3 Herts grand designs up for RIBA awards

Interior of Criss Cross House in Green Belt in St Ippolyts 

Interior of Criss Cross House in Green Belt in St Ippolyts - Credit: @studiostagg

A temple, a farm worker's cottage and a GP surgery in the county have all made it on to this year's prestigious RIBA Awards shortlist. 

Three very different but equally outstanding architectural projects in Hertfordshire have caught the attention of judges at the Royal Institute of British Architects. Criss Cross House by Ashton Porter Architects, Shree Krishna Haveli at Bhaktivedanta Manor by Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture, and Central Surgery by Hawkins\Brown have all been shortlisted for the 2022 RIBA Awards for the east region. 

The timber clad and glass extension at Criss Cross House gives wide views over surrounding farmland 

The timber clad and glass extension at Criss Cross House gives wide views over surrounding farmland, while light pours into the much expanded cellar space below ground - Credit: @studiostagg

The Criss Cross House project is a timber-framed and clad addition to a 19th century farm worker's cottage overlooking fields on three sides in St Ippolyts near Hitchin. 'These powerful views form the organisation of the addition which forms a link between the existing house and a detached outbuilding,' the architects explain. The ground floor side, rear and internal walls of the existing house were 'carved out' to create, with the new addition, a panoramic living space, transforming the modest cellar spaces of the original cottage.

Interior of the Sri Krishna Haveli at Bhaktivedanta Manor 

Interior of the Sri Krishna Haveli at Bhaktivedanta Manor - Credit: Anthony Coleman

Bhaktivedanta Manor in Aldenham is the home of the Hare Krishna movement in the UK, gifted to the community by Beatle George Harrison in 1973. It is a large Grade I listed building used as a temple for worship, weddings and blessings. The new project at the site is a two-storey 'haveli' in the ornamental gardens. The building offers 'new worship and community facilities to meet the growing needs of the Hindu community both locally and nationally,' say the architects. 

Central Surgery lobby in Sawbridgeworth

Central Surgery was designed in partnership with GPs - Credit: Jack Hobhouse

Central Surgery in Sawbridgeworth was created on a strict budget, as fees and construction rates are capped for NHS healthcare facilities. The architects worked closely with GPs on the extension and major refurbishment of the surgery, saying: 'The design of a healthcare premises should express a safe, professional image of the health service, raise staff morale and exude a positive atmosphere to visitors. Central Surgery demonstrates that these qualities, through creative design, need not be expensive.'

RIBA east regional director, Louise Todd, said of the 22 shortlisted projects: 'Given the challenges of the past two years, we were thrilled to see a significant number of entries to the RIBA East Awards this year. The shortlisted schemes across the region demonstrate the determination and design skill of all the practices involved, on projects large and small and across all sectors.

'They also show the enormous value that architects bring to these projects and how their expertise can be used to create better spaces for people to live, work and experience. My thanks to all the practices and clients that have submitted their projects this year.' 

All shortlisted projects will be assessed by a regional jury, and the winning projects will be announced in early May. Regional winners will be considered for several special awards including the RIBA Sustainability Award and Building of the Year as well as a RIBA National Award, the results of which will be announced in the summer. The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for best building of the year will then be judged from the national award-winning projects, and announced in October.