Townscape Awards 2023

Recognising excellence in built and green contributions to the townscape of the Borough of Kingston over the five years up to the present


The nominations have now closed – and thank you for your nominations (see the nominations here) – then head over to the People’s Choice page to vote for your favourite.

The Kingston Society Townscape Awards are the most prestigious accolade in Kingston for excellence in architecture and landscape, and they have served for many years as an essential component of the Society’s mission to maintain and elevate excellence in the development of the townscape of our beautiful part of London.

In 2023 the Society will again present its prestigious Townscape Awards recognising built and green developments which in the Society’s view have done the most to enhance the environment in the Royal Borough.

The nominated projects must be readily accessible to the public and are nominated by members of the public, or the Society, and the final selection is made by a panel of judges.

The Awards take the form of a framed certificate signed and presented by the Mayor as President of the Society at one of our regular Public Meetings. Past recipients have spoken of the high regard in which they hold them. Held in in memory of Tony Leitch and Neil Philpott, we are looking to you for nominations for this year’s awards, for exceptional contributions to the townscape of the Borough of Kingston over the five years up to the present in any of the following categories:

  • New Buildings of any size
  • Renovation of old buildings of distinction which have been refurbished and/ or sensitively extended.
  • Landscape: any feature that has made a contribution to the borough environment.
  • Greenscape: any feature that has ecology at the heart of its provision

If you know of a project that deserves to be considered to have best improved the appearance or enhanced the environment of the borough of Kingston in any of those categories, please submit a nomination as below:

  • For a project that will be completed by September 2023, and was started not earlier than January 2018
  • Describe it In 50 words or fewer, excluding entry details, accompany it with a photograph (camera snap is fine)
  • Provide the address of nomination
  • And the name of the owner, contractor and architects (but only if you have them)
  • Send it (or them) to the Awards Coordinator for Kingston Society: bob.phillips@blueyonder.co.uk or use the form below
  • Nominations to be submitted on or before Friday, September 15, 2023

The nominations will be judged by a panel to be appointed by the Kingston Society, and will be announced – winners in each of the four categories. In addition, there will be a “People’s Choice” award – a winner chosen by vote of all of the membership of the Kingston Society. The awards will be announced at the KS public meeting 18th October and the awards presented at the KS public meeting on 15th November 2023, at the Tiffin School.

We want to tap into your experience and discernment to make sure that all candidates for inclusion in the Awards are considered. We would be very grateful if you could devote a little of your time and imagination to this project.

THE AWARDS SCHEME HISTORY

The ‘newest jewels for our crown’. That is how the Surrey Comet, in a full-page illustrated feature, described the six buildings that in January 1989 earned the first of the Kingston Society’s new Townscape”Awards.

“An Awards scheme such as yours really does make people think twice about their local area, makes them realise that people care about it, and also makes them realise that it can change for the better.” Julia Thrift, Awards Manager, Civic Trust, 2001

The Awards, the brainchild of Tony Leitch, were to be made annually to developments that, in the societys view, had contributed most to enhancing the appearance and amenittes of the Royal Borough. The recipients were selected by a sub-committee from a shortlist of candidates nominated by members of the society. Their identity remained a closely guarded secret until they were announced at the AGM of January 1989 by the chairman, Neil Philpott, and presented by the Mayor, Councillor Mrs Marjorie Hartfree.

Those first Awards spanned offices, housing, a shop, a restaurant and a ramp for library wheelchair users. None were much-publicised ‘blockbuster’ projects: as Neil Philpott put it, ‘we hope to demonstrate that it is not expenditure or grand scale that makes for success in townscape, but imagination, pursuit of quality, and a resolve to provide buildings that are pleasing in appearance and useful to their occupants or to the public.’

Developers and architects expressed their appreciation of the Awards and told the meeting of the challenges they had faced and overcome. This remained a theme of Award ceremonies in subsequent years: genuine pleasure was demonstrated by each group of recipients that their work had won the Society’s accolade. Many premises in the town display in a prominent place the certificate which Tony Leitch designed and prepared for each recipient.

In 1990, the second year of the Awards, the Bentalls glass-sided bridge was honoured as ‘a piece of meticulous engineering which has become part of the new signature of Kingston’. More controversially, the Awards committee chose an indoor creation, recognising the Frobenius organ in All Saints’ Church as ‘a gracious experience in sight and sound’. Year by year, the range of projects widened. Awards went to a wavy ‘crinkle crankle’ brick wall beside the relief road, a doctor’s surgery, a pub, a hospital garden, a primary school and a University campus, a bus station and a railway station, the striking new Bentall Centre – and in 1999, giving the Society itself a pat on the back which nobody begrudged it,the Bandstand in Canbury Gardens.

In 2002 the Awards became a biennial rather than an annual event, and since then the roll of Award-winners has embraced a mosaic in Castle Street, a traffic-calming ‘homezone’ in Norbiton, Kingston Grammar School’s new Performing Arts Centre, and the Tiffin Boys’ School’s new Learning Resource Centre whose Judge Lecture Theatre became in 2005 the venue for Kingston Society meetings.

In 2008 the Townscape Awards were renamed the Tony Leitch Townscape Awards in honour of their originator.

After a joint meeting with the Kingston Horticultural Society in 2009 it was decided that the next Awards ceremony should include a presentation of ‘Greenscape’ Awards for landscape features showing excellence of design, suitability of planting, sustainability and ease of maintenance. After the first successful joint presentation of Townscape and Greenscape Awards in November 2010 it was agreed that further Greenscape Awards should be made whenever they are deemed appropriate.

For a full list of previous winners please see here

PREVIOUS WINNERS

Tony Leitch Townscape Awards 2017

In 2017 the improvement in design standards in the preceeding years was indicated by our choice of six worthy winners from among eleven nominations.

ALEXANDRA PUB

Architect: Matt Allchurch

Some of the best Victorian buildings in our town are banks and pubs. Selling alcohol and usury make you rich enough to afford substantial buildings. The banks are now restaurants and pubs are closing so these buildings require new uses. The Alexandra pub is a fine example which we might have lost. It has been beautifully restored as six flats. Flat No 1 has a very grand entrance, No 2 round the corner not so grand, not helped by the diagonal drain pipe A neat extension has been added as the entrance to 3,4,5 and 6. Either side of the pub new houses have been built perfectly in tune with the existing building, not pastiches but in the manner of the period. It is good to see such care taken for a fine old building.

CHRIST CHURCH NEW MALDEN NEW CHURCH HALL

Architect: Roger Molyneux

This is unapologetically modern. The use of timber brick and rendering sit well with the old hall which has been given a face lift. The car park feels more like a small town square. On Trapps Lane the hall complements the stone church Round the back the new building still looks good with its soft sedum roof. The new vicarage is small in scale, and of simple materials, the roof pitch echoing that of the church beyond. The careful composition of the disparate parts has produced a harmonious whole

KINGSTON COLLEGE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES CENTRE

Architect: Hugh Bennett
Hamson Barron Smith

On Richmond Road was the old Penny School, a simple honest Georgian building, a relic of the best English intent, a school for the common child, So much has been lost in Kingston I fought tooth and nail to have it preserved but failed. I have come to terms with the loss and found closure and can look at the new building without pain. It is a thoroughly worthwhile building. It has an interesting window patter and use of brickwork. It turns the corner well. It is a really good building which enhances its site Once again good uncompromising modern design against old works well and the junctions between the two are properly handled.

117 LONDON ROAD

Architect: Andrew Simpson
IDP Architects

A showroom for Topps Tiles with flats over. The solid ground floor walls could have been a blank area of plain brick but the architects have broken up the surface using bricks of a different colour and panels of knapped flint reflecting the nearby Lovekyn Chapel. Panels and windows on the upper floors line up coherently, the wall plane recedes and advances to modulate the façade and the glass balconies catch reflections of the clouds. It all works beautifully and logically. This building has a quiet elegant modesty which is a delight to behold.

9 CRESCENT ROAD KINGSTON

Architect: John Dyer Grimes

When walking up Crescent Road to Kingston Hill one encounters a mixture of respectable housing, modern, Victorian and an Edwardian house hard up against a demure, late Georgian cottage. I delight in these juxtapositions and was horrified to see a planning application to demolish this house and replace it with a copy of its neighbour. I objected. Nobody, I thought, could copy the detail of its exuberant neighbour, and yet they have. Every last column, capital, moulded brick mullion, transom and glazing bar has been reproduced with perfect verisimilitude. We have the most splendid pair of semis in the whole borough. We congratulate the client for determination, the architect for meticulous attention to detail and the craftsmen for their fine workmanship. Together they have wrought a miracle.

Tony Leitch Townscape Awards 2015

SURBITON HOSPITAL SITE REDEVELOPMENT

Surbiton Hospital was built in the thirties in then fashionable Art Deco style although the buildings were far from distinguished. The hospital was much loved by the local community, largely for the health facilities that it provided, although as time went by these became outdated. Furthermore, the site was grossly under developed and a decision was made to demolish the buildings and replace them with a Health Centre which includes clinics and two GP practices, and a much needed school, Lime Tree Primary school.

South London Health Partnership was the developer and one firm of architects designed both buildings. Naturally enough the two buildings are of a similar bright modern character, well worthy of our award.

Developer: South London Health Partnership Architect: Paul Gooderson of Roberts Limbrick

27a OLD LONDON ROAD, KINGSTON

This undistinguished corner building, behind Wilkinsons, houses in its ground floor the very successful Princess Alice Hospice furniture shop. The then owners, Country Designs (Godalming) Ltd, decided to upgrade it prior to selling it on.

The Architects boldly clad the exterior of the building with tiling and this, together with new fenestration, has raised the building from mediocrity to a stunning tour de force which can be appreciated from as far away as Clarence Street.

Developer: Countrywide Designs (Godalming) Ltd Architect: Trinder Architectural Ltd

ALL SAINTS CHURCH KINGSTON

All Saints Church has been at the centre of the community for centuries and still attracts substantial congregations Sadly it has suffered from the passage of time and has only recently been able to afford to have substantial works of refurbishment carried out, including much needed lavatories.

The interior has been totally replanned. The east end is now largely for secular use, whilst the altar has been moved to the centre of the nave. The font now stands at the heart of the ancient church under the tower. The results are stunning The old north entrance has been re-established, so that the north/south axis enables the public to pass through the church, linking it into the very fabric of the market town.

Rector: Jonathon Wilkes Architect : Ptolemy Dean

HILTON HOTEL KINGSTON

The huge residential development on the site of the old Power Station is now virtually complete The overall scheme is still controversial but we feel that the Hilton Hotel, in the South East corner, is well worthy of an award.

Although a part of gigantic block the architects have managed to give it a character of its own. It is a striking building, beautifully detailed, and turns the corner well.

Developer: NHP Leisure Developments Architect: Brookes Architects

STUDENT ACCOMODATION 1 PENRHYN ROAD

A rash of buildings has recently appeared in the Borough to house students, not necessarily for Kingston University but in accordance with Boris Johnson’s edict that students should not be housed in Central London but in the outer suburbs. As Kingston has excellent transport facilities it is obviously a good place for such buildings.

We believe that this building stands out for the quality of its overall design and attention to detail, compared to its neighbours.

Developer: Penrhyn Road Devco Ltd Architect: Carey, Jones, Chapman Tolcher

UF HOUSES ULLSWATER CLOSE KINGSTON

Mark Lawson bought a house next door to his own in Ullswater Close and, in 2007, was granted planning approval to erect a pair of semi-detached Huf houses. This caused absolute outrage from Councillors but, particularly from the local Ullswater community. So when Mark submitted applications for further Huf houses he was met by furious protests. To cut a long story short, over the period of time five further applications were submitted and bitterly opposed.

A history ensued of refusal, and appeal culminating in an application for two further houses being approved. We believe that the opposition to previous schemes because they did not fit in was unjustified as the Huf design is exceptional Anyway, common sense has prevailed and the result is a group of modern houses as good as any in the world.

Owner: Mark Lawson Architect: Peter Huf

Tony Leitch Townscape Awards 2013

CANBURY STUDIO, Canbury Park Road

The design is interesting. The restricted view from the street induces curiosity and must help to draw clients in. The clean timber cladding gives it a softness when viewed from neighbours’ houses.

St Raphael’s Roman Catholic Church, Portsmouth Road

The composition of the Italianate church with its prominent central tower and recessed side wings is one of the more delightful features when approaching Kingston along the Portsmouth Road. It has been beautifully restored externally and internally. The sun glinting on the gilded cross surmounting the tower is a sight to behold. Behind the southern pavilion a new church hall has been added, which is perfectly in character with the main building.

Latchmere School Sports Hall, Latchmere Road

The original thirties single storey school in red brick has been delightfully extended at the west end in a similar style. This project, however, is separated from the main complex and, as it is completely different in scale and function it seems acceptable to design it in a contrasting style which makes its own mark. The design is well thought out and uses well detailed timber and glass to advantage in a truly contemporary manner.

THE KEEP, King’s Road

The stonework has been restored and replaced where necessary, the windows, once a hotchpotch of different styles, have been replaced with consistent sashes. The central arch, originally the formal entrance to the barracks, has been kept open. Though now converted to apartments one would hardly know that any alteration had occurred and it looks better than it has for many years.

Queenswood Court, Kingston Hill

A modest but decently designed shop and building above on the corner of Kingston Hill and Queens Road has been extended in a respectful manner. Reference is also made to the adjoining houses in Queens Road. By using a mixture of render and brickwork , and incorporating simplified Victorian details, a building has been produced that fits in perfectly without resorting to pastiche. The Architect, in this case, is also the developer which, I venture to suggest, may have contributed to its success.

River Island Retail Store, Clarence Street

The Architects for this new store have brilliantly designed a thoroughly modern building with clean rectangular lines and exquisite detailing. It is not easy to be different in a modern style without being brash but this shining example shows how it can be done with style and even dignity. We also noted that the roof and rear of the building are covered with a multitude of solar panels

Do you know a building suitable for this award?

Let us have your thoughts

Last Updated on September 17, 2023 by Kingston Society