2 March 2006
At the launch on 1st March of the 2006 Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award, CABE is urging MPs to support high quality design in their constituencies, publishing a new guide showing how good design can drive the delivery of public services.
Now in its sixth year, the Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award - jointly sponsored by CABE and the Office of Government Commerce - recognises both design and procurement excellence in building projects from across the public sector. All those who have procured a public building, such as head teachers, directors of NHS Trusts and local council leaders, are being urged to seek recognition for their new buildings by entering them for the award.
CABE has also produced a design guide for parliamentarians, Buildings and spaces: why design matters, on the ways that good design can make a difference to people's quality of life. It calls on MPs and peers to raise awareness of the benefits of quality design, and pushes for stronger recognition of design quality in policy formulation. CABE is asking MPs to:
An event at Westminster to launch the Award and the design guide will take place on 1 March 2006. Addressing MPs and peers at the event, the Rt. Hon. Tessa Jowell MP, as the government's design champion, says:
'Design matters. The Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award recognises, celebrates and publicises high quality architecture in the public sector. By showing what good design can do there, we aim to raise design standards across the construction industry. Tonight marks the call for entries for the 2006 award. I greatly look forward to presenting the award to the winning project later this year'
Speaking at the event on 1 March, CABE Chair John Sorrell describes the people who commission excellent new public buildings as 'unsung heroes'.
'These are the individuals who can make the difference between a project being mediocre or excellent. It's about the courage of an individual who understands the importance of a design, and shows the determination and leadership to take risks and go that extra mile to achieve it.'
'People like Councillor Daniel Moylan, Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. When he fought for the removal of 700 metres of guard railing as part of the superb redesign of Kensington High Street, he was acting courageously, as this was against officer recommendations and raised issues for the council about liability and risk. In fact that project has reduced the number of accidents as well as leading to a much better environment for shoppers. We need a new wave of heroes for a new generation of public buildings.'
Another unsung hero quoted by John Sorrell is Tom Dacey, Chief Executive of Southern Housing Group, who uses good architects and a lot of consultation with residents to provide great homes. Two of Southern Housing Group's schemes have won gold standard in the Building for Life awards.
Launched in 2000, the Prime Minister's Award has gone from strength to strength, with a record 140 entries in 2005. Last year's winner was the Jubilee Library in Brighton, which has seen visitor numbers and book loans triple since opening. Previously shortlisted schemes have included roads, flood defence schemes and public toilets as well as schools, hospitals and libraries.
John Oughton, chief executive of the Office of Government Commerce said:
'OGC is proud of its association with CABE in sponsoring this prestigious award. There is a growing recognition of the role that good design can play in ensuring optimal value for money in public sector projects, and ultimately in delivering high-quality public services. I encourage people involved in public sector procurement to come forward with their entries.'