WhatHouse? Awards 2015 winners – City & Country Group, Best Renovation
Posted 8 December 2015 by Keith Osborne
With a long track record of award-winning developments already under their belt, it was perhaps no surprise that City & Country Group would scoop Gold for Best Renovation – but for the first time ever, the company managed to pick up two Golds for two separate schemes in the same category.
The unique achievement was down to the exceptional work done by the company at the King Edward VII Estate in Midhurst, West Sussex and at The General, a hospital conversion in Bristol.
David Walliams presented the prize at the 34th WhatHouse? Awards event in November, in front of 1,700 senior figures from the new homes industry, at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.
Helen Moore, managing director of City & Country Group, says: “We’re overjoyed to become the first housebuilder to win two separate Gold awards [in the same year] in the Best Renovation category. City & Country is the leading restoration expert in the UK and we are therefore passionate about breathing new life into often run down and redundant historic buildings; these awards recognise all of the painstaking work and effort that our team has carefully delivered to bring both King Edward VII Estate and The General back into long-term and beneficial use.
“Achieving the Silver award for Medium Housebuilder of the Year is also a fantastic achievement – meaning that City & Country has achieved either Gold or Silver status for seven consecutive years!”
The WhatHouse? Awards judges said of the company’s achievements:
[of the King Edward VII Estate]: “The design for the hospital and its grounds was undertaken by an important triumvirate of the day: Charles Holden, Percy Adams and Gertrude Jekyll – a partnership linked to the Arts & Crafts movement. The work undertaken by City & Country is an exemplar of how, through thoughtful design and attention to detail, old buildings can be adapted without compromising the original designer’s aims.
“Poorly executed later additions have been carefully stripped away to reintroduce the original feelings of space and light. Specialist craftspeople have been involved throughout, repairing intricate ceiling plasterwork, stonework, flooring, wall panelling and fireplaces while light fittings have been painstakingly replicated.”
[of The General]: “The company can tackle a complex urban project with just as much panache as those in more rural locations. When complete, the renovation and conversion of the landmark Grade II listed Bristol General Hospital will provide 205 one- to four-bedroom apartments and houses, together with a collection of waterfront commercial units.
The historic details have been well understood and, with the help of skilled craftspeople and the use of appropriate materials, careful renovation has been undertaken, including the overhaul of original windows and stone repairs.
Notable is the reinstatement of the internal courtyard. An even greater challenge, successfully met, is the division of the buildings so the interiors work as homes and communal spaces, adding a new layer of history while maintaining readability of the retained fabric.”