Last edited 24 Dec 2016

IHBC Gus Astley Student Award 2016

On 16 December 2016 the Institute for Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) announced the winners of the IHBC Gus Astley Student Award for 2016.

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The award is in memory of Gus Astley, former Membership Secretary of the IHBC, and is supported by the IHBC and the Gus Astley Memorial Fund. It is presented for an outstanding item of taught-coursework accepted as part of an under-graduate or post-graduate course about historic environment conservation.

The winners of the 2016 award were selected by Designing Buildings Wiki Chairman, David Trench CBE. David said, “This award encourages the promotion of best practice, raises standards, and helps those in the early stages of their careers. As chairman of the knowledge-sharing platform Designing Buildings Wiki, these are all themes that are very close to my heart.”

The winner was Hilary Wyatt, for her work on the IHBC-recognised conservation course at Cardiff University. Her submission was, ‘An Introduction to Historic Marine Infrastructure in Exposed Tidal Harbours; Construction, Plan Form, Materials and Repair in the Inter-tidal Zone’.

Assessing Hilary’s entry, David said, “It is not an easy subject to tackle, particularly in relation to historical records, but it manages to display a thorough grasp of the forces of the marine environment and the engineering solutions adopted, both historically and currently. There is also a great deal of original and creative thought based on the author’s research and observations. It is a valuable contribution to this specialist subject that has been overlooked as a conservation priority."

Hilary, a PhD Researcher at Cardiff, said: “As the effects of climate change accelerate, this issue poses an almost unique challenge to conservators and coastal managers who continue to maintain our coastal heritage, sometimes in extraordinary conditions. I’d like to thank all the engineers, harbour managers, trusts, and voluntary associations who generously shared their experiences of repair and recovery following the storms of 2014. I hope that my being awarded this prize contributes in some way to raising awareness of the specific issues we face in approaching the conservation of coastal structures.”

Hilary’s tutor, Oriel Prizemen, Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University, said: ‘The MSc Sustainable Building Conservation team at the Welsh School of Architecture are immensely proud of Hilary’s achievement, the quality of her dissertation reflects her deep understanding of the subject from a range of perspectives.

Also selected for commendation by David were:

  • Marc Pique i Gascon, from the IHBC-recognised conservation course at the University of Bath, for ‘quoting the scripts and the life and times of the author’s hero’, Gustavo Giovannoni, ‘and matching those with before and after photographs of good and not-so-good examples of restoration and conservation’.
  • Silvia Rossi, from the IHBC-recognised conservation course at the University of Central Lancashire, for her ‘comprehensive grasp of the UK planning process’, reaching ‘the inevitable conclusion that austerity budgets have reduced resources dedicated to conservation, and this has placed strains on the system’.

In addition, the Gus Astley Fund Trustee Selection for submissions deserving particular commendation were:

  • Andy Atkinson, for work carried out on the IHBC-recognised conservation course at the Anglia Ruskin University.
  • Tom Nancoll, for his dissertation submitted on the IHBC-recognised conservation course at Kingston University.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: “The IHBC can be especially proud of the selection of winners for 2016 as we have had a ‘clean sweep’ of all the awards by students working on our IHBC accredited, ‘Recognised’, conservation courses. This is especially relevant when the primary selection has been made by the hugely respected and emphatically development-focussed practitioner David Trench. When graduates from conservation courses recognised by the IHBC are consistently delivering heritage research that gains the admiration and respect of such independent figures as David, then we know we are doing things right!”

For more information see the IHBC News Blog.

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