An award for the scheme of innovative, high quality church conservation or repair that overcomes the greatest aesthetic or technical challenge.

The award was established in 1844 by Christophe Karl Pfeuffer. He was a medallist and coin engraver who in 1840 received an appointment at the Berlin Mint. In 1845 he was promoted to the rank of first medallist to the Mint and was described as a person who was well endowed by nature, who modelled quickly and carefully, and took good likeness, but was perhaps too hasty and prolific. His medal of the Third Century of the Reformation at Berlin in 1839 is considered one of his most successful productions.

The Association is fortunate that our Patron Prince Nicholas von Preussen is a direct descendant of the King of Prussia for whom the medal was made. Prince Nicholas often tells the story of how it was presented to the ICBS (Incorporated Church Building Society) who did not know who to award it to, so it lay in an office drawer for many years until found in the 1960s. Today it is awarded annually. 

The Gold Medal was the gift of King Freidrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia in 1857 who was highly impressed with British Victorian church architecture. The architects responsible for the winning project will receive the prestigious King of Prussia Gold Medal.

The 2019 King of Prussia Gold Medal for repair and conservation architecture was awarded to PPIY architects for their work on rebuilding the spire at St Margaret’s church, Thimbleby, Lincolnshire.

Prince Nicholas von Preussen, Patron of EASA and Vice President of the National Churches presented the King of Prussia Gold Medal for repair and conservation architecture together with a £500 cheque to the winners.

Prince Nicholas von Preussen said:“This was a fascinating architectural ‘who done it’. The Victorian spire on this church had been deteriorating so much that the church was threatened with closure and spire had been removed in 2013. After much detective work it was discovered that the specification of the 19th century architect James Fowler had included his favourite mortar, so called ’dog kennel lime’; the mortar has a high magnesium content which led to destructive salts leaching through the building including the spire. Armed with the new knowledge, architects PPIY re-built the spire and the church is now safe for the future."

A project by Caroe and Partners to restore the derelict bell tower of St Mary the Virgin, Marden, Herefordshire was Highly Commended. When complete the project had also created a new community room on one of the floors within the tower and a small exhibition about the project and the church.

 

2018

The conservation and restoration of the interior of Grade I Listed St Mary Magdalene Church, Paddington, London by Caroe Architecture Ltd won the 2018 King of Prussia Gold Medal awarded for innovative, high quality church conservation or repair work projects.

This conservation project has brought back to life the architectural and decorative quality of this Gothic Revival masterpiece, employing sensitivity and high standards in design and workmanship.

Prince Nicholas von Preussen, Patron of EASA presented the King of Prussia Gold Medal for repair and conservation architecture together with a £500 cheque to the winners.

A vital component of this work was the conservation cleaning of fine decorative painted ceilings in the Nave and Chancel, which were executed by a leading ecclesiastical artist of the day, Daniel Bell. The process involved in-depth trials and analysis to establish conservation techniques to carefully remove dirt and discoloured varnishes, which until recently disfigured and obscured these ceilings.

Past cleaning attempts had been very damaging, with some decorative features scoured harmfully. The treatment of the ceilings involved finding a careful balance between all cleaned surfaces in the Nave and Chancel, to appropriately highlight and accent the unique decorative features and key liturgical scenes, while creating visual harmony and balance of the whole. 

Overall the project will cost £7.2m of which the pure conservation and repair works are circa £2m.

Highly Commended

Two projects were Highly Commended for the King of Prussia Gold medal competition: Architects  Lloyd Evans Pritchard for their work on  bringing Dukinfield unitarian old chapel, Manchester  back to life and architect Rena Pitsilli-Graham for the major restoration of St Peter and St Paul in Upper Stoke, near Rochester in Kent.