Earlier in the month we were down in London for the Natural Stone Awards. These awards are run every two years by the Stone Federation of Great Britain to recognise the best in the natural stone sector.
There were over 350 people there reflecting the diversity of the stone industry – architects, engineers, main contractors, specialist masons and stone suppliers.
There had been a record number of entries, so we were highly honoured to be receive the award for the best New Build Traditional-style Stonemasonry for our new build St. Comghan’s Chapel.
We had heard through the grapevine that the visiting judge had described it as “a little gem of a building” but it was great to read their citation:
“The Judges felt this chapel, with its historic reflections, modern interpretations, unique setting, and the quality of craftsmanship in traditional rubble, ashlar and carved detail flawlessly exercised, is an exemplary project.”
“Internally the spectacular, uplifting and spiritually moving space is achieved through accurately worked Blaxter barrel vaulting, with a precisely detailed half-domed apse, set on granite rubble base work.”
Awards are not why we do what we do but the recognition is definitely the cherry on the cake – or maybe the finial on the spire. The confirmation that others think what you are doing is good is the perfect antidote to imposter syndrome.
There was a broad range of projects showcased both traditional and modern, new build and restoration. There was structural stone, cladding, internal floor and wall finishes and the stone was rough, polished or intricately carved. The full range can be seen in the programme.
One particularly interesting project which caught my eye was a beautiful post-tensioned floating stone stair by Carvero which combined traditional stonemasonry with structural techniques more common in reinforced concrete to achieve a result like a traditional penchecked stair but free from any supporting walls.
There was a very strong Scottish performance at the awards with 4 awards given including two category winners. There is a huge market for natural stone in Scotland with 290,000 tonnes used every year but less than 10% of this is Scottish stone (statistics from the British Geological Survey).
It was surprising to find that we weren’t the only new build private chapel represented. There is obviously a market out there to be tapped. If you are looking for one you know who to come to!
Back in the office, it’s back to work on stone detailing for a replacement carved pineapple finial for the entrance to a castle service courtyard. Meanwhile on site we have a whin clad new extension to a holiday house on the shores of Loch Rannoch and our Building Surveyors are working on various masonry repairs to tenemental properties.
So whatever stone project you are thinking of new build, extension, alteration or repair please get in touch. Maybe we can share an award with you in two years’ time.