East Anglian architects win top national award

Feilden+Mawson have won a Civic Building of the Year Award for their design work on the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) HQ in Norwich.

The architectural practice, also based in the city, was presented with the Community Building award by the Society for Public Architecture, Construction, Engineering and Surveying (SPACES) for its work on Helimed House.

Prior to the new building’s opening, EAAA had been operating from three separate buildings on the site.

Feilden+Mawson was tasked with bringing all three teams together within one new multi-functional base.

The eco-friendly building was completed to a tight £8m budget last year, and includes space for rescue helicopters, and facilities where response teams can eat, sleep and unwind. It also includes a community hub, training and conference facilities, and an immersive training suite for clinical teams.

Erin Davidson, partner at Feilden+Mawson, said: “The building had to meet clinical and emergency needs, while also being able to function as a working office. It had to feel comfortable and welcoming, while also being practical.

“The project design, delivery and interiors were all part of one continuous concept from the outset.”

Submissions for the Civic Building of the Year Awards 2022 included projects that demonstrated engineering excellence and ingenuity, while also adding value to the communities they served. The SPACES awards are the only ones in the industry solely dedicated to construction projects in the public sector.

Speaking about Helimed House’s award, the judges said: This is a one-off building, with no templates or design guides to start from and it clearly demonstrated the skills of all the design team to develop a complex brief, interpreting and then delivering the clients expectations and aspirations.

“This facility not only provides well-resolved practical and fully functional emergency response operations, but it has also positively impacted the occupants, unifying the distinctly different functions of the administrative, clinical and helicopter staff. This project provides an exemplary example of high-quality building outcomes, driven through collaborative client, consultant and contractor working.

“Tested hard in operation, this building truly demonstrates the benefits of early-stage investment in the briefing process.”

EAAA CEO Matthew Jones said: “We are so proud that our Norwich headquarters has been recognised at the SPACES Awards. The design of Helimed House was brought to life by Feilden+Mawson following close consultation with all staff, and this has resulted in a building that is truly tailored to all our needs.”

“Helimed House provides great benefits to EAAA, not least offering a modern space that gives our employees a comfortable, collaborative and engaging working environment.

“This is essential because it ensures we can run the operational aspect of the charity efficiently, and also attract and retain excellent people who are the driving force in helping us raise the required £17m over the next year to deliver and develop this vital life-saving service.”

Feilden+Mawson’s award-winning design for EAAA Helimed House will be featured in the SPACES Yearbook along with F+Ms Ella May Barnes Building at Norwich Research Park and St Joseph’s Primary School, Bishop’s Stortford.

Helimed House also recently won Project of the Year at the annual Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) East Anglia Awards after being entered by mechanical and electrical systems consultants Johns Slater and Haward, who were also involved in the project.

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