York handmade shortlisted for major award at brick oscars

The York Handmade Brick Company has been shortlisted for a major award in the prestigious 2019 Brick Awards.


Leading independent brickmaker York Handmade, based at Alne, near Easingwold, has been recognised for its work on the acclaimed new Loxley Stables self-build development near Tring in Hertfordshire.


Loxley Stables has been shortlisted in the Small Housing Development category.


The Brick Awards, which are organised by the Brick Development Association and are regarded as the Oscars of the brick industry, will be held at a glittering ceremony in central London on Wednesday November 13.


York Handmade Chairman David Armitage commented: “We were very proud to receive recognition for our work on Loxley Stables and to know that we have made it on to a highly competitive short list.


“We have an excellent history in the Brick Awards. We first won an award in 1995 with the Supreme Brick Building award for St Brigid’s Church in Belfast. We haven’t looked back since then, holding our own against our bigger and better-known competitors”.


Set in the original grounds of an early 16th century Grade II listed historic house stables, Loxley Stables is a stunning new development of three low-energy timber frame houses.


Mr Armitage explained: “Built around a communal garden, the scheme needed to address numerous challenges, including being sited in a conservation area, being on the edge of a flood plain, accommodating large archaeological digs due to the historic nature of the site, and ecological and great crested newt mitigation.


“Although the three houses are timber-framed, brick was an essential part of their design and construction. Our Galtres blend Maxima brick was chosen for its depth, colour tones and striking handmade texture which reflected the historical context and original 500-year-old farm house. It was also selected due to its durability on a relatively exposed site in terms of prevailing winds and a flood plain.”

Paul Thomas of architects Thomas and Spiers explained: “Given the historic nature of the immediate environment, we needed to work extremely closely with both the conservation team and York Handmade to identify a suitable brick.


“The handmade, tactile and textured nature of the brick ensured that the facades are wonderfully illuminated by the sun at different times of the day. The handmade brick slip details around the soffits, window returns, sills and cantilevered corner all enhance the handcrafted character of the buildings.


“David and Guy Armitage from York Handmade understood the brief and historic sensitivities, and rather than simply being a ‘supplier of bricks’, they became an integral part of the design process from the selection process to the intricate detailing.


“Numerous specials were effortlessly developed and produced by York Handmade to accommodate cantilevered corners, deep brick soffits to the south westerly facades and the barn owl boxes integrated into the soffits. As a result, the three houses nestle into the landscape and sit comfortably against the original farmhouse,” added Mr Thomas.


Meanwhile other York Handmade successes in the Brick Oscars include the company’s “magnificent achievement” in restoring the Belvedere and Queen Elizabeth Walled Garden at Dumfries House in Scotland in 2015, a pioneering restoration project masterminded by Prince Charles.


In addition the Belvedere was shortlisted in the Craftsmanship and Best Refurbishment Project categories, while York Handmade was also nominated for its work on Carmelite House on London’s Victoria Embankment.


York Handmade won a hat-trick of categories in 2012. The buildings which won the awards were: Four Oaks in Little Bedwyn, Wilts (Best Single House); Tupgill Cellar, near Middleham, North Yorkshire (Best Craftsmanship); and Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester (Specialist Brickwork Contractor).


In 2009 the company was short-listed for the Best Educational Building award for its work on De Grey Court at York St John University.