From a restored castle with a ‘cool’ contemporary café that has brought new life to Cardigan town centre, to the bold and dramatically-lit Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre in Pwllheli and a dynamic new ‘learning village’ in Cardiff, the judges of the Welsh Architecture Awards praised the imaginative approach of the architects and clients whose buildings have enriched and revitalised communities across Wales in 2016.
The Welsh Architecture Awards are presented by RSAW (Royal Society of Architects in Wales) as part of the UK-wide RIBA Architecture Awards (Royal Institute of British Architects) which in turn lead on to the RIBA Stirling Prize, awarded to the building with the most influence on the evolution of architecture in 2016.
Jury Chair Chris Loyn of Loyn & Co Architects, himself a winner of the 2015 Manser Medal (RIBA House of the Year) said that the positive relationship between architect and client was a key factor in the winning formula for all five projects, demonstrating that good design and successful buildings are achievable within tight budgets.
Chris Loyn said the jury particularly noted the important role played by local authorities in this year’s winning schemes:
“It was great to see local authorities taking such an imaginative approach, playing an active role in the design process, recognising the importance of achieving excellence in design within the inevitable budget constraints facing all councils.”
The jury was also impressed by how clients such as Welsh Water, Gwynedd Council and Carmarthenshire County Council had shown a clear commitment to community involvement and to community use that went “way beyond” the obvious primary purpose of the brief.
Praising the contribution of volunteers in several schemes, the Jury Chair commented:
“It is fair to say that many of these buildings would not have been realised without the tremendous effort and energy of local people. At Cardigan Castle, for example, without the will and passion of this active and determined community, the castle wall and associated buildings would almost certainly have been lost.”
The 2016 Welsh Architecture Awards were presented at a ceremony in the Temple of Peace, Cathays Park, Cardiff, on Wednesday 27 April.
As well as awarding five Welsh Architecture Awards, the jury recognised outstanding achievement in five categories, awarding special prizes to:
- RSAW Building of the Year – sponsored by Marley Eternit: Llandegfedd Visitor Centre and Watersports Centre
- RSAW Client of the Year: Gwynedd County Council (YGC) for the Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre, Pwllheli
- RSAW Conservation Award: Cardigan Castle
- RSAW Sustainability Award – sponsored by Sika: Burry Port Community Primary School
- RSAW Project Architect of the Year – sponsored by Tarmac: jointly awarded to George Mikurcik, Architype and Andrew Tidy, Carmarthenshire County Council, for Burry Port Community Primary School.
Details of all winning schemes:
LLANDEGFEDD VISITOR CENTRE AND WATERSPORTS CENTRE
Architect: Hall + Bednarczyk Architects
Client: Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
Contractor: Anthony A Davies
WELSH NATIONAL SAILING ACADEMY AND EVENTS CENTRE, PWLLHELI
Architect: Ellis Williams Architects
Client: Gwynedd Council (YGC) with acknowledgement to Plas Heli Cyf
Contractor: Wynne Construction
Client: Cardigan Castle Building Preservation Trust
Contractor: Andrew Scott Ltd
BURRY PORT COMMUNITY PRIMARY SCHOOL
Architect: Architype and Property Design, Carmarthenshire County Council
Client: Carmarthenshire County Council
Contractor: WRW Construction
CARDIFF AND VALE COLLEGE, NEW CITY CENTRE COMMUNITY CAMPUS
Client: Cardiff & Vale College
Contractor: Willmott Dixon