Piece Hall started week with Tour depart - and ended it with awards hat-trick

Halifax Civic Trust award winners, including Calderdale Council's leader Councillor Tim Swift and Chief Executive of The Piece Hall, Nicky Chance-Thompson, front. Awards were presented by the Mayor, Councillor Ferman Ali, front left
Halifax Civic Trust award winners, including Calderdale Council's leader Councillor Tim Swift and Chief Executive of The Piece Hall, Nicky Chance-Thompson, front. Awards were presented by the Mayor, Councillor Ferman Ali, front left

Halifax Piece Hall is celebrating adding a hat-trick of awards to accolades it has already received since it re-opened last August following a major three-year £19 million restoration.

The Grade I listed building started the week by hosting the final stage depart of the Tour de Yorkshire and ended it with three prestigious awards for its outstanding transformation.

The Piece Hall came top in this year’s international Lighting Design Awards (LDA) and the Halifax Civic Trust Awards, and was named one of the top 10 Industry, Trade and Commerce places in Historic England’s campaign, Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places.

Council leader Councillor Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said they all helped enhance the former Georgian cloth hall’s international appeal, bringing more visitors into Calderdale.

“Awards like these really cement The Piece Hall’s place on the map as an amazing international destination.

“They showcase the incredible work that has gone into all aspects of the building’s transformation, and the fantastic efforts of everyone involved in securing its future.

“It’s wonderful, but not surprising, that The Piece Hall has now either won, been shortlisted for or been entered into a whopping 15 awards, just nine months after reopening,” he said.

Chief Executive of The Piece Hall, Nicky Chance-Thompson, said it was wonderful that the “brilliant” work of the transformation project and The Piece Hall Trust has been recognised.

“Our team is focused on creating an international destination and ensuring that The Piece Hall’s potential as a world-class visitor attraction is fully realised.

“The nine months since The Piece Hall re-opened have been more successful than we ever imagined.

“Winning awards such as these, hosting amazing events like the recent Tour de Yorkshire, our upcoming May bank holiday weekend, and the fact that we are fast approaching two million visitors, demonstrates that The Piece Hall is going from strength to strength.”

The Piece Hall transformation was made possible by funding from Calderdale Council, a generous £7 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation.

It is now run by The Piece Hall Trust, an independent charity, set up to run The Piece Hall for public benefit and to ensure the building’s sustainable future.

The lighting scheme was a significant part of the council’s vision for the future of The Piece Hall, designed to be both practical and sensitive – to showcase the building’s classical structure and historical features and to illuminate the central courtyard, steps, seating and water features.

The scheme enhances the experience of visiting The Piece Hall at night, aiming to make it a beautiful place to be throughout the day and into the evening. The lighting design was carried out by BuroHappold Engineering, working with LDN Architects.

It won the LDA Community and Public Realm Project of the Year category after being one of only two UK projects to be shortlisted and standing out from over 300 entries from across the world.

Amy Rennie, senior lighting designer at BuroHappold, said: “This award is a credit to all of the teams involved for believing in the design concept, and making it a reality. We are very proud of this award which recognises quality of design for communities and its people.”

As a result of Historic England’s national campaign, Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places, which aims to find the 100 places that bring England’s rich and extraordinary history to life, Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A Museum, judged the Industry, Trade and Commerce category, and selected The Piece Hall from hundreds of nominations to take pride of place.

It has been included in this list because of its significance as the oldest remaining cloth trading hall in England, described by Tristram Hunt as the “Piazza San Marco of Yorkshire”, embodying the vital importance of the cloth trade to the pre-industrial economy of Yorkshire, from the Middle Ages through to the early 19th Century.

Halifax Civic Trust chose The Piece Hall as one of the winners of its 2018 awards – alongside Princess Buildings and Square Chapel – after being impressed by the Georgian building’s transformation into a modern venue with improved access and links to the rest of the town, new heritage and learning spaces and a stunning courtyard for events and performances.

Mayor of Calderdale, Councillor Ferman Ali, presented the award to the Piece Hall team at Halifax Town Hall during a civic reception in the Mayor’s Parlour.

The Piece Hall has also been shortlisted for this year’s Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Regional Building Excellence Awards – the largest business-to-business awards in the building control sector, which recognise quality in all types of construction project.