The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), the professional body for built and historic environment conservation specialists, has announced the winners in its prestigious Annual Student Award.

The 2012 judge, Terry Levinthal, of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), awarded the winning prize to a student from Oxford Brookes University.

The winner of the 2012 IHBC Gus Astley Student Award is architect Aimee Felton. She submitted her work on listed building maintenance in non-heritage bodies to the Masters course on International Architectural Regeneration and Development at Oxford Brookes University. Aimee, who is currently working at Julian Harrap’s leading architectural conservation practice, will receive a £300 cash prize and a free place at the IHBC’s 2013 Annual School.

Judge Terry Levinthal said of Aimee’s winning essay: ‘Her submission reflects the great paradox that the conservation profession is facing in a recessionary environment, as the downward pressure on resources of all kinds brings a paradigm shift in our approach to conservation. Ironically, as the paper points out, the maintenance regime takes us back to the era of William Morris and the foundation of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).’

Aimee Felton, author of ‘Securing a Future: Non-Heritage Organisations’ approach to listed building maintenance’, submitted her work to Oxford Brookes University.

Jonathan Bassindale, tutor at Oxford Brookes for the winning essay, said: ‘Aimee’s writing is of a very high standard: fluent, articulate and accurate. This was an excellent study which makes a valid contribution to research is this area.’

Aimee Felton said: ‘It has taken the past two years of working at Julian Harrap Architects since writing my thesis to fully appreciate, disseminate and put into practice some of the complexities I stumbled upon whilst researching the maintenance of historic buildings, which even still remains an area much in need of further research. I now view the document as an enrichable theory, prime for development and I enjoy the opportunity to review this with reference to the projects I undertake in the practice.

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