3 local buildings were presented with the top awards at the Rochdale Borough Design Awards this week.
During a presentation at Rochdale Town Hall, The Strand Hub in Kirkholt collected the 'Rochdale Borough Design Award.'
The judges were particularly impressed by the innovative and creative approach to the design, creating a new vibrant local centre at a time of challenging conditions for the retail sector. They praised the spacious community facilities utilising natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows, new shop units, the clean elegance of the exterior design and the way it integrates with the development of the area. They felt that the new building was able to be modern whilst fitting in with the character of the area.
The restoration of the Carnegie Library in Castleton won the 'People's Design Award' with 115 votes out of the overall 339 votes cast, making the historic local landmark a strong winner - over 60 votes clear in first place. Opened in 1905 after the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated £2,500 for it to be built, the library became unoccupied in 2006 and lay derelict for a decade before being lovingly restored. It was nominated by a local resident who recalled that the building played a central role in her childhood as she was a devout bookworm.
'One of the strongest shortlists yet'
The judging panel also decided to give a 'special commendation' award to Willows Dementia Hub in Rochdale. They were impressed by the carefully considered design approach to the hub and the range of facilities which help the residents lead better lives, with particular design details, such as the way the building has been opened up to the wider community by the use of floor-to-ceiling windows and a patio area. They also praised the enthusiasm of the staff. Chief Officer Gail Whitehead said the team at The Willows were 'so proud of the accolade.'
The event was opened by Paul Moore, head of planning at Rochdale Borough Council and the awards were presented by Councillor Carol Wardle, cabinet member for planning, development and housing.
Councillor Carol Wardle said that over the years the awards have been successful in helping to raise the design quality of the borough's new developments:
"Many excellent developments have been shortlisted for the awards over the years, but this was one of the strongest shortlists yet. The judges were impressed with them all, so much so that a special commendation was awarded."
The panel of judges included planners, architects and a representative from the School of Architecture in Manchester.