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Heritage Trust Awards presented for architectural projects, a documentary and a TV series

Pics by Eyleen Gomez

The Gibraltar Heritage Trust held its annual Heritage Awards with awards presented to projects which have preserved heritage value in renovations, a documentary and a TV series.

The Awards were presented in four separate ceremonies at the Main Guard in John Mackintosh Square on Friday morning.

This year five properties received a group award, two properties received individual awards and a further three heritage commendations were awarded.

“It should be acknowledged that standards of projects nominated are rising year on year making it harder to select the top awards each year. This bodes well for the future of quality heritage restoration and promotion projects in Gibraltar,” said the Chairman of the Trust, Dr Keith Farrell.

The awards were presented by the Minister for Heritage, Dr John Cortes.

The first Group Heritage Award was presented to representatives of the Benatar-Valverde family, namely Odette Benatar, Robyn Benatar-Valverde and Amy Benatar-Valverde for the works carried out to The Queen’s Picture House which continues and celebrates the legacy and nostalgia of the Queen’s Cinema and the movie-going public.

“The business has sensitively converted a vault at Casemates Barracks into a fine dining establishment with the added element of a cinema room for movie viewings and private hire,” said Dr Farrell.

Producer and Director Stephen Cumming received the next award, a Heritage Commendation, to Legacy Productions for the documentary ‘Times of Closure’ which explores and documents the impact of the frontier closure.

“The work is an important contribution to the social and political history of Gibraltar,” said Dr Farrell.

Bassadone Automotive World received a Group Heritage Award for its work to 78 Queensway, the site of Dockyard warehouses now converted for use by the Bassadone Automotive Group.

“This set of stone warehouses has been restored and the requirements of the BAG operation designed around the building’s features and industrial installations,” said Dr Farrell.

“Features include, a gantry crane that has been retained and converted in to a bridge, the refurbishment and adaptation of cranes for continued use, fittings such as vintage lampshades reused, restoration and clever reuse of the wooden cobbles that made up areas of flooring, as well as interventions to keep original staircases in situ and in use. From the outset the project had the heritage value of the buildings as one of the central considerations to the design.”

The award was received by the representative of the Bassadone Automotive Group, Martin Figueras.

Another Group Heritage Award was awarded to XAPO Bank, located at 1-2 Casemates Vaults for the conversion of these vaults and the area behind them into the international headquarters for their business.

“The site of the ex-Gibraltar Crystal factory is unrecognisable in that the vaults have been totally reformed into the banking meeting rooms and facilities whilst restoring and retaining the heritage value of the site. In the process new discoveries were made of elements surviving from the medieval period and even the discovery of an extra room,” said Dr Farrell.

“The finished product sets the bar very high for future conversions and adaptions of the Barracks and the space behind it.”

The award was received by Albert Rocca, CEO, and Frankwin van Kleef.

A Heritage Commendation was awarded to Kastaluna Communications and Dr Darren Fa for the TV Series ‘Fortress of Fortresses’ and ‘A Place in Time’.

“Both documentaries look at Gibraltar’s evolution as a Fortress City and the changes that time has effected on it. ‘Fortress of Fortresses’ ran to two series and explored Gibraltar’s defences and artillery pieces in depth whereas, in ‘A Place in Time’, Dr Fa and Keith Madeira looked into features that have disappeared using GIS technology to locate and explore their stories further,” said Dr Farrell.

“Both series were commissioned and aired by GBC and have served to raise awareness about this element of our heritage.”

The award was received by Dr Fa, Mr Madeira, and Eugenio Robles, in the presence of Paula Latin, GBC Head of Television.

Another Individual Heritage Award was awarded to Villa Bernadette for its careful recent restoration and refurbishment that keeps and enhances the character of this building.

“Built in 1892 and kept as the family home for four generations, the building has undergone a number of alterations and refurbishments throughout its history, however the family ethos has been to maintain the heritage features and character. Its latest renovations have seen the window sympathetically upgraded, restoration of the stone and ironwork and many other internal features retained,” said Dr Farrell.

The award was received by Gina Hill on behalf of the family, in the presence of Richard Hill.

Also receiving an Individual Heritage Award was 1 North Pavilion Steps for its sensitive restoration and extension.

“One of a row of mid-19th Century properties, it has been lovingly restored and extended sensitively whilst enhancing and respecting original fixtures and fittings. From the tiled floor in the entrance hall, to the fireplaces, moulded ceilings and fireplaces, coal chute, bannisters and door handles, it has all been respected whilst also extending the property to cater for modern day family life,” said Dr Farrell.

The award was received by owners Charles Simpson and Andrea Simpson.

A Group Heritage Award was awarded to Carrick House, 6 St. Christopher’s Alley for the restoration and sensitive extension of this late 19th Century ex-Officer’s Quarter into a family home.

“The project has been achieved in a way that respects and promotes the original features of the property whilst providing extra space in a discrete way,” said Dr Farrell.

The award was received by Alfie Bassadone in the presence of Alfred Bassadone and Francis Trico.

A Group Heritage Award was awarded to La Gendarmerie for the conversion and extension of the Victorian era Police Station into office space, encompassing public access and amenity on the ground floor in terms of an exhibition space.

“The project has retained the custody cells for future interpretation as well as other original features of the building. The bold top floor extension has been achieved in a modern style which integrates well with the original building and makes a statement about the Gibraltar of the past and future. The external façade of this building was also in a very dilapidated state and has been painstakingly restored to its former glory,” said Dr Farrell.

A Heritage Commendation was awarded to Trends Superstore for the recovery and redevelopment of this set of Main Street buildings in a way that addressed significant structural elements whilst also retaining the majority of the original structures and their integrity. The award was received by the Nihchalani family.

There was no Chairman’s Award given this year.

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