Winner of IHBC’s 2009 Gus Astley Student Award

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), the key professional body for built and historic environment conservation specialists, has announced the winner of its 2009 IHBC Gus Astley Annual Student Award.  This is the major award for the sector.

The judge, Dr Roger Bowdler, English Heritage’s Head of Designation, chose Emma Speers, formerly at Edinburgh College of Art, as the 2009 winner.

Emma’s work covered energy issues in Northern Ireland’s vernacular buildings.  Dr Bowdler highlighted ‘the fluency of its discussion of the most pressing of topics – sustainability and the need to make better use of our inherited building stock.’

Seán O’Reilly, IHBC Director, said: “Topics for the 2009 award were as ever very diverse, ranging from radical engineered interventions to detailed historical studies. They show the strength of the UK’s substantial, but unsung, global lead in educating those shaping the future of our historic places. We are delighted with the quality of all the work, and that the winners can join in the IHBC’s 2010 ‘School’ in London this June, the leading training opportunity in our field.”

Bob Kindred, on behalf of the Gus Astley Trustees, said: “It is heartening, at a challenging time for conservation education, that there are so many committed and talented graduates. This would have given Gus, in whose honour we make the award, great delight and satisfaction.”

Kate Walker, Ironbridge Institute, received a Special Commendation for a conservation plan for a former pottery works area in North Staffordshire.  Commendations went to Zoe Kemp (Leeds Metropolitan University), on conservation-led regeneration, and to Alexandra Reddaway and Georgina Hayes for two engineering studies from the University of Edinburgh exploring new roofing systems for historic buildings.

Notes for editors: The IHBC’s Annual Student Award is inspired by the memory of Gus Astley, former Membership Secretary of the IHBC.  Entrants simply submit relevant course work; submission date for 2010 Awards is 31 July 2010.  For the Awards and the IHBC’s Annual School see
Queries: Seán O’Reilly: (0131) 5583671;

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