SES Engineering Services and its project partner teams entered the multi-million pound Vita Student Village, York and Newcastle’s North East Futures UTC (University Technical College) schemes in the Heritage Award for Restoration/Retrofit category.

The outright winner of the category, Vita Student Village, comprises 15 new and three listed buildings constructed on the former St Joseph’s Convent within sight of York’s city walls.

Combining the new and the old, the student village has an immense wow factor and has raised the bar significantly in student living in York.

While on site, great care was taken to allow the former occupiers of the convent, the Poor Clare’s nuns, access to an existing graveyard at all times, to the extent that they were able to hold a funeral while construction was ongoing.

Meanwhile, the UTC project, which comprises a five-storey new build and the listed Hawthorn Engineering Works dating back to 1831, home to the world-famous steam train, Stephenson’s Rocket, was highly commended.

Linking the building services in the Georgian workshop with the new building called for an innovative approach to ensure that they would be both aesthetically pleasing and use the latest technology including powered window actuators, motorised high-level blinds and an evocative lighting design.

The purpose of the RISE Awards is to highlight and reward the most pioneering initiatives in Research, Innovation, Sustainability and Enterprise and is hosted by the Leeds Sustainability Institute and the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Receiving high praise for both entries, when summing up on the night, the judges’ commented that:

“Both projects met the sustainability criteria in exemplary ways. They used brownfield land, recycled existing buildings, preserved architectural heritage, provided attractive working spaces and minimised the need for commuting.”

RISE Awards Judges

Speaking about adding further to its growing list of awards, Steve Joyce, Business Director North and Scotland, SES said:

“The RISE Awards are highly respected within the built environment. To walk away with a winner and a highly commended in the same fiercely contested category is fantastic and, I believe, well deserved for the ingenuity and hard work by not only SES, but the project partners we had the pleasure of working with across both developments.”

Steve Joyce
Business Director North and Scotland, SES