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Words:
Ruth Slavid

Winner: Education & Public Sector Award

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Stanbrook Abbey is a new home for the Conventus of Our Lady of Consolation, a Benedictine community of nuns who devote their lives to study, work and prayer.

Relocating from their old Victorian home in Worcestershire, the nuns’ contemplative way of life required spaces that were simple, tranquil and beautiful, or as they put it, a place where they could ‘pray always’. 

The new church derives its plan from two intersecting axes significant in the liturgy of the church, its organic form rising out of the modest orthogonal domestic architecture of the abbey. Its interior, which is home to the nuns for six hours a day, celebrates the diurnal changes in daylight and takes advantage of dramatic views to the south.

  • Nuns go about the day in their new, permanent home.
    Nuns go about the day in their new, permanent home.
  • Light in the church changes throughout the day.
    Light in the church changes throughout the day.
  • The exterior has a strong sculptural form.
    The exterior has a strong sculptural form.
  • 'A spiritually uplifting building.'
    'A spiritually uplifting building.'
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Completed over two phases, from 2007 to 2015, the new spaces include private cells for nuns, a refectory and associated kitchen, work rooms, a chapter house, guest spaces and the community church and chapel.

The nuns were keen for the new abbey to be both economic to run and ecologically sensitive in design. Preference was given to renewable, recycled or low embodied energy materials, and the nuns were particularly keen to minimize their ecological footprint. 

The judges called it a ‘spiritually uplifting building that sits sculpturally in the landscape with light that changes through the day so that it acts like a giant sundial.’ Detailing of the church furniture was, they said, ‘superb’.


Winner Stanbrook Abbey

Location Wass, Yorkshire

Architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Client/owner Conventus of our Lady of Consolation, Stanbrook Abbey

Structural engineer Structures One, Buro Happold

Main contractors/builders William Birch Construction, QSP Construction

Joinery company QSP Construction

Organ builder Jennings Organs

Choir stall manufacturer Ooma Design 

Wood suppliers James Burrell, Vastern Timber Company Ltd

Wood species German oak, Scottish spruce, Douglas fir, British sycamore


 

Highly commended 

Mellor Primary School

'A lovely little project on a tight budget.'
'A lovely little project on a tight budget.'

Location Stockport, Manchester

Architect Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Client/owner Mellor Primary School

Structural engineer Rhodes and Partners

Main contractor/builder MPS Construction

Joinery company Image Joinery

Wood supplier Vincent Timber

Glulam frame supplier Constructional Timber Manufacturers 

Environmental/M&E engineer Watt Energy & Consulting Engineers 

Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Wilkinson Cowan Partnership

Wood species Canadian western red cedar, European larch, birch ply


 

Highly commended 

Springfield, St Clare’s, Oxford

 
'A thoughtful design design that creates a totally new place.'
'A thoughtful design design that creates a totally new place.'

Location Oxford

Architect Hodder + Partners

Client/owner St Clare’s, Oxford

Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti

Main contractor/builder Benfield & Loxley

Structural timber sub-contractor and engineer Eurban

Timber frame supplier Hasslacher Norica Timber

Joinery companies Benfield & Loxley, D Smith Joinery

Wood supplier Timbmet 

Wood species European oak, spruce


 

Shortlisted

Shortlisted: Maggie’s at the Robert Parfett Building
Shortlisted: Maggie’s at the Robert Parfett Building Credit: Location Manchester Architect Foster + Partners
Shortlisted: Conservation and repair  of Harmondsworth Barn
Shortlisted: Conservation and repair of Harmondsworth Barn Credit: Location Harmondsworth, Middlesex Architect Ptolemy Dean Architects

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