The Master’s House has won several architectural awards for its modern day restoration including:
- RIBA West Midlands Award 2016
- RIBA West Midlands Conservation Award 2016
- RIBA West Midlands Building of the Year 2016
- Heritage Award in the Celebrating Construction Awards 2015
- Highly Commended in the Existing Building Section of the Wood Awards 2015
- Highly Commended in the RICS Awards for Building Conservation 2016
- Commended for Excellence in the Built Environment in the Civic Trust Awards 2016
- Highly Commended in the Project of the Year category at the Construction News Awards 2016
Here’s how RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) described the restoration:
Located in the market town of Ledbury, The Master’s House, is a Grade II*-listed building, and one of the remaining fragments of the medieval St. Katherine’s hospital site, founded in 1232. Prior to this project, the exquisite timber-framed medieval structure at the core of this building was invisible to visitors, being encased in later Georgian and Victorian additions, and hidden away from view by poor quality 20th century internal adaptions.
Butler Hegarty Architect’s forensic exploration, imaginative reshaping, and painstaking restoration of this building, was supported throughout by the enthusiasm of the building’s band of local volunteer ‘friends’, and was sustained by the commitment of owner client, Herefordshire Council. Together they have successful integrated an accessible design into the historic fabric of The Master’s House, and reconnected the building to its context and local community.
The architects demonstrate commendable attention to detail and a fluent approach to design, combining careful and sensitive restoration of each main historic era of original construction, with modest and elegant contemporary insertions, and purpose designed furniture and fittings. Contractor Speller Metcalfe have achieved a high level of craftsmanship, with carefully repaired medieval timber frame, insulation of walls and new ‘second over’ roof using Hempcrete and clay tiles, use of lime plaster and natural finishes, and new internal timber joinery.
With new life breathed into it, the building now provides a library, a base for local authority and voluntary services, a visitor attraction, and starting point for orientation and interpretation of medieval Ledbury. In today’s challenging times for library services, the Masters House has achieved a 40% increase in library membership and book loans in its first year of operation, and has become adopted as a social hub by the local community. It demonstrates the potential of good architecture to enhance the civic life of the community.