Double success for KLH at RIBA Suffolk annual Craftsmanship Awards 20221

This annual competition is a celebration of the quality and expertise of Suffolk craftsmen and women who demonstrate their skills on construction projects across the county. Results confirm that the traditional skills of bricklaying, carpentry, joinery, plastering, roof tiling, and internal finishing are very much alive and well throughout the Suffolk construction industry.

Nominations are received from Architects, Contractors and Clients, all of whom are proud to show off their completed projects to the adjudication team, to allow the details to be inspected and for comparisons to be made.

Projects are divided into four categories:

  1. New Buildings
  2. Alterations & Extensions
  3. Restorations
  4. Individual Craftsmanship

Typically between 40 and 50 nominations are received each year.

KLH Architects had a successful year returning home with two awards for Unitarian Meeting House and The Mirage, a residential project in Constitution Hill. The details of the awards are as follows…

RIBA Suffolk Annual Craftsmanship Awards


Category C – Restoration

  • Award: Unitarian Meeting House
  • Architect: Stuart Edgar, KLH Architects
  • Contractor: F A Valiant & Sons, with a particular mention to the site foreman Mark Francis who worked on, usually alone during the Covid crisis
  • Plasterwork and Rendering: G Cook & Sons Ltd
  • Master Plasterer: Nigel Davies

Judge’s Comment:

“This was an interesting project on an important historical building in the centre of Ipswich. Built 320 years ago for the princely sum of £350 (on land costing an additional £150)

Last years repairs were in excess of three-quarters of a million pounds, but don’t go looking for changes, the work has been successfully incorporated into the existing fabric such that, not only does it not show externally or internally, it shouldn’t deteriorate for another century.

Actually a close inspection of the building will reveal a new roof covering, repairs to the original leaded glass windows and the convenience of a new toilet.

Most important was the removal of the external cement render, replaced with historically accurate lime render. Ground levels were changed such that the paving at the front of the building is now lower than the internal floor (with a level threshold to meet access requirements). I commend Stuart Edgar and the team at KLH for a superb, but very subtle project.”

Category A – Residential

  • Award of Distinction: Mirage, Constitution Hill, Ipswich
  • Architect: Martyn Goodwin, KLH Architects
  • Contractor: Ben Allen, Birch Homes
  • Client: Mr & Mrs Jeremy Goddard
  • Special Mention to: Windows Etc. Colchester

Judge’s Comment:

“This wasn’t the first design for a new house on this important, perhaps unique site. It wasn’t the first application to appear in the Local Authority Planning Office. The demands of the client who effectively wanted an art gallery as well as a new home. Early layouts were, perhaps a little too ostentatious.

I refer to the site at the top of the sheep meadow off Valley Road, a site with an open vista beyond the bypass to open countryside. Having rejected the first couple of proposals the client appointed KLH to design a townhouse worthy of its prime position whilst at the same time having the right internal spaces for their requirements.

The composition responds to the established genteel Edwardian character of Constitution Hill with a quiet contemporary order. It does however display a quality that wasn’t easily achieved – with various trades having to return to site to ‘improve’ their finished product.

Ben Allen and his team have achieved a very high standard, not least because of the difficulties of working through the pandemic. My congratulations to Birch Homes for this project, they deserve the accolade.”