Guernsey is currently enjoying a renaissance in architecture. The island has always had a wealth of beautiful buildings from traditional fishermen’s cottages and ancient granite farmhouses to Victorian terraces and splendid Georgian mansions but it is now also seeing a surge in ground-breaking contemporary designs and, in addition to sympathetic renovations and conversions, the construction industry is pushing the boundaries in terms of energy efficient and sustainable developments and public projects that combine accessibility and aesthetics.
The Guernsey Design Awards seek to recognise the exemplary work that goes into these projects and enhances the island’s built environment.
The awards are a joint project between The States of Guernsey Environment Department (Guernsey’s planning authority), The Guernsey Society of Architects, and Norman Piette – Guernsey’s leading builders’ merchant.
Norman Piette are also the main sponsors of the event and have added an award of their own as Managing Director Clive Fenner explained:
“The Guernsey Design Awards are a great way to celebrate both the architectural and construction industries in Guernsey and recognising excellence in these fields fits perfectly with what Norman Piette stands for.
“We work closely with architects and offer seminars on the latest construction techniques that we hope will help them to find ever more imaginative ways to push materials to their limits. Equally though, we are at heart a supplier to the local building industry and we felt strongly that recognition was due to the contractors who realised the architects’ visions.
“So, in addition to the overall winner voted for by a panel of experts, this year sees the inauguration of the Norman Piette Contractors Award, which will reward excellence in construction.”
Entries were invited from projects that could include:
• New buildings • Extensions and alterations • Public realm projects • Designed landscapes • Works to protected buildings and monuments • Infrastructure works • Restoration projects • Lighting schemes • Public art projects • Conversion and refurbishment
Judges were tasked to consider the overall quality of design, use of materials, relationship to setting, sustainability and how well the project met the needs of the client, including any improvements brought about to lifestyle.
A total of nearly 50 local projects were nominated and the judging panel of professionals had a tough time whittling them down to just 11 shortlisted entries. The shortlist is very varied featuring everything from a sports pavilion to farmhouses or modern family homes to the Town church, but all of the entries are outstanding examples of their type.
In addition to the overall winner and the Norman Piette Contractors Award, this year for the first time the awards feature a People’s Choice Award, where the community can decide on their winner and it will be very interesting to see how this develops, as Clive explained:
“Guernsey is quite polarised when it come to architecture, on the one hand we have architects and their clients who have embraced contemporary design and construction but on the other we have do have some die-hard traditionalists.
“With the range of projects on the shortlist it’s impossible to tell which way the community as a whole will vote. Certainly there’s been some serious canvassing from both sides!”
The Norman Piette Contractors Award, the overall winner and commendations, as determined by the Design Awards judging panel and the People’s Choice award, as determined by the residents of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, will be revealed at an Awards Ceremony on the 11th May 2012.