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John Pardey's coastal house named ‘best building in Wales’

John Pardey Architects has beaten off competition from Donald Insall Associates, BDP and Architype to win the prize for the ‘best building in Wales’

Trewarren, a family home in Pembrokeshire (featured in the AJ 14.02.2013) has won the prestigious Gold Medal for Architecture at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

The five-bedroom house with its ‘modern timber-framed Welsh vernacular’ was one of only two Welsh projects to win RIBA Regional Awards.

The jury, made up of Rhian Evans of RE:AP, Conwy and Andrew Taylor of Patel Taylor commended the scheme’s ‘clarity of concept, beautiful execution and careful relationship to site and orientation’.

Andrew Taylor, of London’s Patel Taylor, said: ‘All of the judges were in agreement that Trewarren is truly an outstanding building, of its time, and clearly belonging within traditional Welsh vernacular architecture.

Trewarren is truly an outstanding building

‘Despite the beautiful location, the steep rocky slope on which it is located presented a design challenge that required some real thought and planning.

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‘The open-plan living space on the upper level enjoys some fabulous views across the water and are all planned beneath an open timber-raftered roof that tilts up to a clerestory window on the north side, a particularly clever device which makes the front glass elevation much more transparent and draws the eye deep into the building.’

Supported by the Design Commission for Wales, the Gold Medal for Architecture is awarded to architects for buildings completed between January 2010 and March 2013.

Donald Insall Associates’ Copper Kingdom Centre in Amlwch was awarded the Plaque of Merit. This is given to smaller projects of high design quality.

Carole-Anne Davies, chief executive of the Design Commission for Wales, added: ‘The Gold Medal for Architecture and Plaque of Merit are unique to Wales and draw attention to the importance of architecture in the nation’s culture, honouring architects who achieve the highest design excellence.

‘The standard of entries this year was extremely high, demonstrating design excellence across sectors, with both Trewarren House and the Copper Kingdom Centre proving worthy winners from a tough field.’

The full shortlist

  • The Iron Room, Machynlleth by Catalina Architecture
  • The Copper Kingdom Centre, Amlwch by Donald Insall Associates  
  • Cwm Ifor Primary School, Caerphilly by Architype
  • Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, Ebbw Vale by BDP
  • Cynon Valley Community Hospital, Mountain Ash by HLM Architects
  • St David’s Hospice Care, Newport by KKE Architects
  • Llan y Cefn Hall, Wrexham by Andy Foster Architects
  • Un Y Berllan, Llanfoist, Abergaveny by Catherine Roberts & Steven Harris
  • Trewarren, Newport, Pembrokeshire by John Pardey Architects
  • Ty Newydd Barn, Ffawyddog, Crickhowell by KOVE Architects

All ten shortlisted projects for the Gold Medal will be included in the Architecture in Wales exhibition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales from 3 - 10 August. 

Previous winners of the Welsh Gold Medal for Architecture

2012 Archbishop McGrath Catholic High School, Bridgend by HLM Architects

2011 Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno by Ellis Williams Architects

2010 Medal withheld

2009 Hafod Eryri, Snowdon by Ray Hole Architects

2008 Blaenavon World Heritage Centre by Purcell Miller Tritton

2007 Water Tower, Cyncoed, Cardiff by Loyn & Co

2006 Senedd, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff by Richard Rogers


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