Revealed: The buildings named as the best designed in Norfolk

Norfolk is home to many eye-catching designs and buildings.

Norfolk is home to many eye-catching designs and buildings. - Credit: DCA21

Across Norfolk are some truly eye-catching buildings and designs.

The Norwich Society strives to showcase the county in its best light and in 2003, launched its 'Design and Craftsmanship' awards to encourage and highlight the best of contemporary architecture and the built environment within the city.

Vanessa Trevelyan, Chair of the Norwich Society’s Publicity and Events Committee, and member of the DCA21 Steering Committee, said: "In 2019, we partnered with the Norfolk Association of Architects and Civic Voice, which each have their own design awards, to create the prestigious Norfolk Design and Craftsmanship Awards.

"Norfolk has some of the most innovative and locally loved contemporary architecture and community projects in the country. These awards are an exciting opportunity to celebrate Norfolk’s huge talent as shown by architects, builders and those commissioning and delivering projects. The aim of this collaboration is to bring the best local designs, workmanship, craftsmanship and community action to a wider audience."

The 2021 awards were judged across categories – Housing, Non-Residential, Conservation and Community as well as an inaugural Student award.

Below are some of the design award winners from across Norfolk.

The project brings new employment and community facilities to the village of West Acre.

The project brings new employment and community facilities to the village of West Acre. - Credit: DCA21

Abbey Barn, West Acre 

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What the judges said: "The repurposing of a derelict Grade ll* listed barn into a brewery has been a very successful project; the unobtrusive installation of modern industrial brewing equipment has been managed with all insertions clearly reversible. Well-delivered craftsmanship and detailing are evident and the historic fabric has been carefully repaired. The project brings new employment and community facilities to the village of West Acre."

Thomas Messenger Glasshouse

Thomas Messenger Glasshouse - Credit: DCA21

Thomas Messenger Glasshouse and Belltower, Holkham Park 

What the judges said: "This project fulfils every conservation principle: the successful accommodation of bats within the rear building; the use of hot lime mortar to repair all masonry; the use of Holkham's own traditional joinery workshop and linseed oil paints; the new bell cast by the Loughborough foundry of John Taylor & Co; the replication of original Messenger ironwork: all these make the glasshouse and belltower highly sustainable. These buildings now show visitors and school parties how food is produced in the Walled Garden."

Freeholders is a purpose-built holiday accommodation and a future retirement home for the client.

Freeholders is a purpose-built holiday accommodation and a future retirement home for the client. - Credit: DCA21

Freeholders, Wells-next-the-Sea 

What the judges said: "Freeholders is a purpose-built holiday accommodation and a future retirement home for the client. It has been designed to fit in with the irregular historic cottages of Wells. As noted by a local resident, 'The house is a carefully crafted structure that blends successfully with the older houses alongside.' “The design withstands flooding and enables the house to continue to function above the flood level. The construction is extremely well executed and incorporates traditional techniques alongside exemplary detailing."

Blue Sky Barn drew praise from judges on the strong working relationship between client, architect and contractor.

Blue Sky Barn drew praise from judges on the strong working relationship between client, architect and contractor. - Credit: DCA21

Blue Sky Barn, Brancaster

What the judges said: "This is a stunning conversion of a disused agricultural building into a luxury private dwelling. The footprint and structural form are consistent with the original grain store, though the interior has been cleverly re-arranged to create vast dramatic living spaces that are surprisingly homely. Materials have been carefully selected and crafted to engineer a light, warm, yet industrial, aesthetic that references the former modern barn structure. Blue Sky Barn exemplifies a strong working relationship between a passionate client, dynamic architect and skilful contractor."

The judges described the building as a 'sharp, contemporary private home.'

The judges described the building as a 'sharp, contemporary private home that combines traditional materials with modern construction methods.' - Credit: DCA21

Wiveton Road, Blakeney 

What the judges said: "This is a sharp, contemporary private home that combines traditional materials with modern construction methods, within the constraints of a single storey building. Bold, angular external walls continue internally to form a large, open plan living space with a distinctive gull-wing roof. The orientation accommodates passive solar design and frames a unique, picturesque view of the local countryside."

The Lock Inn is currently working on plans to install solar panels and charging points for electric boats.

The Lock Inn is currently working on plans to install solar panels and charging points for electric boats. - Credit: DCA21

The Lock Inn - Locks Lane, Geldeston, Beccles

What the judges said: "This historic building could have been so easily lost to a developer, but at short notice a local group came together to save it and bring it back to life as a community pub. This was all the more of an achievement being done through the difficult times of the COVID-19 lockdown. We applaud the pub’s aims to be ‘socially generous and inclusive, and environmentally zero carbon’, for example they are currently working on plans to install solar panels and charging points for electric boats."

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