It was with great delight I learnt earlier this week that two iconic London landmarks have won the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage, the Europa Nostra Awards, 2013. The London winners were named as Strawberry Hill and Kings Cross Station.
The buildings are markedly different from one another but they are each as deserving of this prestigious award. The Europa Nostra prize celebrates major achievements in sustaining Europe’s cultural heritage. Strawberry Hill and Kings Cross Station were in competition with 200 other projects and both received the award in the conservation category.
The award celebrates culture, architecture and great historical landmarks across Europe. Such landmarks are something we all appreciate but we can sometimes be guilty of forgetting to recognise their valuable contribution to society. The Nostra Europa prize reflects the growing pride and interest we take in European cultural heritage and these winners will undoubtedly be proud of their significant achievement, contribution and cultural investment they have made.
I am, of course, delighted that these two particular London landmarks have been awarded this prize – for which they both incredibly deserve to have done. Both sites had fallen into decay in different ways either socially or architecturally and required significant restoration. A combination of local community support and skilled partners worked hard to ensure the projects were completed to an extremely high quality.
For those who would like to read more I have included some details below or you can read more here.
Kings Cross station: Kings Cross Station was known for its depressing design and surroundings. It was certainly not a place to socialise; despite this it has played a major role in the UK’s rail and network history. The huge restoration of the station has transformed it into a hub where people can meet, eat, socialise and enjoy a spectacular architectural experience. The Judges said how impressed they were by many aspects of the transformed station including “the reversion of the Booking Hall to its former use, the innovation of a pub/restaurant in the Parcels Office, the newly-glazed and de cluttered train sheds, and the new track under the restored functions of the eastern range.”
Strawberry Hill: Dating from 1747 the gothic castle is a famous landmark both culturally and in the history of architecture. It had become seriously neglected, falling into decay and suffering even more from poor repairs. In 2007 a careful and painstaking detailed research and archaeology programme started. The judges of the Nostra prize applauded the ‘beautiful conservation’. The collection of stained glass and painted glass windows were rescued during the careful restoration.