Culham Court Chapel is the Murdoch Award Winner 2017

There is no doubt that as each year goes by, deciding which project wins the coveted Murdoch Award is becoming an increasingly tough task for the judging panel.

In 2017 the winner was a new-build project, Culham Court Chapel. Built within the footprint of a demolished building on an 18th Century estate in the south of England, Chapel of Christ the Redeemer at Culham Court is a masterpiece of architecture.

Not only was there a very demanding client but Craig Hamilton proved to be an equally demanding architect. The chosen design, fully supported by the National Trust, is in the style of a classical temple. A big supporter of traditional leadwork and very technically aware, Mr Hamilton was determined to follow recommended practices of the LSA in his roof designs for Culham Court Chapel. He wanted to ensure the leadwork installed matched the very high standards that were being insisted upon from the other trades involved, including stonemasons, joiners, mosaicists and plasterers.

LCA members, Conservation Leadwork, set about the task and raised the bar so that all the detailing was designed as if it were being set out on the most exposed lead roof in the country. Nothing was left to chance during the installation of more than 17 tonnes of sand cast sheet supplied by CEL, plus a tonne of rolled sheet lead from ALM for the dpc trays. In fact, Conservation Leadwork were required to deliver more than just exceptional skills in leadwork. Their remit also covered 0.5mm TCSS for the gutters, 4” copper internal downpipes complete with cast collars and bronze cleaning eyes and the use of 1.0mm and 1.5mm continuous stainless steel clips around the edging of Culham Court Chapel.

Leadwork at Culham Court Chapel

The solution

The final challenge was the architect’s specification that the only material allowed to be viewed from the outside was to be the lead roof and the stone walls of the chapel. Described by the Architecture Foundation as one of the most richly conceived works of architecture – classical or otherwise – built in Britain in the past century. The Culham Court Chapel project was completed on time and within budget. The result, in the view of the Award judges, presents a stunning example of leadwork craft at its very best. Culham Court Chapel fully deserved to be the winner of the 2017 Murdoch Award.

Managing Director Kevin Smith said he was “quite stunned” to win the award as he was aware of the quality of the opposition he was up against.

“With over 100 years of experience between the four of us, my small but very highly skilled team must have been fed up with my constantly reminding them of the level of quality in their work which was being demanded. I am very proud of them and obviously welcome the fact that the judges have recognised the considerable attention to detail demanded of us.”

Press release and images supplied by ALM

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