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Awards recognise the best in stonework

15 December 2000

There were 270 people at the Shaw Park Plazo Hotel in London in November to see the Portland limestone building at the East end of the Guildhall Yard win the Millennium Natural Stone Award for New Build.

The Awards presentation and lunch was being held for the first time in the comfortable surroundings of the Shaw Park Plaza, one of London\'s newest hotels.

Normally presented every two years, the Stone Federation, who run the Awards, decided to postpone last year\'s event so the presentations could take place in year 2000.

The New Build Award winner was a stunning design by architect Dick Gilbert Scott of W S Atkins, incorporating loadbearing stone from the ground up to the large cornices.

The judges - four architects advised by Eric Brookes MBE of Chichester Stone Ltd - were looking at the execution of the stonework as well as the design in their deliberations and found the craftsmanship of Easton Masonry Co (Portland) well worthy of the Award.

There were five categories in the Awards scheme, including a new category for slate now that the British Slate Association is part of Stone Federation. Winner in the new category was a Burlington Slate Brandy Craig stair at Windsor Castle laid by J Joslin.

The Restoration Award went to Senate House, Cambridge, where Rattee & Kett were the contractors using Portland Whitbed. In Landscaping it was Sheffield City Council\'s Heart of the City project that took the honours. In Interiors CWO\'s execution of a design by Liam O\'Connor Architects in a private residence won the Award.

The judges said they were aware they should not make an award if there were no projects good enough, but far from finding a lack of quality they praised the continued improvement in both design and craftsmanship.

In fact, when it came to the Craftsmanship Award they could not decide whether Ketton Architectural Stone\'s Southwark Gateway in London or The Cardozo-Kindersley Workshop\'s sundial in Cambridge should win, so they decided to split the Award.

The presentations were made by Pam Alexander of English Heritage who, before handing over the Awards, said she was pleased to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Stone Federation on issues concerning the conservation of England\'s built heritage. Stone provides a vernacular footprint of the British Isles, she said.

She announced that on 14 December there would be published the Heritage Strategy Review concerning issues such as skills and partnering and the overriding importance of our everyday surroundings.

Since 1992, she said, English Heritage had invested £750,000 on the study of stone decay and cleaning. Next year they would be working once again with Derbyshire County Council and the Peak Park Authority to revive the stone roofing industry.

English Heritage had made representations to the Government to stop important dimensional stone quarries being used for landfill, depriving future generations of the stone. They were also making the case in favour of quarrying in an attempt to ensure the importance of the natural environment is not exaggerated.

The Heritage Strategy Review would, she said, discuss how the importance of the built environment could be recognised and protected.

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