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

Cardigan Castle

Architect: Purcell
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

Architect: BDP
Client: Cardiff & Vale College
Contractor: Willmott Dixon


Notes to editors:

1. Welsh Architecture Awards jury 2016

The 2016 jury was chaired by Chris Loyn of Penarth-based Loyn & Co Architects; the RSAW representative was Kay Hyde, Hyde + Hyde Architects; the lay assessor was Menna Richards.

2. Sponsorship

The National Sponsors for the RIBA Regional Awards 2016 (Welsh Architecture Awards) are Tarmac, Sika and Marley Eternit. 

Tarmac, the UK’s leading sustainable building materials and construction solutions business, sponsors the RSAW Project Architect of the Year Award. 

Sika, a speciality chemicals company which pioneers sustainable solutions to global challenges, sponsors the RSAW Sustainabilty Award.

Marley Eternit, a leading roofing and facades manufacturer, sponsor the RSAW Building of the Year Award.

3. RIBA Awards history

The RIBA Awards were set up 50 years ago to champion and celebrate the best of architecture in the UK and around the world, no matter the form, size or budget of the project. The Welsh Architecture Awards were introduced in 2012, to form the first stage of the RIBA Awards process. Winners of Welsh Architecture Awards may go on to be shortlisted for the RIBA National Awards, which in turn lead to the RIBA Stirling Prize. Named after British architect Sir James Stirling and launched in 1996, the prize is awarded to the building which has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the last year. In 2016 the Stirling Prize is sponsored by Almacantar.

4. Royal Society of Architects in Wales 

The Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) represents and supports 700 Chartered Architect members of the Royal Incorporation of British Architects (RIBA). Through our members’ expertise and our advocacy work in government, public and private sectors, we champion well-designed buildings and places across Wales.

Mary Wrenn, Director RSAW
T: 029 2022 8987 

Posted on Wednesday 27th April 2016

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