A Grade I listed building has been ranked top in three categories of a prestigious architecture awards programme.
The Fitted Rigging House at the Historic Dockyard Chatham won The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) South East Sustainability Award 2021 for its £8.2m preservation project.
Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust was also named overall regional winner and Client of the Year.
The dockyard in Kent was one of the Royal Navy’s main facilities for centuries and is now a visitors’ attraction with over 100 buildings and structures, including 47 Scheduled Ancient Monuments. The site is in the stewardship of the independent charity, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust.
The Rigging House, which is part of the complex, was – as its name suggests – originally used by workers to make rigging for warships in the 19th century.
The Fitted Rigging House Project, which was completed in early 2020, has created new rental spaces for commercial tenancy, significantly increasing the Trust’s rental income.
It has also allowed for the enhancement of the 19th and 20th century ‘Steam, Steel, and Submarines’ galleries, as well as enabling the dockyard’s library and archive to be rehoused in appropriate conditions.
Additionally, the project has created a new centre for its over 300 volunteers, whose wide range of activities include operating the historic railway, maintaining warships, undertaking archive research, and welcoming visitors.
Commenting on the announcement, Richard Morsley, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, said: ‘We are delighted that the redevelopment of the Fitted Rigging House has been recognised by RIBA South East Awards 2021.’
‘This project exemplifies the Historic Dockyard Chatham’s approach to preserving our unique heritage estate through the creative re-use and adaptation of historic buildings, reinforcing our belief that the most sustainable buildings are those which already exist.’
Morsley added: ‘Working closely with Baynes and Mitchell Architects and supported by Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and a range of other charitable Trusts and Foundations, has allowed us to transform what was a significant heritage liability into an outstanding, award winning, asset.’
The Royal Institute of British Architects awards have championed the best architecture in the UK and around the world for the last 50 years.