IHBC Gus Astley Student Awards 2014: 6 prizewinners!

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The IHBC is delighted to announce the winner of the IHBC Gus Astley Student Awards for 2014 as Cambridge student Sarah Hendriks, for her exploration of ‘Spaces for Secular Music Performance in Seventeenth-Century England’, one of 6 entrants selected by our judge, Professor Jukka Jokilehto, to win cash prizes and offers of places at the IHBC’s 2015 Annual School in Norwich in June.

In a tight competition with nearly 40 submissions of remarkably high quality and consistency, Professor Jokilehto – a keynote speaker at the IHBC’s 2014 School in Edinburgh – offered awards, commendations and special mentions to an unprecedented 6 entrants.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘This year, remarkably, about 15% of entrants gained places at our School, each one entirely deserved.  And it’s fair to say too that as the standard was so remarkably high that many of the other entrants were ‘near misses’ for awards too.’

‘But we should not be too surprised that our prestigious annual Gus Astley Award has such a high standard, even though the submissions are self-selected.  It reflects the special quality niche the IHBC holds in the world of conservation and the historic environment.  Those truly interested in our work tend know the IHBC’s values and standards without having to be told.’

Bob Kindred Kindred MBE, Chair of the Gus Astley Fund’s trustees who manage the resources that underpin the annual award, said: ‘The Gus Astley Student Awards (GASAs) are now an important part of the Institute’s work in encouraging post-graduate students on the path towards joining the profession.’

‘The GASAs give formal recognition to some very good work being done by many excellent candidates and ensure this effort receives the wider recognition it deserves. The awards also demonstrate the diverse concerns and subject matter that candidates have chosen to study, investigate and analyse.’

‘At a time when uncertainty about heritage resources continues, and refreshing the heritage skills base assumes ever greater importance, the IHBC’s annual GASA submissions are an encouraging affirmation of the sector’s ability to provide expertise in the future.’

‘The selection of winning entries is always a significant challenge and as Chair of the Gus Astley trustees I am very grateful to Professor Jukka Jokilehto for undertaking the selection this year. The Institute has been very privileged to have a sequence of distinguished judges to assess and validate the standard of the submissions.’

‘I look forward to meeting the winners at the Institute’s Annual School in Norwich in June.’

2014 Award winner
Concerning the work of the winner of the 2014 award, Sarah Hendriks, Professor Jokilehto said: ‘Sarah understood architecture as forming a social space, resulting from particular processes. I consider it a fresh and sensitive approach, which merits being recognised.’

Sarah Hendriks, whose submission was part of her Master of Studies course at the University of Cambridge, said: ‘I am thrilled to have been awarded the Gus Astley Student Award for 2014 and am very excited to be taking part in the upcoming IHBC Annual School.’

‘It is an honour to be part of Gus Astley’s legacy for the built environment and to contribute to the future of historic building conservation through research.  My thanks go to the IHBC for making the award possible, to my supervisor Professor Deborah Howard at Cambridge for her guidance and support, and the rest of the ‘Master of Studies: Building History’ team at Cambridge.’

Sarah’s tutor, the renowned architectural historian Professor Deborah Howard, said: ‘I am delighted that Sarah’s application has been regarded positively.  She has great potential.’

‘In her research, Sarah has used a wealth of primary sources – both archival documents and early printed texts – with impressive facility.  She has also studied the buildings themselves and the nature of the music performed, displaying an authoritative understanding of both architecture and music and threading interdisciplinary principles through every page without any loss of clarity.  She has manoeuvred her way through the complex historical situation of 17th-century England and its dramatic political shifts with absolute control.’

Sarah will receive a £500 cash prize – up from the £300 award of previous years – and the offer of a place at the IHBC’s 2015 School in Norwich, also worth some £500.

Special Commendation
A ‘Special commendation’ in the 2014 Award was presented by Professor Jokilehto to recognise work of ‘extra merit’ by Kjersti Bakkejord, for her submission in her BSc in Architectural Studies (Year 4) at the University of Strathclyde, entitled, ‘The Future of the H-block in Oslo: Should Norway’s Government Building be Demolished, Conserved or Restored?’ Kjersti will receive £250 and the offer of a place at the IHBC 2015 School, worth some £500.

Kjersti said: ‘I am honoured that my work has been commended in the IHBC Gus Astley Student Award. I enjoyed writing the dissertation and it increased my interest in the field. The H-block has great value, and I hope the issues discussed are resolved soon.’

Kjersti’s dissertation supervisor, and Director of the University of Strathclyde’s IHBC recognised MSc in Architectural Design for the Conservation of Built Heritage, Cristina Gonzalez-Longo said: ‘Kjersti has provided an excellent critical analysis of the conservation dilemma presented by this emblematic building, considering both local and international contexts.’

‘She has looked at all the options for the future of the building, based on a thorough research on its design, urban setting, technology, history and cultural context, while also taking into account the public and politician’s views.  She makes a balanced judgement on the conservation of the building, providing also a series of recommendations for the most suitable strategies and approaches to be followed.’

Two joint Commendations were awarded by Professor Jokilehto for what he described as ‘interesting monographic studies’, and each of which receive a cash prize of £100 and the offer of a place at the IHBC’s Annual School.

Michael Nelles, was commended for his submission in his MA in Regional and Local History and Archaeology at the University of Winchester, a work entitled ‘Modernity in a historic setting: Urban redevelopment and the rise of the historic buildings conservation movement in Winchester, c.1925-1970’.

Michael said: ‘I’m thrilled and delighted to be awarded a Commendation! I was lucky enough to be able to attend the 2012 IHBC Annual School in Winchester, when my research was at a very early stage.  The extent to which everyone seemed genuinely interested in my project was very encouraging.’

Michael’s tutor Dr Mark Allen, said: ‘Michael’s work was a thoroughly original piece that covers an under-researched area, both in terms of 20th century Winchester and the developing heritage movement generally.

Prof Jokilehto also commended Nigel Green for his submission in his MSc in Conservation of Historic Buildings at the University of Bath – a course fully recognised by the IHBC.  His submission was entitled ‘History and Philosophy of Building Conservation Within London Underground – Success or Failure?’

Nigel said: ‘The invitation to attend the IHBC Annual School in Norwich will provide an invaluable development to my studies at the University of Bath.’

‘The research for my paper has illustrated how the need for building conservation policies is vital in the modern world. Through the conservation work advocated by London Underground in a technically challenging and budget conscious environment, a defined conservation policy can bring commercial benefits to a modern organisation.  It is a model that can potentially develop for other commercial, institutional and government funded organisations.’

Nigel’s course director, Dr Michael Forsyth said: ‘Nigel is a worthy recipient in the 2014 award for his paper on London Underground’s modernist buildings, addressing as it does the critical issue of balancing the conservation of historic fabric with present day operational needs.’

Special Mentions
Professor Jokilehto also offered special mentions to two submissions, each of which receive £50 and offers of places at the IHBC’s 2015 School.

Distinguished as a ‘broad survey and analysis of the field, in the UK context’, he offered a special mention to Kate Kendall for her submission in the MSc in Commercial Building Surveying at Liverpool John Moores University, a work entitled ‘Understanding Heritage Skills: Investigating the Conservation Professionals’ Knowledge’.

Kate, now IHBC’s ‘LETS’ Liaison Officer and responsible for ‘Learning, Education Training and Standards’ across the institute’s specialist voluntary network, said: ‘I’m delighted to receive a special mention from Prof Jokilehto for my academic work on understanding heritage skills in a professional context.  It is very rewarding to have my work acknowledged, and it wholly justifies the effort I put into the research.  I am in a great position now to be able to put some of the recommendations of my work into action through my new role with the IHBC. It’s a great opportunity to spread the word about conservation.’

Kate’s tutor at John Moores, Senior Lecturer Paul Kenny, said: ‘I am delighted that Kate has won a Special Mention in the Gus Astley Award.  Kate was an exceptional Masters degree student and demonstrated her passion for building conservation very clearly.’

For ‘an engineering study of modern framed buildings that has a good personal touch in its case studies’, Professor Jokilehto also offered special mention to Andy Pearson for his course submission entitled  ‘The Conservation of Twentieth Century Buildings – An introduction to inherent defects of framed buildings’.

Submitted to the IHBC-recognised MA in Historic Environment Conservation at the then Ironbridge Institute, Andrew said: ‘Many lay people and indeed some professionals that I have worked with through my profession as a structural engineer, associate conservation with old timber framed buildings, stately homes, castles and the like, failing to recognise that buildings from the twentieth century may be in excess of one hundred years old.’

‘This was a period of innovation in material technology and construction techniques and examples from this era have become of conservation interest and more will undoubtedly follow with the passage of time. This assignment, aimed at a non-technical audience, attempts to introduce some of the different forms of construction from this period and to raise awareness of possible structural issues that may have a significant bearing on the potential for preservation.’

Andy’s then tutor, Harriet Devlin MBE, is now course director at Birmingham City University School of Architecture’s IHBC-recognised course, on the Conservation of the Historic Environment.  Harriet said: ‘Over the last few years the work of a number of students from the former Historic Environment Conservation post-graduate course at the Ironbridge Institute has received recognition through the Gus Astley Award.’

‘This award, and the accompanying time at the IHBC Annual School, has been a major stepping stone in the students’ careers.  It has encouraged them to seek full membership of the IHBC and thereby gain professional accreditation.  Through this, the award upholds professional standards, recognises outstanding work and often extends our knowledge base on a particular thorny conservation topic while also providing students with a real incentive to succeed.  I think Gus would be very proud of the award that bears his name.’

For the awards, history and links, including submissions, see the GASA website  and testimonials

DOWNLOAD the flier and guidelines for the 2015 Award (NB: Closing date 31 July)

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