Charlotte Penny, an alumna of the Master of Architecture (MArch) (RIBA Pt II) course, has won the ‘Highly Commended’ Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) Gus Astley Student Award.
She won the ‘Highly Commended’ prize for her dissertation titled ‘Conservation Theory and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings Manifesto: The Red House and the Contest Between the Theoretical and Practical Nature of Conservation’. As part of the prize, Penny received a £150 cash award and certificate.
The award was judged by Ben Cowell, Director General of Historic Houses, who said that the value of Penny’s work lay in exploring “how the National Trust’s approach compares against Morris’s conservation philosophy.”
The IHBC Gus Astley Student Awards are an annual event presented in memory of Gus Astley, former Membership Secretary of the IHBC. The awards are presented for outstanding items of taught coursework as part of either undergraduate or postgraduate courses. The subjects of the work must relate to one or more aspects of ‘Historic Environment Conservation’, including its evaluation, management or implementation.
Penny said about her achievement: “I am delighted to have received the ‘Highly Commended’ Gus Astley Student Award. I would like to sincerely thank the IHBC for the recognition and the opportunity to attend the Brighton School, as well as Dr Kate Jordan from the University of Westminster for her uplifting support and shared enthusiasm for my research.
“I very much enjoyed researching and writing my dissertation, in particular delving into archives and finding fascinating resources. The question of ‘the contest between the theoretical and practical nature of conservation’ was the subject of the dissertation, which centred on the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings’ Manifesto and more specifically with the ongoing conservation of the historic fabric at William Morris’s Red House.
“I learned that philosophy and practice appear to only touch the surface of conservation and as such, conservation cannot solely be considered as three dimensional; the fourth dimension of time must be taken into account. Many factors are involved in the consideration of conservation work and custodians have to balance a wide range of often conflicting constraints, whilst also acting as faithful guardians of the United Kingdom’s shared heritage."
She added: "I was delighted to have completed the MArch Architecture course at the University of Westminster. I am grateful to my tutors and fellow students for such and enjoyable time, all in which enabled me to produce a piece of work around a subject I am truly passionate about."
Dr Kate Jordan, Senior Lecturer on the Architecture BA Honours and Architecture MA courses said: “Charlotte mined a variety of sources to produce a thought-provoking analysis of contemporary conservation practice and theory. Her work makes a valuable contribution to the scholarship of architectural heritage.”