What Awards Really Mean

by 23rd May, 2024

I’m delighted to say that, in the past few months, our church reordering project at St Mary Magdalene Church in Tanworth-in-Arden has won two awards and been longlisted for another.

In the RIBA Regional Awards 2024 the project won the RIBA West Midlands Award and the RIBA West Midlands Special Award for Small Project of the Year.

The project was also longlisted for the RIBA Journal MacEwen Award, which recognises architecture for the common good.

It’s always wonderful to be recognised, but while it’s our name on the certificates, a successful architecture project is always a huge collective endeavour.

In this project, as in all our projects, the finished results are proof of craftspeople, artisans and contractors going above and beyond to deliver an exceptional building. An award is a small recognition of their immense contribution and the outstanding quality of their work.

The awards are also an opportunity to celebrate the pivotal role of the team of volunteers who led the project on behalf of the church community. It was their extraordinary commitment, unwavering effort and inspirational vision that helped future-proof their church to make it fit for use in the 21st century. Without them, the project simply would not have happened. The same is true of all the people who donated the funds that were needed for the project to happen. The awards recognise their contribution and belief in the project’s importance.

The awards have a wider significance too.

They play an essential role in raising awareness across the country of projects like St Mary’s. Thanks to press attention, the project will come to the notice of more church communities, giving them an insight into what might be possible for their own buildings.

We know that St Mary’s is becoming an exemplar project, with several PCC representatives coming to visit the building to find out more. We expect the awards will bring more groups to visit, ultimately, we hope, helping to ensure that more churches remain at the heart of our local communities.

Finally, as the quality of the other projects that were recognised and shortlisted show, awards like these help to raise the bar for architecture and design. It is always a delight to take a moment to celebrate the extraordinary projects happening in neighbourhoods up and down the country. As the RIBA Regional Awards remit says: “Successful projects reflect changes and innovations in architecture, and at their core display a commitment to designing and developing buildings and spaces for the improvement and enhancement of people’s lives.”