Nottingham wins CABE-backed space award
19 October 2008
Nottingham Old Market Square has been awarded the first RIBA CABE Public Space award.
Old Market Square, the stunningly refurbished public space in the centre of Nottingham, is the first winner of the RIBA CABE Public Space award.
The award, announced at the Stirling Prize dinner on 11 October, goes to the scheme's designer, landscape architect Gustafson Porter, along with a cash prize of £5,000.
CABE sponsors the new prize, recognising a new or revamped publicly accessible space from among RIBA award winners.
Old Market Square has been transformed from an unloved, traditional city square - once labelled locally as 'Slab Square' - into an inviting public space. The elegant design features bands of terracing and ramps leading to and from water features, and a new city wall marker.
The Gustafson Porter design features clear geometry and clean lines, with flexible spaces accommodating markets and public events. The easy, flat surfaces and generous seating improve accessibility.
Nottingham beat off competition from two other shortlisted schemes: the Royal Festival Hall public space on London's South Bank, and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
The awards jury included CABE Space director Sarah Gaventa, Tony Edwards of Place and RIBA head of awards Tony Chapman.
Sarah Gaventa points out that this space has a history going back 800 years. 'It is connected to the wider area without compromising the visual integrity of the central space.
'The new square is also doing much to rid the city of its violent image in the media. The community has clearly given life to the square - it feels like a constant cabaret and a great source of visual excitement. It is a worthy first winner of this important new award.'
CABE supported Nottingham City Council in the early stages of the project, offering enabling support to a public realm design competition. On CABE's suggestion, the competition process gave designers the opportunity to meet community stakeholders. A CABE commissioner chaired the competition's judging panel.