Presidents' Award 2016 - Winners


The winners of the 2016 Presidents’ Award for church architecture was announced at a ceremony attended by HRH The Duke of Gloucester at St Mellitus College, London SW5, on Thursday 3 November 2016.

Presidents’ Award for new church buildings

Stanbrook Abbey Church, a spectacular new building in the North York Moors National Park built for an order of Benedictine nuns and designed by architects Feilden Clegg and Bradley Studios, won the 2016 Presidents’ Award for new church buildings.

Stanbrook Abbey Church was built for the Conventus of Our Lady of Consolation who relocated from their original 19th Century abbey building in Worcestershire. They chose a remote site on the edge of the North York Moors. The church, which is the most recent addition to the abbey, provides the focus of the mission for the community of nuns who devote their lives to study, work and prayer.

From the outside, the building presents a soaring curved facade reminiscent of a theme-park roller coaster, faced in vertical timber slats, which have weathered to grey.

The Presidents’ Award is awarded on behalf of the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association President and the National Churches Trust’s Joint Presidents, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. The award is open to church buildings of all Christian denominations in the UK.

The judges said:

“Here we have one of the best church buildings of recent times. Of note are its setting, tranquillity, feel of faith and its gorgeous position. The placing of the elements is spare in a very Benedictine tradition. Light spills in from the South side through huge fins which support the stepped timber roof. The light effect is beautiful, as is the artificial lighting. It will do you good to visit!”

The architects

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is an award-winning architectural practice with an international reputation for design quality, for pioneering environmental expertise and a progressive architectural approach.

Presidents’ Award for best church extension, alteration or re-ordering

In 2016, the Presidents’ Award was jointly awarded to a project to extend and provide new facilities for the parish church of St Mary and St Thomas of Canterbury, Wymondham, Norfolk, designed by architects Freeland Rees Roberts.

The new extensions provide much needed facilities including a new sacristy, choir vestry, servery, lavatories and storage to cater for a wide range of activities, interpretation and learning. Traditional materials have been used in a contemporary way to be sensitive to the context and to achieve elegance in construction and detailing.

The judges said: 

“The scheme adds much needed facilities which are placed sensitively within this ancient and complex building.”

The architects

Freeland Rees Roberts Architects is an award winning practice specialising in contemporary design, sensitive renovation, and specialist conservation.

The Presidents’ Award, a chalice and paten, was lent to the two winning parishes to held by them for six months each.  The two winning churches each received a £500 prize.