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Press Release Salisbury Civic Society New Buildings Awards Scheme 2017 12th January 2018

 A capacity audience of 155 people attended the Salisbury Civic Society New Buildings Awards and New Year party at the Guildhall on Thursday 11th January 2018. The new buildings awards party is a highlight event in the Society’s calendar, promoting high standards of contemporary design in all aspects of the built environment within Salisbury and South Wiltshire, the geographical area covered by the Society. The judging panel, which was chaired by the rector of Bemerton, Simon Woodley and also included Richard Walters, Jeremy Turtle and Ed Jameson, considered nine nominations. Of these two were within Salisbury, and seven were outside the city within South Wiltshire (at Alderbury, Bulford, Compton Chamberlayne. Swallowcliffe, and Tisbury). After considerable discussion, and site visits to short-listed candidates, the judges decided that all deserved recognition, giving five Awards, including the Lord Congleton Award for the most outstanding new building, and four Commendations.

Details as follows: (no particular order in awards or commendations categories):


Lord Congleton Award

Gold Hill, Tisbury

 The judges are not obliged to give the Lord Congleton Award, for an overall winner, but they had no difficulty in deciding that Gold Hill fully merited it. A quite exceptional degree of thought had clearly been put into it, from initial concept to detailed execution. Rather than a standard new house approach, what had emerged was a purpose-designed house of enormous character, set within gardens of outstanding quality. The adoption of a projecting Lutyens-style window as the focal point of the main outward-looking elevation, across a beautifully formulated sunken garden, was a master stroke, while the interior spaces were also of the highest quality, with many striking details. The house would clearly be a wonderful place to live in.

New Building Awards

Whaddon Barns, Alderbury

The buildings previously on the site, farm ones converted to light industrial use, were of no particular merit. The judges applauded the decision to create two houses in a new barn-type building on the existing footprint, to the extent of creating walls with a slight curve in them, lending a subtle extra character to the outcome. Appropriate materials had been used, with some sense of the former farmyard retained. The barn conversion concept had been carried through to the interior, with some full height spaces creating a sense of openness, and plenty of exposed timber. Energy efficiency had clearly been fully considered, and the judges felt that the creation of the two new houses, in an enhanced version of the utilitarian buildings previously on the site, was a significant achievement.

 Wyndham Place, Tisbury

 A speculative venture comprising a substantial number of varying buildings, and creating a new quarter of Tisbury, Wyndham Place still achieved the high standards the judges were looking for. Rather than looking like the average volume housebuilder’s estate, a lot of thought has gone into producing the appearance of organic growth typical of a large village. Both in layout and in the design and materials of individual buildings, exceptionally high standards had been reached.  There are good pedestrian links, and parked cars have not been allowed to dominate the scene. The commercial buildings near the entrance form an effective contrast. As a lesson to other, larger developers as to what could be achieved if the commitment was there, the estate clearly fully deserved an award.

Loft House, The Avenue, Tisbury

The judges’ first impression of this project was that the timber-clad jettied front to the street set out an immediate marker for something into which a lot of thought and care had gone, and this was backed up by everything they subsequently saw. The shop space downstairs made maximum use of natural light, and the brick floor, re-using material from the building previously on site, was a beautiful touch. Up the stairs, the clean modern lines of the upper rooms made for a very habitable space, with an external terrace being a major asset.  Everything on view indicated a well thought out design ethos underpinning the whole project, developed into nice details, and executed with skill by all those involved.

The Hedges West, Bulford

Hedges West might seem at first glance a fairly unremarkable riverside house picking up on barn patterns to be found in the area, with black-stained timber cladding and a slate roof, but a visit soon revealed the sophistication and cleverness behind an essentially simple design. The south elevation is the principal focus externally, with plenty of glazing to take advantage of sunlight. Internally, the east-west corridor on the south side is what ties the whole house together, with an extremely successful relationship between ground and first floors thanks to a full height space linking the two. Underpinning the basic concept was maximum energy efficiency, with minimal need for added heat sources. The clear delight of the owners in what the house had achieved for them was testament to its success.

New Building Commendations

Mathematics Building at Bishop Wordsworth’s School, Salisbury

The judges were aware that constraints of budget, and considerations caused by the school’s tight and awkward site, and its proximity to the cathedral, would limit the extent to which groundbreaking architecture was likely to be achievable, but they were impressed by the effect of this new block, which replaces a run-down wooden hut. Its principal elevation makes a dignified statement of function, with its alternation of brickwork and four zinc-faced bays, projecting above the eaves line and expressing the individual classrooms within. Internally, there are bright, clean spaces with generous ceiling heights, and good use made of splendid views of the cathedral.

Holmlea, Portland Avenue, Salisbury

Taking the place of a bungalow of little merit, Holmlea adds a contemporary note to a road of varying character. To the front, the projecting central bay lends a vertical emphasis, contrasting with the more spreading form of the rear. In both cases, white render and plenty of glass provide the key elements, with well-judged contrast from other materials like stone cladding. On the front elevation, the ample glazing creates a well-lit interior, with a full height space immediately inside, and the staircase set back from it, linking lower and upper floors in a very spacious way. Rooms were neatly arranged and designed to create a very habitable whole, with good advantage taken of views to the south. Good workmanship was on display throughout, fully justifying the decision to run this as a self-build project.

Lake House, Swallowcliffe

Traditional in its design approach, Lake House offers a fairly conventional late Georgian-type front to the village street not far away, with a relatively elaborate timber porch but otherwise quite restrained. At the rear, where a wonderful view out across a valley demands to be maximised, the style becomes more purpose-made, with three large sets of French windows taking up much of the ground floor, enabling a close relationship between the splendidly large kitchen and the landscape outside. The rest of the interior is equally well thought-out, with some nice detailing, The judges felt this was an excellent exercise in utilising a traditional approach without being slavishly bound by it, and a very habitable house had been the outcome.

Quarry House, Compton Chamberlayne

Unlike some slightly earlier new houses in the village, Quarry House reinstates traditional character by its position almost on the edge of the road, its use of local greensand for the front and half of the main flank elevation, and its adoption of a simple, well-proportioned Georgian style. Very similar houses, of the C18th, can be seen further up the street. Much more accommodation than is immediately apparent is achieved by extending back into the site, with good use made of the slope upwards away from the road. A well thought-out garden makes the most of the site, playing its part in a view across the house from the top of the bank behind it, which makes clear its achievement in contributing to the village.

Further Information


A photograph of all the Salisbury Civic Society New Buildings Awards Scheme 2017 award and commendation winners on the Guildhall stairs and of Gold Hill Tisbury are attached for editorial use. Other photographs are also available from Adrian Harris.


Neil Beagrie (SCS Publicity) – email neil@beagrie.com

Richard Deane (SCS Vice-Chairman and Awards Schemes) – email rdeane@madasafish.com