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Public can vote for Manx properties as North West’s building of the decade

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Two buildings in the Isle of Man have been shortlisted for the BBC North West Tonight People’s Choice North West Building of the Decade with the public from across the region able to determine a final five and the eventual winner through an online vote.

The North West region has been split into five geographic areas for the competition, each with five shortlisted buildings that have been constructed in the past decade. In each of the five areas, the building with the most votes will go through to the final.

Thie Slieau Whallian – the headquarters for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) in St John’s – and Seascape – a boutique spa and bed and breakfast in Laxey – have both made the cut for the Cumbria and Isle of Man area.

Voting for the Isle of Man and Cumbria opens this Friday 20 April at 6:30pm for just 15 and a half hours, closing at noon on Saturday 21 April.

Public can vote for Manx properties as North West’s building of the decade

Anyone wishing to vote must first sign-in or register for a free BBC Account and then make their vote on the BBC North West Tonight website. Only one vote is allowed for each of the five geographic areas.

Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, Geoffrey Boot MHK, said:

'Thie Slieau Whallian was a real first for the Isle of Man with sustainability at the heart of its design. Situated in the beautiful Garey ny Cloie gardens in St Johns, the building is the headquarters for DEFA and is the only government department based outside of the Island’s capital, Douglas.

'Thie Slieau Whallian was the first, and presently only building in the Isle of Man to achieve the highest rating of ‘Excellent’ from BREEAM for its sustainable design and environmental performance, and is generally regarded as the ‘greenest’ building on the Island. Over a 40 year lifespan it is estimated the building’s design could save £2.7 million in running-costs when compared to a conventional air-conditioned office. That’s better for the environment and the public purse.'

DEFA’s £5.9 million headquarters opened in March 2010 and was designed to maximise natural ventilation and day light, aided by a central atrium and overhanging eaves to reduce overheating. The use of timber – one of the most sustainable building materials available – from responsibly managed and renewable sources, is extensive. All walls, roof and floors are highly insulated – including a living ‘green roof’ and the building is heated by a biomass boiler, fuelled using woodchips and sawdust produced by the adjacent sawmill.

In 2012 Thie Slieau Whallian won a coveted Green Apple Environment Award in the built environment and architectural heritage category – first winning the gold award in the local authority section and going on to become the overall winner for that year.

Isle of Man-based architect, Karen Horncastle, who was design and project architect for APA architects, said:

'Ten years since work began, it is wonderful to see a real and lasting legacy from the Thie Slieau Whallian project. Everyone involved from start to finish was committed to creating a low-impact, sustainable building. Awards like ‘Building of the Decade’ help to raise awareness of the positive impact – and cost savings – environmentally sensitive buildings can have and help showcase the benefits of appropriate, contextual, modern design.'

The other Isle of Man contender, Seascape of Laxey Bay, was built in 2008 and opened as a spa and B&B in 2015. 

Owner of the of five-star luxury retreat, Michelle Garrod, said:

'We’re delighted to have been shortlisted. Seascape is a remarkable and beautiful building in a breath-taking location, carved into the hillside between the scenic bays of Laxey and Garwick. 

'Making the shortlist is fantastic for us personally, but more importantly it highlights the quality of accommodation available in the Isle of Man, demonstrating how, as a destination, the Island’s visitor economy is adapting to meet modern needs and demands.

'In the process it raises the profile of the Isle of Man and our extraordinary story.'

There will be a special report about the winners of the five areas on North West Tonight on BBC One at 6:30pm on Thursday 26 April. Following this the five will buildings will compete to win the title of Building of the Decade.

The winner will be announced at the North West Property Awards on Thursday 17 May.

The Minister concluded:

'I hope the people of the Isle of Man will back one of the two Manx buildings shortlisted and take just a few minutes to place their vote.'

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