The Queen is having a good news week: first she joins Facebook and gains 100,000 new friends in two days, then she wins an award.
Buckingham Palace was a heavyweight winner at the eighth annual Georgian Awards this year, for restoration of a building in an urban setting. The inner courtyard, a “disaster” of over-painted and disintegrating French Caen stone, has been stripped and cleaned and can now be enjoyed just as it was by the young Queen Victoria.
Each year, the Georgian Awards are more pertinent, encouraging restoration projects countrywide that recycle old materials, traditional skills, and existing structures. You can’t get greener.
This year, 57 entrants competed in various categories. Entrants included country houses; follies, and an excellent new shopping centre with traditional streets and materials, in Bath, to replace that ugly 1970s eyesore.
In London, at 810 Tottenham High Road, half of the oldest known pair of Georgian townhouses has been restored by architects Butler & Hegarty for the Urban Setting award. The former house had been derelict for 25 years with water pouring through the roof.
Haringay Building Preservation Trust acquired and restored it with £350,000 from English Heritage. Its new leaseholder is Spurs football club, which is committed to help Haringay improve Tottenham High Road in tandem with building a new stadium - the sort of joined-up thinking that can do regenerative wonders.
Architect Tony Butler, of Butler & Hegarty, says an exciting discovery was finding one remaining original window, which was a very early “prototype” for a box-sash-window. The 300-year-old window has been put back into a building that could now provide two homes.
Honorable mention went to the skills used in the spit-and-polish of Monument, including the glorious regilding of the now blazing Orb, by Julian Harrap architects. Put on your sunglasses and make a detour to enjoy the new-look City landmark.