1 New Park Square (1NPS), in Edinburgh, was awarded Outright Winner at the prestigious Concrete Society Awards, which took place in London on Wednesday 15 November.
1NPS is the first landmark project for the wider vision of a low-carbon community of working, living, and leisure at Edinburgh Park.
The building echoes this philosophy through robust long-lasting materials, low energy in-use, supported by the use of an exposed concrete frame.
Edinburgh Park is an out-of-town business park in South Gyle, Edinburgh, Scotland. It is west of the city, near Edinburgh Airport and adjacent to the Edinburgh City Bypass. It was opened in 1995.
The layout of the park was masterplanned by American architect Richard Meier. In 2022, the owners announce plans to greatly expand the number of sculptures and develop the park as a cultural hub as well as a business district, starting with a movie themed bar and performance venue.
Some 400 members, guests and construction industry representatives attended The Concrete Society Awards Dinner held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel. The event celebrates excellence in the use of concrete and is one of the longest-running awards programmes in the UK construction industry, celebrating its 55th year. This year’s Society Awards ceremony, on 15 November, was hosted by broadcaster Marcus Brigstocke.
Judges from The Concrete Society’s Advisory Service visited all nominated projects – unique among construction awards programmes. The Society Awards are based on expert appraisal in person, not merely decided in committee. The Outright Winner was unanimously agreed by the judging panel, “Viewing the main reception to see the exposed concrete complemented by various forms of art and decoration is stunning.”
Stella Cochrane of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, the nominating company, said, “AHMM and the wider project team on 1 New Park Square – including the developer, Parabola; structural engineer, Woolgar Hunter Structures; contractor, Sir Robert McAlpine; and its subcontractors, Cidon and Border – are delighted to have been awarded the Outright Winner of the 2023 Concrete Society Awards.
Matt Hart, AHMM project lead and associate, added, “We are absolutely delighted to receive this important award, as it recognises and endorses the ambition of the project to minimise materials and eradicate finishes to create a lean but delightful piece of architecture. One that minimises wastage in construction and energy use in operation, while exposing what is beautiful. A hard-working architecture that is robust, enjoyable to use and will stand the test of time.
“The entire team worked hard through challenging circumstances with invaluable attention to detail and care with concrete being the centrepiece. This building is the first of many at Edinburgh Park and has set a high bar on what is achievable through collaboration and a shared vision.”
Four further projects were Highly Commended at The Society Awards Dinner:
DAMAC Tower, Nine Elms, London – nominated by WSP UK
The two 50-storey building is interconnected by a five-storey bridge and is sometimes referred to as the Jenga tower, due to its unique building silhouette in which the façades of the structure’s massing push and pull in and outwards. The project is a complex engineering feat made possible by concrete’s unique properties. The judging panel said, “The complexity behind this build is easily appreciated. The engineering involved is very complex and worthy of a commendation.”
Newlyn Coastal R&D project, Penzance – nominated by the Environment Agency
A field-based pilot project to evaluate the performance of various ecologically enhanced concrete armour units, which are designed to encourage the settlement of marine organisms, providing a carbon sink as well as withstanding high-energy wave conditions and providing shoreline stabilisation. The range of different concretes across the units will gain information on the material’s performance in these environments. Judges said, “Concrete serves an excellent functional purpose here and the project could lead to wider opportunities for the material’s development in this situation. This is truly an innovative project worthy of high praise.”
Osiers Road, Wandsworth – nominated by Techrete UK
This is a mixed-use development clad with multi-finish precast panels. The detailing and modelling are a testament to the planning involved to achieve the quality finish. The corner sections of the weave panels are remarkable. Judges described, “To get this amount of detailing is a testament to the planning involved.”
The Salvation Army New THQ, Denmark Hill – nominated by Davies Maguire
A new flagship office, built for The Salvation Army. It is a five-storey building, partially embedded into the sloping site and with a large central atrium. Exposed concrete ribbed slabs showcase a simple, clean and practical finish. The plain finish lift core walls are a good example of what The Society’s advisory team would reference and the judges added, “It would make a good reference for benchmarking. A fine example of visual concrete not over specified and practically achieved.”
The Concrete Repair Association also presented an award on the night, for Repair & Refurbishment. The winner was Concrete Repairs Ltd for its M6 River Dane Bridge (Area 10) Phases 1 & 2 repair project.
Kathy Calverley, Managing Director of The Concrete Society, said, “We are really pleased to be able to showcase once again the ‘best of the best’ in good concrete practice, both structurally and visually. There is constant innovation demonstrated in all of the projects and many of the features could only have be achieved because of the properties of that most versatile of materials – concrete. With such a high standard it was difficult to make the final decision and we felt that four projects were particularly notable. The Outright Winner though is definitely in class of its own.
“The Society would like to thank the project teams who took part, as we understand the effort and time it takes to put the submissions together. We also thank the judges who visit each shortlisted project to ensure the integrity of the most respected awards in the construction industry. And finally, a ‘thank you’ to all our sponsors – with a special mention to our Premier Sponsor, Sika – which enabled us to make the event such a success.”
A charity raffle was held at the Awards Dinner, raising money for CRASH, which delivers social impact to communities across the UK by helping homelessness charities and hospices with refurbishment and construction projects.
The Society’s 2024 Awards scheme will start in January 2023 and the competition will be open to structures completed between October 2022 and April 2024.