We are proud to be the main sponsor of this year's Civic Trust Awards ceremony on 1st March at the Imperial War Museum in Manchester. Like us, the Civic Trust Awards are celebrating a milestone anniversary in 2019, as they turn 60.
Last October, Sir Robert McAlpine’s Communications Manager, Arnaud Pellé, joined two volunteer Civic Trust Awards assessors as they went to score one of the London sites. Here, he shares his experience.
I meet the two assessors just before lunchtime on a very windy morning at a very high-end residential development on London’s South Bank. The unobstructed view of the London skyline across the Thames is truly spectacular. The two assessors, an Architect and an Inclusive Design Consultant, both come equipped with a sharp sense of observation, a passion for the built environment, and a long list of questions for the scheme representative who is going to show us around.
We have only an hour until their next assessment, so they dive straight in. We are sat in one of the local cafes, with the drawings of the development spread in front of us. They go about each detail with remarkable precision, asking question after question about the development, gauging how it is being used by the residents, but also by the public. The scheme is situated near a touristic landmark and needs to interact positively with the flow of visitors that abound in the area.
I notice that both assessors complement each other well in their approach and their specific areas of expertise. They tell me that they have been volunteers for a few years now, and they have already had the opportunity to review schemes together previously. Whilst one chooses to review the information and drawings before the visit, the other prefers to leave this part until they have had a chance to tour the site to avoid preconceived ideas. Very little escapes their scrutiny, and they give the project’s spokesperson a gentle, yet thorough, grilling about every aspect of the development. Once we have discussed general and specifics of the site, we set off on the official visit. As they continue the inspection, the assessors pay particular attention to accessibility in all the public and private areas.
In just an hour, I have learned a great deal about what it takes for a project to make the finalists’ shortlists. The two assessors have won me over with their passion and their genuine commitment to recognising buildings that celebrate how the built environment can really improve the quality of life for everyone and leave legacies the generations to come. It is truly inspiring to think that over 700 volunteers lend their time each year to review these fantastic projects.
Every entry submission has its merits, but every finalist truly stands out as a development that makes a positive impact.
Wishing all finalists the very best of luck. The ceremony takes place at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester on Friday 1st March 2019.
To find out how you can get involved in the assessment process next year, visit the Civic Trust Awards website.