SGP’s Leicester Synagogue heritage centre wins prestigious civic award
SGP is delighted to have won the Leicester Civic Society’s Design Award for best new build project for our design for the Victorian Grade II listed Highfield Street Synagogue in Leicester. The project created an expansive glazed foyer to link the existing Synagogue and teaching building together, with improved ancillary accommodation at the rear.
SGP’s Leicester Studio Director Kanti Chhapi accepted the award on 17 September from Richard Allsop at the Leicester Civic Society Heritage Annual Awards Ceremony.
Explains Kanti: “I am delighted to receive this award as a recognition of SGP’s commitment to delivering Leicester Civic Society’s belief that “quality regeneration and imaginative modern architecture can co-exist alongside the older fabric of the city.” Our win validates the efforts made by all involved and confirms that we have struck the right balance to intervene whilst preserving and enhancing an important Leicester landmark.”
With the title ‘Sharing Jewish Heritage in Leicester’, SGP’s design for our client, The Leicester Hebrew Congregation, was delivered under a Heritage Lottery Funded scheme to meet the needs of the local Jewish community and to aid a drive to provide education support and cross-cultural understanding within the city and wider context.
Beyond the challenges posed by a very constricted site, heavy storms and the Coronavirus pandemic, Kanti explained how SGP’s team also grappled with the requirements of the Jewish faith, including designing a Mikvah bath in the basement, fed by rainwater from the roof, released by the Rabbi at the appropriate time via a specially commissioned wooden “plug”.
During his speech, Kanti also thanked those involved, including Leicester Hebrew Congregation, main contractor Brown and Shaw, structural engineers PRP, cost consultants RJA and everyone at SGP that worked on the project.
Concludes Kanti: “We have been especially pleased on how well the scheme has been received within the local community and the appreciation that it has gathered. We believe we have managed to pay due respect to the two main familiar faces of the building – of the Synagogue and the Classroom – and they are now physically joined together with a new, third face that welcomes and symbolises the connection of communities.”
The building had its official opening on the 21st July 2022, performed by the Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth – Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.