Since 2011 it has been the practice of the Historic Buildings Committee to make an annual award in memory of HBC’s renowned founder-member and erstwhile chairman Kenneth Gravett. The aim is to present the Award (currently valued at £300) to a Kent-based architecture undergraduate whose work best displays excellence in the study of historic buildings. Components of the work must show sound observation, draftsmanship, presentation, powers of analysis and interpretation (see elsewhere for the detailed Specification).
In the first two years, the Award was open to Stage I (first year) students at the School of Architecture, University for the Creative Arts at Canterbury. An appropriate winner was identified in the inaugural year, but selection was more difficult in 2012, partly because the curriculum had moved away from an emphasis on draftsmanship skills.
In a bold move to ‘widen the net’ and allow a freer rein to imagination, it was decided to open the competition in 2013 to students in all three stages of the Architecture degree. The qualifying work was be to be carried out in the students’ own time and on subjects of their own choice. It was thought that opportunities for appropriate work would be presented during the School’s field trips.
In the event, the course tutor, Oliver Froome-Lewis, felt that the work of nine students was worthy of further consideration. HBC’s panel of judges ( Peter Lambert, Stuart Page ARIBA, Graham Horner and Bob Baxter ) assessed the sketch work-books. After careful assessment it came to the conclusion that, although some of the offered work was of high quality, none of the entries met all of the criteria of the Award. It was decided, therefore, not to present the Gravett Award this year. To acknowledge the amount of effort put into the entries, however, and to encourage participation in the competition in the coming year, the authors of the best work in each stage were presented with a cheque for £50 at the time of the School’s Prize Giving on 31st May. The recipients were: Alexander Liew, stage 1; Mariam Haladjian, stage2 and John Qerimi, stage 3.
The Award scheme is in an early stage of evolution. We are confident that, once the appropriate constituency of students becomes fully aware of the prestige, value and criteria of the Gravett Award, the prize will acquire the status and popularity that it deserves.