The Sunspot development in Jaywick Sands has been recognised for its architecture.
The commercial workspace and retail development, run by Tendring District Council (TDC), has been shortlisted for a 2024 MacEwen Award – a scheme run by the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Journal.
Designed by Colchester-based HAT Projects and built by Essex firm TJ Evers, the Sunspot is a £5.3million project made up of 24 commercial units – a mixture of retail and office space – along with a covered market, event space, café and other amenities.
It received £2.39million from the Government’s Getting Building Fund administered by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), with an additional £2.04million funding coming from Essex County Council (ECC), and £816,000 from TDC; which is also using part of its UK Shared Prosperity Fund allocation for operating costs.
Sunspot is one of 13 projects to be shortlisted in the award, and is in the final two in the Workplace and social enterprise category – and the winners are due to be announced at the end of this month (January 2024).
The accolade follows other recognition in the architecture sector, with Observer critic Rowan Moore listing Sunspot as one of the five best architecture projects of 2023 – describing it as “a new landmark” for Jaywick Sands.
Hana Loftus, one of the directors of HAT Projects, said the recognition was high praise for the work.
“We hope the community in Jaywick Sands is proud that Sunspot is gaining recognition for its innovative model and impactful design – this project is for them first and foremost,” she said.
“Everyone deserves beautifully-designed buildings in their neighbourhoods, bringing joy to everyday life as well as helping people to thrive through the facilities and opportunities they provide.
“Our practice ethos is founded on bringing that joy and care into every project and as a locally based practice, it is particularly special to be able to make a difference in our local area.”
Councillor Ivan Henderson, TDC Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Regeneration and Tourism, added: “A key aspect of the whole Sunspot project was to create something that could act as a gateway to the part of Jaywick Sands it sits on, so to have it described as a ‘landmark’ means we have definitely hit the brief.
“Sunspot is proving very successful, a popular place for businesses to base themselves and for people to visit.
“My thanks go to everyone involved in making Sunspot a success, and particularly to HAT Projects for their design which has led to this fantastic recognition.”
Councillor Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Planning a Growing Economy at Essex County Council, said: “It is great to see that the Sunspot Development has been recognised nationally. It really is a fantastic space for businesses, helping both new and existing business to flourish.
“It is also proving to be a valued local place for residents and those further afield to visit and enjoy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved for all their hard work in making the development possible.”