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Build & Sustainability

City landmarks receive prestigious RIBA recognition

Two Sunderland landmarks have been awarded prestigious accolades by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

City Hall and the historic Seventeen Nineteen church have fought off stiff competition to be among this year’s RIBA North East Regional Award winners.

Designed by leading architect FaulknerBrowns on behalf of Sunderland City Council, City Hall is at the heart of Riverside Sunderland, one of the UK’s most ambitious urban regeneration projects.

Since opening its doors in November 2021, the building has scooped numerous industry awards, including ‘Best Civic Building’ at the AJ Architecture Awards and ‘Best Corporate Workplace’ at the British Council for Offices (BCO) Awards.

The judges said: “The partnership between the city-council client and the architects has delivered an inspiring new civic landmark and a forward-thinking workplace.

“Located on Sunderland’s former Vaux Brewery site, it is a bold and positive step as part of a wider vision for the city’s and region’s regeneration. Awareness of its physical and cultural context, and commitment to inclusivity and sustainability, all informed its design.”

The building is one of a number of large-scale development projects progressing at Riverside Sunderland, part of an ambitious vision to double the residential population in the city centre and increase employment by 50 per cent backed by £100m of investment from Legal & General.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We are thrilled to see City Hall being awarded yet another prestigious accolade.

“The RIBA Awards have been celebrating the best architectural projects the UK has had to offer for the best part of 180 years, so it’s fantastic to see City Hall join such an esteemed list of projects which have been recognised by the organisation throughout the course of history.”

Once the centre of civic function, Seventeen Nineteen – originally known as the Holy Trinity Church – stands in a conservation area in Sunderland’s East End just over a mile away from City Hall and is named after the year it opened. It is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

After falling onto the Heritage at Risk register, the building was rescued and sensitively restored for community use by contractor HPR Ltd  led by Mosedale Gillat Architects and scooped 3 awards on the evening.

“We are thrilled to win these prestigious awards for Seventeen Nineteen – it is a culmination of amazing dedication from the entire project team and would not have been possible without the expertise and commitment of The Churches Conservation Trust,” said Tim Mosedale, Director, Mosedale Gillatt Architects.

The judges said: “The architect faced a huge challenge. Extensive build-up of moisture in the walls had begun long before its closure as a church in 1988.

“The level of conservation work required was vast, and the structure is still drying out. The honesty of new interventions and repairs means the history of the former church remains legible to all.

“The building itself has become an educational tool, telling the stories of how people lived in the 1700s when the church was first constructed.  Rare ‘tuck’ pointing is retained, and new handmade bricks are seamlessly set into the exterior walls.

“The whole project is an outstanding example of the craft, imagination and perseverance required to work with a structure that was in incredibly poor condition

“The jury visited at the end of a long day, but they were immediately uplifted by the sense of calm, the understated and rigorous detailing, the passion and commitment of the client and architect team and the sheer beauty of how light, materiality and amenity have been woven together.”