Caring design lands architects top award

Left to right: Darren Blake and James Hopkinson at the award winning Castle Court.
Left to right: Darren Blake and James Hopkinson at the award winning Castle Court.

An architect firm has won a coveted industry award for its work on a residential scheme for the elderly.

North Shields-based Blake Hopkinson Architects scooped an RICS Renaissance Award for its work on Castle Court, a development providing independent living for over 55s in County Durham.

The firm helped to transform three run-down buildings into a state-of-the-art residential scheme which meets the changing needs of the elderly.

Working with the existing framework of the building, the team designed an innovative contemporary living space for the elderly which includes a range of communal facilities such as IT suites and cinemas and a shared courtyard garden.

Judges praised Blake Hopkinson’s vision and its ability to transform three obsolete buildings to create a high quality development which it is hoped will pave the way for more development of its type.

Darren Blake, co-founder of Blake Hopkinson Architects, said: “Architects like nothing more than a blank canvass from which to work but with this scheme we had to work within the constraints of an existing building so had to use innovative design ideas to remodel the buildings and ensure that the development met the changing needs of retirement living today.

“Other social housing providers are now looking to replicate the success we have achieved at Castle Court and are exploring ways of remodelling and converting existing buildings which no longer meet the needs of residents as opposed to demolishing and building from scratch – a far more costly and timely approach.”

He added: “Winning such a prestigious award for our work at Castle Court provides the team with the recognition they deserve as they have helped to create a flagship scheme at a fraction of the cost of a new build development.”