ctd architects have been shortlisted in the 2019 RIBA West Midlands Awards for the Grand Garden Conservatory at Alton Towers Resort. We are proud to be one of the 15 finalists shortlisted in the 2019 Awards.
The annual ceremony recognises buildings across the region of exceptional architectural merit with winners taking the first step towards the coveted Stirling Prize later this year.
The Grade II* Listed ‘Grand’ Garden Conservatory dates from c.1820. Designed for the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury by Robert Abraham. A single-storey sandstone ashlar building consisting of three pavilions with seven gilded cast iron domes, connected by colonnaded ‘loggia’, with glazed timber ‘French’ windows. It is arguably the most impressive feature of the gardens and pre-dates the arrival of A W Pugin in 1837 and is considered one of the best surviving conservatories of the period.
The approach to repairing the ‘Grand’ Garden Conservatory was principally to ‘mend’ and conserve the existing surviving historic fabric and also to un-pick previous poorly informed repair and maintenance works, through the repair of the sandstone ashlar masonry and cast iron structure; the repair, overhaul & replacement of glazed timber windows and doors; the repair, overhaul & replacement of cast ironwork to the nine variously-shaped domed roofs and roof glazing, and the gilding of the nine pineapple finials; complete re-decoration; repairing & replacing leadwork; replacement cast iron rainwater goods; and repairing floor tiles, internal stone planting beds & fountain features, etc.
Traditional masonry repair works using locally-sourced White Hollington sandstone and lime mortars, along with bespoke traditional cast iron repairs and castings, and splice repairing decayed timber windows and doors ensured only the minimal of intervention. A local traditional clay pressed-tile manufacturer was approached and he resurrected his skills and machinery to produce replacement floor tiles and decorative encaustic ‘Minton’ tiles.
Visitors to the theme park were kept up-to date with the progress of the works, which took 12 months to complete from January to December 2017.
RIBA West Midlands director Deborah Walsh said: “I am delighted these 15 buildings have been shortlisted for our 2019 awards and I congratulate the architects, clients and contractors who worked to produce such remarkable schemes.
“This incredible variety of projects are a testament to the imagination, talent, innovation and ingenuity not just of the architects but all those involved.
“They demonstrate the vision of the West Midlands to respond to today’s challenges and design for the future, whilst where appropriate, respecting the past.”
All shortlisted buildings will be assessed by a jury with the winning buildings announced at a ceremony at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on May 17.
All regional winners will be considered for a national award, to be announced in June, from which the shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize will be drawn.