"The outstanding quality and diversity of the winning projects highlight the extraordinary skills and passion which epitomize Europe’s cultural heritage sector – a sector we must support and protect for future generations. Heritage is not about 'glorifying' our past. It is a huge asset for our present and future; it is one of the main factors that makes Europe the world's top tourist destination, contributing significantly to our economy and helping to create jobs in our cities and regions," said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Built as a private villa on the Thames, Horace Walpole’s ‘plaything house’ was in domestic use until 1923, when it was sold to a teacher training institution. Despite the villa’s critical place in architectural history, as the cradle of the Gothic revival, Strawberry Hill was seriously neglected, falling into decay and suffering from poor repairs. The Jury applauded the beautiful conservation of this exceptionally influential place and admired the courage and commitment shown by local volunteers and their professional partners.
It has now become a tradition for UK restoration work to be recognised at the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards. In 2012, Leighton House Museum, the former home and studio of the nineteenth century British artist Lord Leighton, was recognised for its outstanding conservation achievements. Other winners include: the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, The Poundstock Gildhouse in Bude, Cornwall and the Ashmolean Museaum in Oxford.
The 2014 competition is now open and the deadline to nominate projects is 9 September 2013. The ceremony will take place in Vienna on 5 May 2014.