Witherford Watson Mann’s opera house, built within a stable yard at the Grade I-listed Nevill Holt Hall in Leicestershire, has been named RIBA East Midlands best building of 2019
The £5.1 million scheme by the 2013 Stirling Prize-winning practice was one of eight buildings to take home regional awards in the area which covers Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
Designed with heritage specialist Julian Harrap Architects, the 816m² project also received the region’s conservation award (see full list of special awards at bottom).
The jury said: ‘The Nevill Holt Opera Building is, at first interaction, a non-building, wholly hidden within the stable yard of the hall’s stable block.
‘This is a project that looks effortless, yet we all know that this belies the truth. The modesty, craftsmanship, care and attention that have been applied here are exceptional. Country houses continually evolve, being added to over time; the opera building is an exceptional 21st-century addition to Nevill Holt Hall.’
The other regional winners included a roadside sculpture by Tonkin Liu and a family home and deer farm in rural Northamptonshire by James Gorst Architects.
Regional jury chair, Colin McColl said: ‘[The] jury felt that each winner, on their own merits, challenged and moved the regional debate forward as to how architecture and the process of rigorously delivered good design matters at all scales and should, positively influence individuals, organisations and entire communities.’
The region’s eight award winners were chosen from a shortlist of 12, announced in March. They will now be considered for RIBA National Awards, with the successful recipients announced in June. Those collecting national awards will then be put forward for the RIBA Stirling Prize.
The winners were announced at an awards evening at Nottingham Trent University last Thursday (9 May).
Brackley Town Hall, Northamptonshire, Haverstock
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Source: Tom Pengilley
Dancing Flowers of Doe Lea, Derbyshire, Tonkin Liu
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Source: Tonkin Liu
Hannington Farm, Northamptonshire, James Gorst Architects
Hannington farm 3225 ståle eriksen pressimage 2
Source: Ståle Eriksen
Heart for Hathersage, Derbyshire, Architect Studio Gedye with Ares
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Source: Simon Bull
Nevill Holt Opera, Leicestershire, Witherford Watson Mann
Nevill holt opera 3237 hélène binet pressimage 3
Source: Hélène Binet
Northampton International Academy, Architecture Initiative
Northampton internat 3010 luke hayes pressimage 5
Source: Luke Hayes
Stackyard, Derbyshire, James Boon Architects
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Source: James Boon
Teaching and Learning Building, University of Nottingham, Make Architects
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Source: Martine Hamilton Knight
RIBA Regional Special Awards winners
• RIBA East Midlands Sustainability Award, sponsored by Michelmersh: Teaching and Learning Building, University of Nottingham, by Make
• RIBA East Midlands Conservation Award: Nevill Holt Opera by Witherford Watson Mann
• RIBA East Midlands Small Project Award: Dancing Flowers of Doe Lea by Tonkin Liu
• RIBA East Midlands Client of the Year: Hathersage Parish Council for Heart for Hathersage
• RIBA East Midlands Project Architect of the Year, sponsored by Taylor Maxwell: Simon Gedye of Architect Studio Gedye for Heart for Hathersage
• RIBA East Midlands Building of the Year: Nevill Holt Opera