Where are the best modern buildings in Norfolk? 

Award winning community built on Goldsmith Street in Norwich

Goldsmith Street in Norwich - Credit: Archant

We might be known for our medieval marvels but which of our modern buildings are worth a second glance?  

A hunt for the best new architecture in Norfolk is under way. 

Every two years the Norwich and Norfolk Design and Craftsmanship Awards celebrate outstanding new buildings and restorations – and this year’s competition is open for nominations. 

Previous winners include the Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia, which has been called the UK’s greenest building, the Goldsmith Street housing development in Norwich and the Jarrold pedestrian bridge across the river Wensum in Norwich.

Kett’s Heights in Norwich was commended as a green public space, rejuvenated by a volunteer group. A category for building projects by community groups is free to enter and in 2019 was won by a village hall at Lyng, near Dereham - for community involvement as well as its stylish and practical design. 

The Enterprise Centre.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia - Credit: Antony Kelly

City history picture quiz: Jarrold Bridge. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jarrold Bridge - Credit: Denise Bradley

The new herb garden, brick seat, and restored wall at Kett's Heights. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A new herb garden, brick seat, and restored wall at Kett's Heights - Credit: Denise Bradley

Lyng Community Hall

Lyng Community Hall - Credit: supplied

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There are awards for extensions, single houses and housing developments, plus civic, commercial and educational buildings and the alteration or restoration of historic buildings, The awards are run by the Norfolk Association of Architects, the Norwich Society and Civic Voice, the national charity for the civic movement.  

The Norfolk Association of Architects celebrates its centenary this year. Run by volunteers to promote excellence in architecture, it is the local branch of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The Norwich Society, founded two years later, champions the city’s beauty and history. 

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Judges will look for excellence in design and craftsmanship, minimal environmental impact and buildings which meet the needs of their users and contribute to the public enjoyment of their settings. 

Another prize, the Sir Bernard Feilden award, will be presented to the best conservation scheme in Norwich. Sir Bernard set up an architectural practice in Norwich and worked on Norwich Cathedral and the University of East Anglia as well as St Paul’s in London, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. Inspired by sculptures he saw while serving in Mesopotamia in the Second World War he also designed the lions at the entrance to Norwich City Hall. 

Photo essay. Norwich statues. One of the Alfred Hardiman lion statues at Norwich City Hall. Picture

One of the lion statues at Norwich City Hall - Credit: Antony Kelly

Previous projects which have won the award he endowed include the restoration of Earlham Hall and of the Briton's Arms building in Elm Hill.  

Earlham Hall. Picture: Denise Bradley

Earlham Hall - Credit: Denise Bradley

Jon Boon of the Norfolk Association of Architects said organisers are keen to attract nominations – especially for the community category which celebrates projects by local groups and organisations. 

Winners will be announced this autumn and any profits will go to St Martin’s Housing Society for its Housing First project supporting homeless people, and the Architects’ Benevolent Society. 

Nominations, for projects completed between July 2019 and May 2021, are open until Friday July 16 and can be submitted here.

Modern Norfolk masterpieces 

1. The Forum in Norwich rose from the ashes of the old Norwich Central Library in 2001. 

2. The student accommodation ziggurats at the University of East Anglia were designed in the 1960s by Denys Lasdun and are now listed buildings.   

3. In Hunstanton the 1960s glass and steel structure of Smithdon High School has Grade II listed status because it marks the arrival of the New Brutalist school of architecture in the UK.   

4. Goldsmith Street, Norwich, won the 2019 Stirling Prize and was described as "a modest masterpiece" and "an outstanding contribution to British architecture" by judges of the Royal Institute of British Architects contest. The 45 homes were built by RG Carter and designed by architects Mikhail Riches and Cathy Hawley. 

The Forum, under construction in 2001

The Forum, under construction in 2001 - Credit: Archant


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