Special awards for multi-million-pound redevelopment of Jewish museum

The redevelopment of the Manchester Jewish Museum lasted two years


The architects who spearheaded the redesign of a UK Jewish Museum have been awarded with top accolades.

Citizens Design Bureau, the architects behind Manchester Jewish Museum’s 2021 redevelopment project, won two awards at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) UK Awards last week.

Citizens Design Bureau was awarded the RIBA North West Award 2023 and RIBA North West Project Architect of the Year 2023 for director Katy Marks and Candice Moore.

The Manchester Jewish Museum officially reopened on Friday, July 2, 2021 after a two-year redevelopment.

The redevelopment saw the restoration of their Grade II* listed Spanish and Portuguese synagogue and the building of a brand new extension. The modern extension houses a new vegetarian café, gallery, shop and learning studio with kitchen. 

Meanwhile, a Corten clad façade lights up at night like a beacon on Cheetham Hill Road, with the light shining through the intricate patterns that mirror the designs by the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue’s original architect, Edward Salomons. 

The gallery, designed by All Things, showcases a stunning collection based around three universal themes of journeys, communities and identities, sharing the stories of Jewish Manchester with the world. 

A significant part of the new museum building is the award-winning café with a contemporary vegetarian kosher-style menu. Using local produce and authentic Jewish and vegetarian ingredients, the menu is designed to be a discovery of traditional meets innovative, providing a flavour of Jewish heritage. 

The RIBA Regional Jury who visited the museum as part of the judging process wrote in their journal: “The museum places the community it serves at its heart through the building and programming, as is evident in the generous kitchen area provided. 

“The architect highlighted the importance of food within the Jewish culture, as well as the design process for this building. 

“Walking through the corridor to the rear of the synagogue, the smell of freshly baked goods bore evidence of the cookery workshop taking place. The environment was warm, inviting, and welcoming.”

Katy Marks, Project Architect from Citizens Design Bureau, said: “We are so delighted to get these awards that reflect the creativity, commitment and skill of everyone involved - Client, design team and contractor. 

“These awards also reflect the way in which the museum has connected with so many people from diverse communities in Manchester and beyond. To also receive the project Architect of the year award is very special. 

“This project was an absolute labour of love for us - for myself, Candice and all of our team.”

A large team of specialist organisations and contractors, including architects, structural engineers, exhibition designers, conservation consultants, historic painters and stained glass window restoration experts, have been involved in this major project, funded in part by a £3m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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