Buxton Crescent restoration project wins national architecture award

The project to revive of one of Buxton’s most famous landmark buildings has been lauded with a national architecture award.

By Ed Dingwall
Monday, 18th October 2021, 3:06 pm

The Buxton Crescent hotel and thermal spa regeneration project claimed the title for best restoration in an urban setting at the 2021 Georgian Group Architectural Awards announced at a ceremony in London earlier this month.

The awards, now in their 17th year, celebrate those who have demonstrated the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings and landscapes and create new work in the spirit of the Georgian era across the United Kingdom.

David Adshead, director of the Georgian Group heritage charity, said: “The architectural awards are a highpoint in our year, when we can celebrate the vision, determination, creativity and skill of owners, architects and craftspeople.”

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After many years and millions of pounds, Buxton's Crescent hotel is helping to reassert the town's reputation as a visitor destination.

John Goodall, architectural editor at awards partner Country Life magazine, added: “After all the difficulties of the last 18 months these awards are particularly inspiring. They are also testimony to the perennial importance, interest and quality of our Georgian heritage.”

Built in the 1780s by John Carr of York for the Fifth Duke of Devonshire, the Grade I* Crescent was last used as a hotel, council offices and library until it was vacated in the 1990s due to structural problems and deteriorating conditions.

Multinational firm Curious Architecture and Interior Design was singled out for praise by the awards judges for the way its design had retained as much of the building’s historic fabric as possible, while adapting it for modern use.

With support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England, important interiors in the end pavilions were carefully restored – particularly the 18th-century interiors of the ballroom and card room in the east pavilion – as the main crescent, natural baths and pump rooms were transformed into a hotel, thermal spa and visitor interpretation centre.

Given it reopened in 2020, the first year has presented many unexpected challenges for the local visitor economy, but the £70million restoration has been lavished with the kind of praise that suggests it has a bright future.

Crispin Holborow, a director for awards sponsor Savills and a member of the judging panel, said: “We see on a daily basis how much Georgian architecture appeals to our clients. It is a significant part of our heritage and its preservation is immensely important.”

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