from Hackney to York puts us at the centre of a region famous for its National Parks, stalwart pride and sport (a clutch of Olympic medals and now the Tour de France).

It is a pleasure to work in such Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as the North Yorkshire Moors, east coast and the Wolds. And we are privileged to be working on York’s Scheduled Ancient Monuments – which might not have happened in Hackney!

The local architectural community has received us warmly, with the regional team providing an excellent hub that has successfully re-ignited several local branches, as well as making a vital contribution to the Love Architecture Festival.

Culturally there is plenty to stimulate the cosmopolitan appetite, for example Wake-field’s Hepworth gallery, Leeds’ Henry Moore Institute, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Thirsk’s Rural Arts programme and York’s medieval heritage. 

Yorkshire delivers on variety, scale, contrast and richness. Architecturally it is beginning to benefit from regeneration projects: Sheffield and Wakefield are interesting examples, Bradford hasn’t quite happened yet and Hull is waiting in the wings.

Regarding the general appetite for contemporary design, London is still a universe ahead. There are flurries of activity which can excite, and the planners/English Heritage are supportive, which is welcome, but the wider client base is still to be convinced. 

The flipside is that we exist in a less self-conscious and perhaps less aggressive business environment that is not concerned with being ‘on trend’. The pace may be slightly gentler, and that may attract a more ­mature architectural practitioner.

Charlotte Harrison is a partner at mass architecture, York


Special Awards
Architect of the Year: Cartwright Pickard
Client of the Year: Esteem Consortium for Hull City Council BSF Programme
Building of the Year: Manor Works
Conservation Award: West Offices
Emerging Architect: Howard Evans of Prue Chiles Architects
Sustainability Award: Wakefield One
Small Project of the Year: Underbank House