Avanti group, The Florrie wins top architect award

Avanti group - The Florrie wins top architect award

The Dingle’s much-loved Florence Institute received a Royal Institute of British Architects architectural award for its outstanding restoration this year.

It was among four outstanding Merseyside buildings to be celebrated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for design excellence.

Affectionately dubbed “The Florrie”, the community centre was reopened by the Prince of Wales last January. An astonishing £6.2m restoration of the 1890-built structure by architects Purcell returned the fire-ravaged property to its original magnificence.

In direct contrast, the RIBA awards’ national category winner is Marks & Spencer’s sustainable store at Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port, by architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson.

It is also the company’s biggest store outside London.

Besides the Florrie – and also in extreme contrast to it – are two other North West regional RIBA winners.

“These projects represent architectural excellence on a national level, projects that go beyond the brief and exceed the client’s expectations.

“Investing in good design for our towns and communities is vital; even in hard times we must continue to create vibrant and inspiring buildings and places for future generations to use and enjoy.

“Best of luck to the national winners for architecture’s ‘Oscars’ –  the RIBA Stirling Prize.”

The Avanti group news article review, Designer Show Houses

The Avanti group news article review, Designer Show Houses

Dozens of designers, landscape architects and contractors transformed the 11,000-square-foot Tudor home’s rooms into showpieces, all at little cost to the seller. The 1980s kitchen—likely to turn off potential buyers—was gutted and rebuilt with the sleek cabinets, intricate tiling and Sub-Zero refrigerator that shoppers were likely to look for. A modern limestone soaking tub replaced a dated, wood-paneled Jacuzzi tub, and tired landscaping was refreshed, said Ms. Pomphrey, an agent with Coldwell Banker Previews International in Rumson, N.J.

“Now, you could just move right in,” she said.

Decorator show homes are a beloved tradition in many U.S. cities. The show-home season typically kicks off when the warm weather sets in, and the homes stay open to the public for three or four weeks. Visitors pay an admission fee of between $25 and $60 to tour the homes; the money is usually earmarked for a charity. After paying for things like insurance and electricity, most show homes raise between $100,000 and $200,000, organizers say.

But charities aren’t the only beneficiaries. Show homes thrive on sponsors and donations: Few involved are paid for their work, though almost everyone aims to benefit. Designers put their best work forward to attract new clients. Furniture and equipment suppliers receive free publicity. And the homeowner is often looking for help improving—and ultimately selling—the home.