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Manchester Jewish Museum’s architects win two RIBA Awards 2023 for the outstanding project of the museum’s new building

Citizens Design Bureau, the architects behind Manchester Jewish Museum’s 2021 redevelopment project won not one but two awards at the 2023 RIBA UK Awards: the RIBA North West Award 2023 and RIBA North West Project Architect of the Year 2023 for Director Katy Marks and Candice Moore.

Manchester Manchester Jewish Museum officially reopened on Friday, July 2, 2021 after a two-year redevelopment project. A large team of specialist organisations and contractors, including architects, structural engineers, exhibition designers, conservation consultants, historic painters and stained glass window restoration experts, have been involved in this major project, funded in part by a £3m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Manchester Jewish Museum, image by Joel Chester Fildes, 2021

The new building includes a modern extension housing a new vegetarian café, gallery, shop and learning studio with kitchen. The Corten clad façade lights up at night like a beacon on Cheetham Hill Road, with the light shining through the intricate patterns that mirror the designs by the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue’s original architect, Edward Salomons.

The gallery, designed by All Things, showcases a stunning collection based around three universal themes of journeys, communities and identities, sharing the stories of Jewish Manchester with the world. The new space welcomes and reflects the diversity of Manchester’s Jewish Communities and the museum’s local community, creating a space for sharing and connection.

The ‘Communities’ room in Manchester Jewish Museum’s gallery, image by Joel Chester Fildes 2021

A significant part of the new museum building is the award-winning café with a contemporary vegetarian kosher-style menu. Using local produce and authentic Jewish and vegetarian ingredients, the menu is designed to be a discovery of traditional meets innovative, providing a flavour of Jewish heritage. The café is an invitation to visitors to take a moment to gather round a table, reflect on their visit and to connect with one another. The café won Café or Restaurant of The Year at Museums and Heritage Awards 2022.

Manchester Jewish Museum’s vegetarian Cafe, image by Chris Payne 2021

With communities at its heart, the museum hosts a variety of activities for all ages in its spacious Learning Studio. The room is bright and has a fully equipped kitchen, which is used almost every day by hundreds of school children, adult educational groups and members of the museum’s participatory groups.

The RIBA Regional Jury who visited the museum as part of the judging process wrote in their journal: “The museum places the community it serves at its heart through the building and programming, as is evident in the generous kitchen area provided. The architect highlighted the importance of food within the Jewish culture, as well as the design process for this building. Walking through the corridor to the rear of the synagogue, the smell of freshly baked goods bore evidence of the cookery workshop taking place. The environment was warm, inviting, and welcoming.”

Baking workshop in Manchester Jewish Museum’s Learning Studio, image by Chris Payne 2021

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has been celebrating outstanding architectural work for over 180 years. Their awards and prizes are regarded internationally as a mark of excellence, recognising the best architecture, architects, research and students. Katy Marks, Project Architect from Citizens Design Bureau comments:

“We are so delighted to get these awards that reflect the creativity, commitment and skill of everyone involved – Client, design team and contractor. These awards also reflect the way in which the museum has connected with so many people from diverse communities in Manchester and beyond. To also receive the project Architect of the year award is very special. This project was an absolute labour of love for us – for myself, Candice and all of our team.”

REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT CREDITS
• Contractor HH Smith
• Environmental/M&E engineer Buro Happold
• Structural engineer Buro Happold
• Project management Buro Four
• Access consultant Manchester Disabled People’s Access Group
• Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Appleyard & Trew
• Planting specialist Mary Nightingale
• Acoustic engineer Buro Happold
• Project management Buro Four
• Principal designer Citizens Design Bureau with PFB
• Exhibition designer All Things
• Conservation consultant Smithers Purslow
• Approved inspector C3 Design Approvals
• Graphic designer Twelve

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