Rectory Lane Cemetery wins, not one but TWO prestigious Landscape Institute Awards | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery wins, not one but TWO prestigious Landscape Institute Awards

The project has been recognised by the Landscape Institute (LI) – the chartered body for the landscape profession whose aim is to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the public benefit, through the work of its members. 

The LI Awards are held annually and are all about celebrating people, place and nature, and the myriad ways that landscape projects can connect them. They celebrate the exceptional contribution of landscape designers, managers, planners, researchers and more across the world.  This year had a particularly strong field of projects – international and of significant size – so it is a huge achievement to win not one, but two awards – and we could hardly believe it as the virtual ceremony on 25th November revealed the results.

On awarding the project the Excellence in Culture and Heritage Award the judges described the project ‘as a sensitively designed and detailed scheme which effectively balances change with architectural and nature conservation issues. It demonstrates an exemplary level of historical research, conservation approach, community and artist involvement, alongside a keen eye to the future of the site, which has resulted in a successful cultural asset that is accessible to a diverse range of users. The project illustrates thoughtful levels of sustainability, from interventions that support biodiversity, environmental education and best use of resources to mental health benefits. The judges noted that the huge increase in footfall since its completion, along with extensive volunteer contribution indicates that it is a project of exceptional value’.

On awarding the project the Excellence in Community Engagement Award the judges ‘were unified in their deep appreciation of this project, from concept and design through to management and maintenance, it’s been carefully considered and crafted throughout, with community at its heart. The sense of empowering people and enabling agency was palpable and clearly this site is intended as a place where everyone feels a sense of belonging and a connection. The vision of the site is clear and shared, which in turn drives commitment, interest and participation of those involved. It’s a terrific instance of community-driven design and co-production working in concert with professionals.’

Both these awards recognise the ground-breaking nature of the project and the dedication and commitment of everybody involved in it – but it is of course of particular significance to the project’s landscape designer Edd Snell of Above Zero, who was responsible for the ‘masterly masterplan’.