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Manchester Jewish Museum wins two British Construction Industry Awards

Corten design, Manchester Jewish Museum, photo by Joel Chester Fildes 2021

Manchester Jewish Museum wins two awards at the annual British Construction Industry Awards 2021

Manchester Jewish Museum, along with architects Citizens Design Bureau and structural engineers Buro Happold, have won two prestigious awards at the annual Building Constriction Industry Awards at their ceremony on Wednesday 13 October.

The newly reopened Manchester Jewish Museum took home two awards at the Building Construction Industry Awards ceremony this October: ‘Cultural & Leisure Project of the Year’ and best ‘small project of the year’ (for projects with a budget under £10 million).

The judges selected the museum as the winner for these awards for being: “An exemplary project in which an imaginative client, an inventive architectural practice and a skilful project team have created a building which transcends the initial brief, restoring and preserving a historic synagogue, reimagining – in a new extension – the museum which tells its story, and opening up a wonderful cultural and social resource to the wider community.  The generosity of the project – its desire to break down barriers and forge new connections – is truly inspiring. These aspirations have been more than matched by the ingenuity of the architecture of the new extension, affording this little building a very big presence, and giving it a unique, and memorable, identity.”

These awards recognise excellence in design, but also the collaboration between the design team, the contractor and the museum to achieve a high-quality project under the challenging circumstances of the pandemic. The museum was recognised for both awards along with Citizens Design Bureau as lead architect, Buro Happold as lead consultant and H.H. Smith & Sons as lead contractor, with special mention to other project contributors including BuroFour, Appleyard & Trew, All Things Studio, Smithers Purslow, Cubic, Roof glaze and Britain & Co.

The new museum opened its doors on 2 July 2021 following a £6 million capital redevelopment supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, including a new extension housing a new vegetarian café, gallery, shop and learning studio and kitchen. The new extension, doubling the size of the museum, was designed by Citizens Design Bureau in collaboration with a large team of contractors, experts and external companies. This includes All Things Studio who designed the new gallery, for the first time providing the museum with a dedicated space to showcase an extensive part of its 31,000 strong collection. The new museum is now also fully accessible with lift access and hearing induction loops throughout the building.

Manchester Jewish Museum at dusk, Joel Chester Fildes, 2021

Sustainable features have been carefully and sensitively integrated into both the new and the original museum buildings in order to increase longevity and reduce carbon intensity, whilst conserving and honouring its listed status. Despite adding a new extension, structural and services engineering experts Buro Happold have ensured the overall energy use of the building and resultant carbon intensity will reduce by around 20% compared to the original building.

Situated on Cheetham Hill Road in one of Manchester’s most culturally diverse areas and the city’s historic Jewish quarter, the museum provides for many different communities. The ambition of the redevelopment project was to create a building that would be more than a museum – one that would instead welcome and become embedded within the local area, reaching beyond the Jewish community.

Manchester Jewish Museum’s Chief Executive Max Dunbar comments: “What a fantastic recognition of over 10 years’ work of consultations, construction and fundraising. Citizens Design Bureau, Buro Happold and all our fantastic team of contractors have helped design a building that fits into the cultural and historical landscape of the museum and create a space for connection and dialogue. We can be proud of our beautiful building which is now fit for purpose and built for a sustainable future.”

Lead architect Katy Marks from Citizens Design Bureau says: “The last year has been tough for everyone so it’s wonderful to get this recognition. I’m also incredibly proud of our team of talented and dedicated women who have worked on this project from the outset. We often have to go above and beyond to be respected in our industry. Winning awards like this also hopefully sends a message to other potential clients and collaborators that it’s worth putting faith in small companies who are passionate about their work!”

Watch drone footage of the new museum lit up at night here:


British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA) are the most prestigious awards in the UK construction industry. Their 2021 Awards ceremony was held at Grovesnor House Hotel.

“The last year has been extremely challenging but despite the difficulties, this year’s entries show that the industry has responded and taken delivery of value, carbon reduction and improved societal outcomes to a new standard. This year’s winners have taken that standard to the highest level and we have some exemplary projects and initiatives that really shine a light on the brilliance of the British construction industry” – New Civil Engineer editor, Claire Smith.

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Key Museum Contractors

  • Architects – Citizens Design Bureau
    Founder and lead architect: Katy Marks
    Project architect: Candice Moore
  • Exhibition Design – All Things Studio
  • M&E & Structural Engineers: BuroHappold
  • Conservation Consultant – Smithers Purslow
  • Project Managers – BuroFour
  • Cost Consultants & Quantity Surveyors – Appleyard & Trew LLP
  • Construction Contractors – H. Smith & Sons Co Ltd
  • Historic Painters – Britain & Co
  • Access Consultants – Earnscliffe Associates – Jayne Earnscliffe
  • Access Consultants – Manchester Disabled People’s Access Group – Flick Harris
  • Stained Glass Repair specialists – Recclesia Ltd
  • Exhibition Graphic Design – Kellenberger-White
  • Synagogue AV – Plann
  • Masonry Services – Stone Central
  • Exhibition fit-out contractor – The Hub
  • Café & kitchen design – Winton Nightingale
  • Signage, website & Visual identity – Twelve
  • Roof and ceiling widows – Roofglaze


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