King of Prussia Gold Medal 2017 - Shortlist


The shortlist for the 2017 King of Prussia Gold Medal for innovative, high quality church conservation or repair work projects, run by the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association and the National Churches Trust. 

Five entries have been shortlisted:

  • All Saints, Nunney, Somerset - Replacement of historic waggon roof - Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects
  • St Cuthbert, Kentmere, Cumbria - Complete re-roofing  - John Coward Architects
  • St Mark, Leeds, Yorkshire - Interior restoration and fabric repairs - Richard Crooks Partnership
  • St Pancras, London -  Restoration of teracotta portico - Arts Lettres Techniques and Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects
  • St Peter and St Paul, Blandford Forum, Dorset - Conservation and repair of cupola  - Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects

Photographs and more details can be found below.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:

“I’m delighted at the quality and range of the projects entered for the 2017 Church Architecture Awards which show clearly how church architecture makes a major contribution to the visual landscape of villages, towns and cities. This year our shortlist includes stunning modern buildings, highly creative solutions to repair and conservation work, and projects which reinterpret and bring back to life existing churches.  Our judges really are spoilt for choice and I look forward to the winners being announced on 26 October 2017.”  

Awards ceremony

The architect and the scheme judged to be the winner will be announced by Prince Nicholas von Preussen at an Awards Ceremony at St Mellitus College, London SW5 on Thursday Thursday 26 October 2017. Also at the Awards Ceremony, the winners of the Presidents' Award for new church architecture will be announced by the Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO ARIBA. 

Projects are eligible if they have been completed within the last three years or after the Practical Completion stage in their development. The award is open to church buildings of all Christian denominations in the UK. The scheme must have been funded by a grant or loan from the National Churches Trust, or would have been eligible for such a grant or load, and completed within the last three years.

The winning architect will receive the King of Prussia Gold Medal, the gift of King Frederick William IV of Prussia (1795 – 1861) to the Incorporated Church Building Society in 1857. The award has been made annually since the early 1980s, when the medal was re-discovered during an office move. The medal is held by the winning architect for one year and afterwards a silver replica is provided. The winning church or chapel will receive a £500 prize.

2017 judging 

In selecting the winning entries, judges are looking for innovative, high quality church conservation or repair work that has successfully overcome a major aesthetic or technical challenge.

Judges for the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association

Prince Nicholas von Preussen, Patron EASA; Russell Trudgen, PresidentEASA,;Roger Molyneux,Vice President EASA:  Anna Joynt, EASA Awards officer; Mark Pearce, EASA Secretary.

Judges for the National Churches Trust

HRH The Duke of Gloucester, KG GCVO ARIBA, Vice Patron; Luke March, DL, Chairman;  Richard Carr-Archer, Trustee;  Eddie Tulasiewicz, Head of Communications.

The 2017 shortlisted entries are listed below in alphabetical order.

All Saints, Nunney, Somerset - replacement of historic waggon roof

Architect - Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects
Principle Contractor and other professional team members involved:
C&L Pearce Contractors.

The village of Nunney is situated at the east end of the Mendip Hills close to the town of Frome in Somerset. At the heart of the village is the Grade I Listed church which sits close by and overlooks the medieval moated castle. It is one of five churches currently within the parish of Postlebury.

The nave aisles, tower and transept are medieval with a C19 chancel and sacristy. For many visitors to the village their first was accurately summed up as ‘lovely church shame about the roof!’

The nave roof has been subject to much alterations over the centuries but by the end of the C19 the medieval roof was known to be in very poor condition. Eventually as a consequence of severe and considered at the time, irreparable decay, a decision was made in 1958 to install a replacement roof. The new roof was a steel framed agricultural truss covered in bitumous felt and was installed as a temporary measure. In 1967 the unsightly steel frame was hidden behind a suspended ceiling, whilst in 1973 the failing bitumous felt was removed and replaced with concrete slates.

b2 architects and Mann Williams Structural Engineers developed proposals for how to reinstate the waggon roof's shape. The barrel vault was constructed from a series of ceiling ribs built up of three layers of plywood to form continuous ribs along the length of the nave. The four new dormers bring light into the nave and reinstate the two lost dormers on the north side and the two lost clerestory windows on the south side.

A new cornice, based on the surviving sections in the west porch, was reintroduced. The nave's stonework was lightly cleaned and the space relit to a design by Paul Covell, the lighting consultant. The works were undertaken by Lee Pearce, a local contractor over a period of nine months.

Prior to construction commencing on site, conservation work was needed to stabilise the medieval wall painting of St George situated at the west end of the nave's north arcade. The conservation of the painting was carried out by Ruth McNeilage who successfully removed the superficial layers of dirt attached to the surface of the painting. UV glass in the new windows was a further part of the conservation strategy.

  • Exterior in 2017

  • Interior in 1907

  • Interior in 2000

  • Construction in process

  • Interior in 2017

St Cuthbert, Kentmere, Cumbria - complete re-roofing and timber repairs

Architect - John Coward Architects
Principle Contractor and other professional team members involved:
Heritage Conservation and Restoration Ltd; WML Consulting (Gary Booth); Hyde Harrington Quantity Surveyor.

There may well have been a church on the site in Norman or even Saxon times (the yew on the south side is thought to be around 1000 years old) but the current building was probably re-roofed in the mid 16th Century, with the flat beams designed to take a joisted and boarded roof of lead, converted into the tie beams of the current A frame trusses. Documented evidence suggests that by 1691/3 the current pitched roof had been installed.

A condition report in 2014 by John Coward Architects suggested the roof coverings of the Grade II listed building be entirely replaced and significant repairs to the medieval timber roof structure be carried out. There were several roof leaks through the coverings that risked loss of fabric due to wet rot decay. Two of the main trusses had fractured at their apex connections and several of the oak purlins had lost their bearing ends due both to movement of the frame and decay within the masonry walls.

All existing roof slates were stripped off, sorted and stacked on the scaffold for re-use. Stone ridge tiles had unfortunately delaminated and could not be salvaged so new ones were detailed to match and then hand carved by the contractor. Roof timbers were carefully removed as necessary and the minimal impact repair interventions executed. All new structural timber was in oak to match and the rafter sprockets, to create the swept eaves, were cut from Douglas Fir, again to match the extant work.

During all of the work to the roof structure, the historic ceiling was carefully protected to avoid damage. The timber boarded ceiling, once the outer roof lined with lead, pre-dates the current roof and could be of considerable age. Its cross beams, now the adapted tie beams of the A frame trusses, were found during the works to sit on peat, a traditional detail to create a spreader or roller for a weighty roof and to protect the masonry wall head.

The project has given the church a new lease of life and helped to bring together the community who realised the real effort that was being put into conserving the heritage. The church is a landmark building at the head of the valley and regularly visited by hill walkers.

The roof of the church is home to a transient bat roost which has been entirely protected. The original bat entry and egress holes into the roof covering (below the ridge tiles and at the east gable) have all been reintroduced into the new coverings. Bitumen coated roof felt has been used that will not harm any bats that choose to roost in the roof, as opposed to modern breathable felts that would. Swift boxes have also been introduced at the eaves to encourage the birds to nest.

  • Site from south

  • Nave from south

  • East gable apex

  • Repairs

  • Repairs

St Mark, Leeds, Yorkshire - Complete interior restoration and fabric repairs

Architect - Richard Crooks Partnership
Principle Contractor and other professional team members involved:
Rydale Masonry, York; Jones Kingswell Partnership.

St Mark's Church is the last to survive of the three Church Commissioner’s churches built in Leeds. After many years with dwindling numbers of loyal but ageing regular worshippers, it was declared redundant in 2001. The church had been on both the English Heritage and Leeds City Council’s Buildings at Risk Registers since early 1990s.

By 2005 the timber ribbed vaulted ceiling in the south aisle was collapsing. Cold damp conditions had also caused the breakdown of the original Victorian glue based wall and ceiling paintings and deposited brown sticky liquid onto walls, floors, fittings and furnishings. In 2005 Gateway Church identified St Mark's as being suitable for their place of worship, meetings and hub for outreach into the local community.

November 2011 to January 2012 saw the re-slating of tower roof & new lead gutter linings; strengthening of tower parapets; removal of stained glass windows to north aisle for repair and removal of wall plaster to west end.

Between January 2013 and September 2013 internal alterations were undertaken including new floor construction incorporating underfloor heating to the worship space and the installation of a mezzanine floor. October 2013 to January 2014 saw replastering and redecoration of the remaining areas of the auditorium/worship space.

Regular worship and administration opened in St Mark's in March 2014. All facilities being available for use by community groups for meetings, concerts, conferences and other events.

August 2015 to January 2016 saw completion of the outstanding masonry repairs to the north aisle and stained glass restoration.

The roofs were repaired using good quality second-hand slates and parapet gutters relined with lead sheet. The windows have been re-leaded and are now protected externally by both polycarbonate sheet and wire mesh guards. The external masonry was repointed with traditional lime mortar which has a low carbon footprint.

The vaulted ceilings are constructed of traditional lime plaster on timber lathes and these have been preserved intact. However, sheep’s wool insulation blanket has been laid over the ceilings to significantly reduce the heat loss through the roof. The ground floor and new suspended first floor incorporate underfloor heating pipes and high levels of thermal insulation.

As far as possible original fixtures and features have been retained and re-used. The ornate oak screens have been glazed and reconfigured to form offices. Original features such as the font and pulpit have been carefully dismantled and are stored in the accessible floor voids for future reference. The ornately carved choir stalls and communion rails are stored in the Vestry at the east end.

  • St Mark's redevelopment

  • St Mark's tower

  • St Mark's window parapet

  • Vault repair

St Pancras, London - restoration of terracotta portico

Architect - Arts Lettres Techniques and Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects

Principle Contractor and other professional team members involved:
Pierra Restoration Ltd; Sawyer and Fisher; Sally Strachey Historic Conservation.

‘The Portico Project’ became a necessity through the effects of time on the material of the ‘new church’ of St Pancras. Every original element was retained and protected. Only one new piece of terracotta was needed, made and fired by skilled craftspeople at Darwen Terracotta in Lancashire, replacing a missing corner.

Lead bays along the roof of the portico were cracking. In addition, the erosion of the Portland stone copings around the northern and southern porches has allowed water ingress to the parapet walls, loosening a band of terracotta enrichment on the outer face.

Much of the surface has been weathered away by highly acidic rain (the Euston Road is one of the most highly polluted urban thoroughfares in Europe).

The terracotta displayed a variety of conditions depending on orientation and localised erosion of the coping stones, from clean and near perfect to entirely water eroded or encrusted with black carbon deposits (hastening the loss of surface integrity).
Failures of the coping edges or joints allowed accelerated and focussed water penetration that exacerbated material loss.

The careful numbering, lifting and resetting of the coping stones was specified, and scaffold installed to facilitate their safe and careful lifting and setting aside.

In addition to facilitating the replacement of cramps that had damaged the stone, the resetting of the copings allowed for the insertion of a lead drip to the inner face of the parapet, a non-original detail which would augment the ability of the eroded copings to throw water clear of the wall, the stone repairs and the remaining iron cramps - prolonging the life of all three. A number of Portland stone edge pieces were reinstated.

A sequence of carefully executed cleaning procedures was developed with Sally Strachey Conservation on a terracotta element that had fallen from its location (due to complete cramp corrosion and washed out lime bedding).

The interest that Historic England has shown in the St Pancras terracotta cleaning and repair means that lessons learned from can benefit the repair of terracotta in other projects.

Careful repair sustains the integrity of the building. In developing a successful relationship between Arts Lettres Techniques, B2 Architects and St Pancras Church, there is the opportunity to realize the ambition for ongoing, careful repair, but also to explore how the building and its curtilage can best serve a highly diverse local community in a respectful and inclusive way.

  • Portico lead roof complete

  • Lead Antefix cloaks

  • Parapet repairs

  • Internal parapet drip overcoming stone erosion

  • Terracotta corner piece by Derwen

  • St Pancras church

St Peter and St Paul, Blandford Forum, Dorset - Conservation and repair of cupola

Architect - Benjamin + Beauchamp Architects

Principle Contractor and other professional team members involved:
Norman & Underwood Ltd.

The main aim of this project was to undertake urgent repair and conservation work to the cupola and upper levels of the tower. The project was part funded by the HLF ‘Grants for Listed Places of Worship’ Scheme and it forms the first phase of a major project to take this Grade I building off the ‘at risk’ list.

This church, built to the design of John and William Bastard, was opened in 1739 and is considered to be one of the finest Georgian churches outside of London. Furthermore, due to the extent of the contemporaneous rebuilding after the fire, the church is the centre-piece of one of the most complete early Georgian townscapes in the country. In parallel, the church’s cupola is considered a landmark and important symbol to the town.

The condition of the cupola had been deteriorating for some and repair work was urgently needed to avoid the catastrophic collapse of the cupola. A temporary galvanised skeletal structure had previously been installed to prevent the upper drum from collapse but water ingress now also threatened the lower structure as well. Temporary sheeting was installed to buy time whilst the tender documents were prepared and the works tendered.

The works focussed on the repair of the bell chamber roof structure, the eight sided lower drum and the open sided cupola. So extensive was some of the decay that new timbers were required but wherever possible the eighteenth century as well as later timber repairs were retained. This was achieved with a combination of different timber repair techniques including scarf joints, face repair and the use of steelwork to minimise the loss of material.

To the cupola drum all eight posts were replaced using new laminated oak posts to maximise the life expectancy as the last replacement posts undertaken in an African hardwood only lasted 50 years. To the cupola roof, the central octagonal post was replaced full height as a result of extensive death watch beetle attack. The cupola’s plastered vaulted ceiling was reinstated and the apprentice bell, which survived the fire, re-hung at its centre. The cupola roof was repaired and re-leaded with the weather vane conserved, repaired and re-gilded before being reinstated at the top of the structure having been temporary removed some years previously on safety grounds.

The bell chamber roof structure had significant decay to some of the primary beams and here a new steel frame was inserted to work in parallel with previously installed steelwork to pick up the major structural loads from above. In the bell chamber, a new access deck was installed above the bells and through this introduction, new improved access was provided up to the cupola to assist with long term maintenance of the tower parapet gutters.

  • The cupola immediately before the works

  • Scarf joints and face repairs to the cupola base

  • Repairs to the cupola roof

  • The completed cupola