Best Creative Reuse of an Industrial Building

Striking a balance between old and new

These awards are for building conversions that strike that tricky balance between the practicality of their new function and the readability of their old.

The Association believes that Creative re-use of former factories and other buildings is an effective way to convey the importance of the industrial revolution in the United Kingdom.

By celebrating and publicising good examples of conversion, we are confident that developers, planners, trusts and businesses will be encouraged to take up the challenge.

The closing date is 31st May each year.

Download:    Award Criteria    Application Form (pdf)    Application Form (docx)


Creative Re-use Award, 2019

This year’s award has gone to The Engine Shed, University of Northampton Students’ Union. It is a Grade II listed building and had been unused for over 15 years. The project has ensured a viable, and productive use for the Engine Shed as the new Students’ Union, an iconic element of the Waterside Campus site of the University of Northampton. The Midland Railway operated the building as a running shed to service steam locomotives on the Northampton to Bedford Line. In the early 1920’s the LMS used it as a workshop. In the 1960’s it was altered to become a welding workshop, then a Welding School for British Rail Engineering. In 1998 it closed and remained empty and vandalised until bought by the University in 2014.

In particular the judges noted that the new use of the building means that it will now have a viable long term use as a multi-purpose building for the Students Union. There is a café and a multi-use space. Outside the building there is an interpretation panel and there is also a history time line and a video loop showing a 3D computer model of the Engine Shed in its heyday as a loco shed, so the story of the site is well-told.

In particular it was noted that the project had been designed to take into account climate change and included such features as additional insulation in the roof, high efficiency heat recovery, low energy lighting, and water saving fittings had been installed. The majority of heating is provided using localised heat emitters rather than relying on the mechanical ventilation to minimise fan energy consumption out of occupied hours. The Engine Shed is connected to a campus-wide biomass heating system.

The project was funded by the University of Northampton (£3.8 million) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (£1.3 million) and the Design team included Purcell architects for Heritage and Conservation; Moses Cameron Williams as Master Planner and Architect; Project Management was by Mace;   Smith & Wallwork were the Civil/Structural Engineers; Land Use Consultants were the Landscape Architect & Ecologist, the approved inspector was Approved Design Consultancy; and the building contractor was Bowmer and Kirkland.

( More details and pictures to follow )

Click on a link below to read about:

2015 Awards

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Fairfield Shipyard Drawing Offices Award presentation

2016 Awards

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