1999 Architectural Award

Last year it was a stately home, this year two modest 19th century townhouses. The Trust Commendation for 1999 has been given in recognition of the extension and internal reorganising of two inner city houses in WaddingtonStreet. It is the home of the WaddingtonStreet Day Centre which, since its beginning in the adjacent hall of the United Reformed Church, has provided a welcoming space for those recovering from mental ill-health. The aim of the centre is to encourage them “to be able to achieve a level of personal fulfilment in order that they can achieve a sense of their own worth”.

No 3 Waddington St was purchased for a ‘drop-in’ centre in 1988; No 2 was purchased in 1994; three years later a successful bid was made to the Lottery Board, providing the basis for today’s highly successful and worthwhile operation. The extended unit was officially opened early in 1999.

The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs, taken 2 by the Waddington Street Centre itself, clearly show how the streetscape has been given added coherence and interest, and how the additional storey has given balanced dignity to the architecture of the enlarged unit.

Use of matching , second-hand bricks, complete repointing, reuse of the roofing slates, the treatment of the second-floor windows and provision of a low capped front wall with unfussy railings, all mean that it takes a lingering eye to begin to detect the earlier form of the buildings. The only jarring element is a prominently-positioned gas-meter cover. A coat of paint matching the brick would largely ‘hide’ it. To the rear, a two-storey extension across the length of the unit is a pleasingly simple and effective use of backland space,

The architect for the scheme was Durham-based Brian Ashdown who has wide experience of housing projects; the main contractor was Roderick Brown Construction of Fencehouses.

Commendation for craftsmanship

Completion of the rebuilding of the north-east turret of the Nine Altars chapel was taken as the opportunity to observe in detail the conservation of the whole of the east end of the cathedral. As an ongoing work it is all too easy to take it for granted; parts anyway are hardly visible to the human eye. Yet the exterior of the 800 year-old building owes its present condition to a long line of dedicated cathedral architects and their team of skilled stonemasons. Their work does not fit naturally into our architectural scrutiny but Trustees wished to make special recognition through a separate commendation for craftsmanship: unique recognition for unique work.

See Bulletin 46, January 2000, for details of this building and other candidates for the award.