Piece Hall and Square Chapel are county design award winners

The entrance to Halifax Piece Hall via the steps at Halifax's new Central Library and Archives, which is the building on the left of the picture
The entrance to Halifax Piece Hall via the steps at Halifax's new Central Library and Archives, which is the building on the left of the picture

It was a fantastic evening for Calderdale last night when two key projects were among seven regional winners announced at a major design awards ceremony in York.

The Piece Hall and Central Library and Archives, and Square Chapel, both in Halifax, were among those winning RIBA Yorkshire Awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects recognising their architectural excellence – with the former scooping the top award of the night, for Best Building overall.

Winners were announced at a joint awards ceremony with RIBA North East at The Museum Gardens, with the event hosted by BBC television’s Look North presenter, Harry Gration.

The RIBA Yorkshire Award winners will also be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of architectural excellence, which will be announced on June 21.

Additionally, the shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning buildings later in the year.

The £6 million revamped Square Chapel, designed by Evans Vettori was the fifth of the seven to be announced and the final regional award winner, before moving onto the special category winners, was announced as The Piece Hall and Calderdale Central Library and Archives, Halifax, by LDN Architects, which together saw around £30 million invested.

The icing on the cake came with further Special Awards which included the RIBA Yorkshire Building of the Year Award made to the Piece Hall and Central Library Archives project.

The project also won the RIBA Yorkshire Conservation Award, while LDN Architects’ Mark Hopton won the RIBA Yorkshire Project Architect of the Year Award to complete a great night.

Regional Jury Chair, Roger Hawkins of Hawkins Brown, said of this year’s award winners: “There’s a huge diversity in the range of award winners this year, from a humble, but beautifully designed Bird Hide, nestled four miles down a single track road in Driffield, to a sympathetically restored and conserved majestic Piece Hall and local library in Halifax, showing that good architecture is possible on many different scales.

“It’s also great to see so many regional practices on this years’ list.”

As the awards were announced, the good news broke on social media with a proud Calderdale Council’s chief executive Robin Tuddenham tweeting: “Crikey, to paraphrase a line from a certain film ‘We are gonna need a bigger awards cabinet…’”

Last week the council, major partners in and drivers of the Piece Hall and Central Library and Archives schemes, announced other accolades with the complex winning both the Regeneration and Yorkshire Project of the Year awards at the regional RICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Awards 2018, and will bid to win more recognition in those national finals.

The Piece Hall’s own Twitter account tweeted: “We’re thrilled The Piece Hall and Central Library transformation project has won @RIBAYorkshire Award alongside our neighbours @squarechapel” while Square Chapel Arts, who also congratulated the Piece Hall, simply tweeted: “Woohoo! We’ve done it!”

Square Chapel centre for the arts director David McQuillian tweeted “Very very proud winner.”

Messages of congratulations were also posted to both by Calderdale’s civic couple – Mayor and Mayoress Coun Marcus Thompson and Mrs Nicky Chance-Thompson. Nicky is also The Piece Hall Trust’s chief exceutive.