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Best new buildings in Wales win 2018 Welsh Architecture Awards

07 June 2018

The Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) has announced that three buildings in Wales have received 2018 Welsh Architecture Awards, presented at a ceremony at Cornerstone, Cardiff, last night, Thursday 31 May.

From the 6 schemes shortlisted this year, the three winning buildings selected by the Jury are:

The 2018 RSAW Building of the Year award was given to Yr Ysgwrn, the home of poet Hedd Wyn, near Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia, a building which had “cast a spell on the jury”, said Jury Chair Jonathan Adams, praising the delicate and complex interventions made by architects Purcell to the historic farm buildings and landscape. This highly skilled and sensitive treatment also secured the RSAW Conservation Award for Purcell and client Snowdonia National Park Authority.

Two individuals were singled out for further special awards in recognition of outstanding achievement – one a client, the other an architect. Emma Saysell of St David’s Hospice Care, Newport was named 2018 RSAW Client of the Year and Elgan Jones of Purcell won the 2018 RSAW Project Architect of the Year award.

Jonathan Adams said: “In the best architecture you find a precious connection – an instinctively harmonious empathy between client and architect that is so much more than a straightforward architectural commission. Elgan Roberts of Purcell with Snowdonia National Park at Yr Ysgwrn, and KKE Architects with St David’s Hospice Care in Newport, demonstrated this dynamic extremely well. The respectful and stimulating relationship between talented architects and insightful clients has produced sustainable and impressive results in both cases.”

Pontio, University of Bangor Arts and Innovation Centre, Bangor, the third winner of the 2018 Welsh Architecture Awards, was praised for its “compelling sculptural form” and the way the building “hugs the ground, despite its height”. The jury admired the spectacular crevasse-like atrium, girdled by sweeping balcony ledges. Designed by Grimshaw, Pontio’s cinema, flexible theatre space, lecture rooms, bars and coffee shop offer attractive facilities for the university and local community alike. The building connects the University’s upper and lower campuses through a series of external terraces flowing into an ‘internal street’. Describing the outcome, Jonathan Adams said: “A gap that once seemed cavernous is now a pleasure to traverse”.

The Welsh Architecture Awards are presented by RSAW (Royal Society of Architects in Wales) as the first stage of the UK-wide RIBA Architecture Awards (Royal Institute of British Architects). The Welsh Architecture Awards connect with the RIBA (UK) National Awards which in turn lead to the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year in 2018.

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