IHBC’s Student Awards for 2017 now out: Gus Astley Student Award and commendations at Belfast School in 2018 

The winner of the IHBC Gus Astley Student Award for 2017 has been announced as Rodolfo Acevedo Rodríguez, then on the IHBC-recognised conservation course at University of Cambridge, for his work on the history, design and function of Thornton Abbey Gatehouse, Lincolnshire, selected by the judge for the year, Carole Souter CBE, as a ‘clear, informative, well researched and beautifully produced and illustrated’ representation of current conservation-related course work.

Rodolfo will receive a free place at the IHBC’s 2018 Annual School in Belfast, on 21-23 June, with his £500 cash award and certificate to be presented at the School’s Annual Dinner.

Also selected for high commendation by Souter in the 2017 Awards were:

  • Maria-Theodora Tzeli, from the IHBC-recognised conservation course at the University of Edinburgh, ‘on the restoration of Classical monuments in Ancient Greece… as a clear and well developed analysis of the history of the subject’.
  • Sean McEntee, from the IHBC-recognised conservation course at the University of Leicester, for his ‘interesting attempt to apply detailed analytical tools to a set of issues at Norton Folgate which are often discussed on the basis of emotion and assertion’.

The Gus Astley Fund’s `Trustee selection’ for special commendation in 2018, also recommended also by Souter, is:

  • Matthew Orme, from University of Kent, for his `extraordinary outlier of Patent Office and Inventors Workshop for Kentish Inventors, which read as a cross between an architectural submission and a magical realist essay.’

All three will also receive cash awards and offers of free places at the IHBC’s 2018 Annual School in Belfast.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘The IHBC is delighted to be able to recognise the huge learning and effort evident across all of the diverse entries.’

‘We are also very proud that the selection of winners for 2017 demonstrates once again the superb quality of conservation and related course-based research recognised and valued by the IHBC.’

‘Finally, we would like to congratulate all those selected for awards, and also those who took the time to submit, and look forward to more coursework entries for the 2018 award, which closes on 31 July!’

Carole Souter said: ‘It has been an honour and a pleasure to judge the 2017 IHBC Gus Astley Student Award.’

Bob Kindred, Chair of the Gus Astley Trustees, said of the ‘Trustee selection’ for special commendation, the submission by Matthew Orme: ‘Each year the Gus Astley Trustees review all the submissions and from time to time certain ones stand out for their originality, imagination and application.’

‘We concurred with the observations of this year’s guest judge Carole Souter that Matthew Orme’s entry, ‘Patent Office and Inventors Workshop for Kentish Inventors‘ was a striking piece of work on a difficult and under-regarded complex of 20th century buildings and particularly worthy of commendation – reading as a cross between an architectural submission and a magical realist essay.’

‘The commendation attracts a place for Matthew at this year’s Annual School in Belfast and a cash award.’


2018 IHBC Gus Astley Annual Student Award Winner

Rodolfo Acevedo Rodríguez, for his Dissertation ‘Thornton Abbey Gatehouse: History, Design and Function c. 1382-1539’.

Rodolfo’s tutor, Dr Adam Menuge, Senior Lecturer at University of Cambridge, said: ‘Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez’ dissertation brought to bear close observation of building fabric, a rigorous examination of medieval primary sources and the deployment of advanced digital recording techniques, to advance our understanding of Thornton Abbey’s enigmatic late 14th-century gatehouse’.

Rodolfo Acevedo Rodríguez , said: ‘This award is of great significance, as it highlights the importance of diversity in the approach to architectural research. Through this, I hope to contribute to a growing community of individuals committed to protect and sustain the historic environment.’

‘I would like to thank Dr Adam Menuge from the University of Cambridge, English Heritage and Historic England for supporting this research. I am particularly grateful to the IHBC for their recognition, and I very much look forward to joining their campaign.’


2018 IHBC Gus Astley Annual Student Award: High Commendations

Maria-Theodora Tzeli: Dissertation: ‘The Restoration of Classical Monuments in Modern Greece. A study of the historical development of materials and techniques’

Sean McEntee: Dissertation ‘Conservation and Sustainability: Comparing the impacts of developer and conservation led schemes in Norton Folgate, London’.

Maria-Theodora’s tutor. Dr Dimitris Theodossopoulos, Lecturer in Architectural Technology at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘I am delighted that the prestigious Gus Astley Award recognises Edinburgh’s students this year.

‘The thesis offers an in-depth critical study of the history of conservation of classical monuments in the modern Greek state, and the special technical and cultural character of each period. It is an original work that deserves to be published, even as a book, because there is such comprehensive review of the sector.’

`The study demonstrates the travel the sector underwent but also the need for significant changes that eventually produced the current period, characterized by a scientific and transparent approach.’

Maria-Theodora Tzeli, said: `I am delighted to have won the ‘IHBC Gus Astley Student Award 2017: High Commendation’ for my dissertation on the restoration of classical monuments in modern Greece and to have the opportunity to attend the Annual School in 2018.’

‘I feel both honoured and fortunate to be offered recognition for a piece of work on such a complex topic, which helped me expand my understanding of conservation theory and practice over the last two centuries in Europe. I would like to thank the Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh for the excellent MSc course in Architectural Conservation, and my supervisor, Dr Dimitris Theodossopoulos, to whom I am grateful for his valuable guidance and continued support.

‘My study addressed the lack of a comprehensive history of the development of materials and techniques that have been used in the restoration of classical monuments in modern Greece, and aimed to reveal the connection between past practices and modern-day activities, as well as the latent character of conservation in the country.’

Sean McEntee’s dissertation was supervised by Mike Taylor, previously advisor to Historic England, and assessed by him and Simon Gunn, Director of the Centre for Urban History and Professor of Urban History at University of Leicester and tutor.

Mike and Simon said: `What impressed us was not only the fact that it was beautifully presented, including the author’s own line drawings, but also tackled the thorny problem of how far conservation fits – or not – with standard sustainability assessment. In a sophisticated manner it examines the conflicting interests of British Land and the Spitalfields Trust over the Norton Folgate development in east London and comes to a convincing conclusion.’

Sean McEntee said: ‘I am delighted to have received a highly commended award in this competition, and excited by the prospect of attending the Annual School in Belfast.’

‘My dissertation examined the respective approaches of commercially and conservation led schemes for a one hectare site in a conservation area near Spitalfields, London, and how these contrasting schemes mediated sustainability outcomes with priorities of contemporary conservation practice. The comparison illustrated the disjunction in interdisciplinary practice between the fields of heritage conservation and sustainable development. This in turn served to suggest scope for the heritage sector to take a proactive lead in interdisciplinary discourse and practice, rather than the reactive stance to sustainability often encountered in managing change in historic environments.’

‘I offer my sincere thanks to the University of Leicester and supervisors Mike Taylor and Simon Gunn for providing the practical and academic guidance to interrogate the complexities of the topic, and the IHBC for recognising the work with this award.’


2018 IHBC Gus Astley Annual Student Award: Trustee Selection for Commendation

Matthew Orme: Final design project on MArch ‘Patere: A Secular Ritual Kentish Patent Office and Archive’.

Michael Richards RIBA, Senior Lecturer, Programme Director at the Kent School of Architecture said: `It’s incredibly gratifying to see Matthew’s MArch thesis project recognised under the 2017 IHBC Student Award.  Kent has such a rich heritage of redundant defence buildings and infrastructure. Scratch the surface of an ‘green field’ and history comes bubble up.’

‘KSA MArch Unit 1 has over the years celebrated this, and Matthew, in his final year distinguished himself with an insightful project that aligned ideas of intellectual capital and obsolescence, in the context of a derelict former RAF Chain Home station at Dunkirk, Kent. Matthew envisioned it as a Patent Office and Archive whose campus is a discourse in the inevitable obsolescence of technological detail.’

Matthew Orme said: ‘I am thrilled to receive an award from such a precious and well-known institution. I am happy to see my design work along side such a wide range of conservation areas with unique and thoroughly interesting focuses.’

‘To be recognised for my design work involving listed structures and ancient scheduled monuments is particularly pleasing. The design decisions involving the sensitive and delicate relationship between existing structures and contemporary interventions is a daily challenge for myself, as I look to develop my career in conservation architecture. As such this award is very much appreciated.’

For more on the IHBC’s 2018 School see: belfast2018.ihbc.org.uk

To book see: Full School(21-23 June) and Day School(22 June)

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For more on the IHBC Gus Astley annual Student Award see the GASA website

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