Plymouth architecture firm in the running for three awards

The Plymouth-based architects Form Design Group has been shortlisted for three awards for the innovation and excellence of their buildings.

The Nelson Project, a residential scheme in Plymouth, is on the shortlist for a Royal Town Planning Institute Planning Excellence award, as well as an Alternative Property Investment award at the Michelmores Property Awards.

The conversion of Higher Mill, an 18th-century building at Buckfast Abbey, is shortlisted in the Heritage category of the Michelmores awards.

The Nelson Project is a 24-apartment development, of which 12 of the flats were built by military veterans for their own occupation. These servicemen were trained in construction skills as they worked on the project, which laid the foundations for their future employment as well as giving them a secure rented home. Six of the remaining flats were intended for rent by people with learning disabilities, and the rest are general use affordable homes. The project was a partnership between the Community Self Build Agency charity, the local housing association DCH (now Liverty), Plymouth City Council, and the Homes and Communities Agency. In shortlisting it, the RTPI praised their “shared vision to deliver a flagship quality housing scheme, conceived to transform the lives of returning service veterans by helping to self-build their own homes”.

The category for which it is shortlisted in the Michelmores awards is a new one, recognising innovative and/or exceptional projects which may not be mainstream residential or commercial properties.

Graham Lobb, founder of Form Design Group, said:

“This building is the third to be delivered as part of a wider masterplan we developed for an area adjacent to Union Street. It helps to heal the fractured townscape on an important corner. The project team collaborated closely to deliver homes for a special group of people who can benefit from living within the Stonehouse community, close to the city centre.”

The Higher Mill project at the involved very different challenges, relating to the conversion of a Grade Two listed mill factory and warehouse into a flexible workspace. Buckfast Abbey dates back to 1018 and celebrates its millennium this year; it is still a working monastery. The design of the conversion reflects the setting and heritage of Higher Mill, and incorporates the original structures and the remains of the industrial machinery.

Graham said,

“This project presented a number of design challenges for us in repurposing a valuable group of buildings at Buckfast Abbey, sited within the Dartmoor National Park.”

“We sought to introduce a series of sensitive interventions which allow the historic structures to be appreciated whist providing a variety of workspaces for the tenants.”

The RTPI award-winners will be announced on May 24th, while the Michelmores ceremony is on June 7th.