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Hertfordshire County Council

Sustainability, innovation and design excellence

Since 2009, the Hertfordshire Building Futures Awards have celebrated schemes at the forefront of sustainable design and construction, demonstrating a shared commitment to sustainable development in Hertfordshire by both the industry and local authorities.

View the awards night photo gallery

Sponsored by Willmott Dixon Construction Limited

The winner of the Most Sustainable Construction award is...

Cassiobury park2 594x396

A single storey steel frame building which sits on a concrete podium, The Cassiobury Hub is an elegant, central destination point that sits within the landscape rather than on it. Designed to have minimal energy consumption, the building is orientated to take full advantage of the sun and has been built with robust materials, maximising insulation and using energy generated by solar panels alone. A rainwater-harvesting tank collects water, and a low energy air-source pump maintains a constant temperature, ensuring high performance for energy conservation.

The judges said:

“An outstanding example of how modern sustainable construction can be provided simply.

The social sustainability aspects of The Hub are particularly noteworthy, having resulted in the sensitive regeneration of an important area of Cassiobury Park, by providing an area for healthy outdoor play and recreation for generations to come.”

Highly commended:

University of Hertfordshire, New Science Building, Hatfield

University of Hertfordshire 860x922The New Science Building at the University of Hertfordshire is an orthogonal rectangular, 5 storey building, which brings together facilities for students, visitors and researchers. The £37m development is a 9,000m2 purpose-built building, with column-free teaching spaces and an internal grid, which delivers the most efficient workspaces possible and maximises daylight. Multiple energy efficient systems including solar panels, combined heat and power boilers, smart ventilation and cladding with mesh fins, ensure energy consumption is kept to a minimum.

The judges said:

“An excellent example of how the design and construction teams have worked together to create an ideal environment for learning and research.”

Sponsored by MHA MacIntyre Hudson

The winner of the Retrofit for the Future award is...

St Albans museum and gallery 1540x935The historic St Albans Museum and Gallery underwent extensive refurbishment and redevelopment to maximise the functionality of the building and reduce energy usage, whilst retaining and enhancing its historic features. The Grade II* listed building now boasts extra space through a new, extended basement gallery and glazed links on the first floor which connect the front and the back of the building. Underfloor heating, insulation, LED lighting and central controls significantly improve energy efficiency, with secondary glazing delivering annual savings of 19,5000kWh. Changes to the central stair area significantly improves access to all levels, all resulting in a transformation of this iconic building at the heart of St Albans. The result is a world-class cultural hub which provides a platform to show contemporary arts to its visitors, whilst enhancing cultural life in the city.

The judges said:

“The rescue and restoration of this landmark Grade II* building has been carried out impressively, cleverly increasing the useable space while retaining the original features.”

Highly commended:

Appletree Farmhouse, Chorleywood Common

Appletree farmhouse 1621x1141Apple Tree Farmhouse is a Grade II listed building situated on the edge of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Following an extensive 4 year sympathetic refurbishment and redevelopment, underpinned by conservation-led repair techniques, the building has been given a new lease of life. Medieval features were uncovered whilst using like-for-like repairs wherever possible. Environmental conditions improved at every opportunity, including a 30% reduction in energy bills due to sheep wool insulation being installed throughout. The result is a beautiful and comfortable building with carefully conserved areas that will be enjoyed by future generations for many years to come.

The judges said:

“A masterclass in striking an appropriate balance between preserving the historic aspects of a building, whilst creating a modern and energy efficient home.”

Sponsored by Places for People

The winner of the Design Excellence award is...

Garden avenue 1523x947Garden Avenue and Furzen Crescent in Hatfield, which were previously council owned garage sites, have been extensively redeveloped to provide 22 new flats and 7 new houses as part of the first Council Housing scheme in the borough for 25 years. Adopting a ‘mews’ approach, the developments combine an established, traditional typology with a contemporary feel. Stylish, practical and energy efficient, meeting current best practice standards and the enhanced HQI spatial standards and Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, the developments are traditional, creating simple forms with good proportions and considered detailing.

The judges said:

"The quality of design and thought sets a precedent for council development, showing what a pared down functional play on traditional forms can achieve. Small is beautiful."

Highly commended:

29 Firs Walk, Tewin

Firs Walk 1071x75829 Firs Walk, Tewin is a 4 bedroom house with a relatively low-key façade that blends into its woodland setting. Beneath this façade, the development boasts maximum floor plate in both length and breadth, and is constructed of 3 adjoining rectangles of differing height, centred round a central spine consisting of hallway, utility, library and study. Formerly a dilapidated bungalow, 29 Firs Walk has increased to 3 rooms in depth, with the living area taking double volume space. With natural ventilation, wet underfloor heating system and single ply membrane roof, this family house showcases the surrounding environment whilst offering comfortable, large open plan living spaces.

The judges said:

“This is a unique design statement and an excellent response to the site and its constraints.”

The Reserve, Waltham Cross

The reserve 1560x945The Reserve, a Higgins Homes development in Waltham Cross, is a mix of 90 contemporary 3, 4 and 5 bedroom houses surrounded by landscaped green areas to form part of a new gateway into Lea Valley Regional Park. The development has a crisp, clean Scandinavian feel, with steep gables, generously proportioned upright windows and weatherboarding. The overall look takes the town’s traditional architecture and gives it an elegant, modern twist.

The judges said:

“A good contemporary take on a traditional form that sets a high design bar for new housing. An exemplar."

Sponsored by BRE Group

The winner of the Project of the Year award is...

Cassiobury park 598x310A single storey steel frame building which sits on a concrete podium, The Cassiobury Hub is an elegant, central destination point that sits within the landscape rather than on it. Designed to have minimal energy consumption, the building is orientated to take full advantage of the sun and has been built with robust materials, maximising insulation and using energy generated by solar panels alone. A rainwater-harvesting tank collects water, and a low energy air-source pump maintains a constant temperature, ensuring high performance for energy conservation.

The judges said:

"This public building has had a significant positive impact on the Park. People love it. Good design and some clever thinking has created a park with its own distinctive character."

Special Conservation Award:

St Albans Cathedral

St albans cathedral 1552x1078St Albans Cathedral and Abbey has undergone a 17-year programme of repair, conservation and adaptation. This iconic building has been adapted in a sustainable manner to ensure equal access throughout via ramping and repaving the whole forecourt and west porch along with the installation of platform lifts. Externally, the medieval masonry has been repaired, repointed and shelter-coated, and the stonework has been cleaned and conserved. Internally, a new nave platform and furniture have been constructed and the uniquely important series of medieval fabrics and paintings have been cleaned and conserved. The building’s carbon footprint has also been dramatically reduced through improved draft lobbies, re-leaded stained glass windows, low energy light fittings and condensing boilers.

The judges said:

“The contribution of the architect to the repair and conservation of the building over the last 18 years has uplifted this iconic building and its spirit, creating a lasting legacy for the city.”

Highly commended:

St Albans Museum and Gallery

St Albans museum and gallery 1540x935The historic St Albans Museum and Gallery underwent extensive refurbishment and redevelopment to maximise the functionality of the building and reduce energy usage, whilst retaining and enhancing its historic features. The Grade II* listed building now boasts extra space through a new, extended basement gallery and glazed links on the first floor which connect the front and the back of the building. Underfloor heating, insulation, LED lighting and central controls significantly improve energy efficiency, with secondary glazing delivering annual savings of 19,5000kWh. Changes to the central stair area significantly improves access to all levels, all resulting in a transformation of this iconic building at the heart of St Albans.
The result is a world-class cultural hub which provides a platform to show contemporary arts to its visitors, whilst enhancing cultural life in the city.

The judges said:

“The renovation and adaptation of the 1831 Town Hall and Courtroom has provided St Albans with a new cultural destination and a focus around which the Council can promote the historical significance of St Albans countrywide.”

The awards recognise projects that demonstrate sustainability, innovation and high quality construction and design in response to environmental challenges.

A diverse range of entries were nominated across our 4 award categories.

  • 29 Firs Walk – replacement dwelling – IDL Architecture
  • Artworks, Hitchin – residential development – Stride Treglown
  • Cassiobury Park Hub Building, Watford – multi-purpose community building – Knox Bhavan Architects
  • Garden Avenue / Furzen Crescent, Hatfield – new affordable homes – Rock Townsend
  • Tudor Way, Hertford – residential development – Alan Camp Architects
  • University of Hertfordshire, New Science Building – New research and teaching facility – Sheppard Robson
  • The Deerings, Harpenden - Passivhaus new dwelling - Gresford Architects
  • The Reserve, Waltham Cross – residential development – Fourpoint Architecture

Sponsored by Places for People

  • Cassiobury Park Hub Building, Watford – multi-purpose community building – Knox Bhavan Architects
  • Johnson Court, West Dene - Passivhaus rural affordable housing – DP Architects
  • University of Hertfordshire, New Science Building – New research and teaching facility – Sheppard Robson
  • The Deerings, Harpenden - Passivhaus new dwelling - Gresford Architects

Sponsored by Willmott Dixon Construction Limited

  • St Albans Museum and Gallery – Renovation and adaptation of Grade II listed building - St Albans City & District Council
  • Apple Tree Farmhouse, Chorleywood Common – conservation-led renovation of Grade II listed building - Roger Mears Architects

Sponsored by MHA MacIntyre Hudson

  • St Albans Museum and Gallery – Renovation and adaptation of Grade II listed building - St Albans City & District Council
  • St Albans Cathedral – repair, conservation and adaptation – Richard Griffiths Architects
  • Cassiobury Park Hub Building, Watford – multi-purpose community building – Knox Bhavan Architects

Sponsored by BRE Group

Who are the judges?

Colin HealStaff pics - Colin 1

Director of ZEHo Projects Ltd., a sustainable project management consultancy

Colin’s passion for sustainability has developed throughout his career, working for both small and large contractors and consultancies.

He was part of the London 2012 Olympics’ delivery team, in which the importance of ‘legacy’ was behind every decision, from design, to planning and construction methodologies. 

After the government back tracked on their requirement that every new house built after 2016 be zero carbon, Colin set out to demonstrate that sustainability was relatively simple and affordable. In 2014, he and his wife started a project to build a sustainable, zero carbon home.

As a result, Colin won the 2016 Building Futures Award for the Most Sustainable Building Project.

This award validated the philosophy for the project and led to the formation of ZEHo Projects Ltd. Projects to date have varied, from initial advice on improving the carbon footprint of existing properties, to a £25m BREEAM Excellent refurbishment and extension to an office building constructed in cross laminated timber.  

David JenningsBFA15 David Jennings, Headshot 231015

Design Director at award winning practice EPR Architects

David has over 30 years experience as a Chartered Architect (RIBA) specialising in redevelopment in sensitive historical environments and listed buildings.

He has worked for a number of high profile architects including 11 years with James Stirling where he worked on the Stirling prize winning Stuttgart Music School and was team leader on the RIBA award winning Tate Liverpool.

At EPR David was responsible for designing Cardinal Place and creating a public realm and retail strategy that won the BCSC Gold Metal 2006 and the IAS/OAS office building of the year. David is currently overseeing the conversion of Lutyens Grade I listed former Midland Bank Building in the City of London into a luxury hotel for Soho House.

David sits on the Hertfordshire Design Review Panel, the committee of the Westminster Society reviewing major applications and has been a Civic Trust Awards Assessor for many years.

Jon Rowlandjon rowland

Director of Jon Rowland Urban Design Ltd.

Jon Rowland is a registered architect and urban designer. Areas of expertise include urban design and masterplanning; regeneration and urban renewal; development strategies; design advice and training nationally and internationally.

Projects include: award winning Telford Millennium Community; short-listed Cottam Hall in Preston, Stranraer Waterfront, and Temple Quay in Bristol. Other masterplans, spatial and urban design strategies include: completion of Frederick Gibberd's 1970 plan for Harlow, Culham Science Centre for UK Atomic Energy Authority; a coastal infrastructure masterplan for Rhosneigr; Urban Design Framework for Colindale for the Greater London Authority; spatial plans for Central Oxfordshire and Partnership for Urban South Hampshire. These are complex projects and Jon works with interdisciplinary teams to provide an integrated approach.

Jon is a Chair of CABE’s Design Review Panel. He has lectured extensively, is past Chair of the Urban Design Group, and was co-editor of Urban Design Futures (2006). He is a member of the Academy of Urbanism, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and part of Urbed's team which won the Wolfson Economic Prize on Garden Cities.

Dr. David Strongdavid strong

Internationally recognised expert in sustainable building design and refurbishment and Director of David Strong Consulting Ltd.

Dr. David Strong has a wealth of knowledge about low/zero carbon buildings and is a specialist in whole system thinking, building physics and integrative design. His interest is in eco-minimalism and bio-mimicry –exploiting and optimising the use of natural systems for heating, cooling, ventilating and illuminating buildings. He also has expertise in the integration of renewable energy systems in the built environment, combined heat and power and district heating.

He was Managing Director of BRE Environment (1998 -2007) and Chief Executive of Inbuilt Consulting Ltd (2007 - 2010). He is currently a Visiting Professor at the University of Nottingham Department of Architecture and Built Environment and at the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development. He was previously Chairman of the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Buildings. David was responsible for establishing the UK Green Building Council and was awarded the Building Sustainability Leadership Award in 2007.

In 2017 David's book ‘A Whole System Approach to High-Performance Green Buildings’ was published. 

The Building Futures Partnership are grateful to all of the award sponsors for their generous support.

Our headline sponsor, Hertfordshire Building Control, are owned by seven of Hertfordshire's local authorities and carry out services on their behalf. They ensure that all profit is returned to the authorities and invested back into local communities.

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