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Loyn & Co's Stormy Castle scoops Welsh Gold Medal

Loyn & Co has picked up the Welsh Gold Medal for Architecture for its Stormy Castle house in South Wales

Cardiff-based Loyn & Co saw off competition from a shortlist of five other buildings to win the gong for the ‘best building in Wales’.

The scheme, which picked up a RIBA Wales Regional Award, controversially missed out on a National Award this year. Four of the other projects shortlisted for the Welsh accolade also scooped RIBA Wales Regional Awards - though none bagged national awards meaning the country failed to win any RIBA Awards for the second year running.

Judges of the Welsh Gold Medal described Loyn & Co’s victorious three-bedroom home, which sits within the Gower’s Area of Outstanding National Beauty, as a ‘spectacular architectural response to both the brief and the site’.

The scheme’s ‘outstanding’ plan featuring three stepped wings set into the landscape was also praised by the judges.

Chris Loyn, principal architect at Loyn & Co, said: ‘I was thrilled to learn Stormy Castle had won this year’s Gold Medal for Architecture. While it had already been nominated for a number of industry awards, this one was particularly special, as it shows we are achieving our aim of raising the quality of architecture in Wales, and flying the flag for Welsh architectural talent.

‘While the beautiful Gower landscape was our biggest inspiration, it was also our biggest challenge, and our greatest concern throughout the design process was creating a home that would respect and work in harmony with its surroundings.’

Judge Ann-Marie Smale, of Powell Dobson Architects, added: ‘Stormy Castle is exceptional in its clarity of concept; it is beautifully executed, and responds to its brief and site in every instance.

‘The location presented a number of challenges that have been addressed with sensitivity. The stepped layout, arranged over three levels, allows the building to embed itself into the hillside, and materials have been chosen to reflect the surroundings.

‘The simplicity of the fair-faced concrete walls and polished concrete floors create a simple backdrop for the client’s art collection, demonstrating just one example of the architect’s commendable attention to detail and understanding of the brief.’

Hoole & Walmsley also received the Plaque of Merit for its Old Farm Mews housing development in Dinas Powys.

The Plaque of Merit, also supported by the Design Commission for Wales, is awarded to smaller projects that achieve high design quality.

Jacqui Walmsley, director, Hoole & Walmsley Architects, said: ‘Old Farm Mews is more than simply four houses; we have created a new street that fills a gap at the heart of the village. We hope our work will become a model for future housing developments, demonstrating that quality, privacy and outdoor space can all be achieved within the density of existing urban housing environments.’

Fellow judge, Elfed Roberts of Grŵp Gwalia, added: ‘Old Farm Mews responds brilliantly to the narrow, sloping brownfield site, and successfully reflects the integrity of its location within a genuine village street. The contemporary aesthetic reflects the client’s brief while the materials used respond to the site’s historic character. The dwellings have also been arranged with care and consideration given to the key living spaces, external courtyards and roof terraces. The resulting scheme is a delight in the heart of the village, allowing a contemporary response to sit comfortably within an historic urban context.’

Supported by the Design Commission for Wales, the Gold Medal aims to focus attention on ‘the importance of architecture in the nation’s culture and to honour architects achieving the highest design standards’.

The medal is given to architects responsible for buildings completed between January 2011 and March 2014.

The awards were presented earlier today (2 August) at Wales’ National Eisteddford in Llanelli.

Last year John Pardey Architects picked up the gong with its timber-framed, family home overlooking the Newport Estuary in western Wales (AJ 14.02.13).

Previous winners of the Welsh Gold Medal for Architecture

2013 Trewarren by John Pardey Architects

2012 Archbishop McGrath Catholic High School by HLM Architects

2011 Oriel Mostyn Gallery by Ellis Williams Architects

2010 Medal withheld

2009 Hafod Eryri by Ray Hole Architects

2008 Blaenavon World Heritage Centre by Purcell Miller Tritton

2007 Water Tower by Loyn & Co

2006 Senedd, National Assembly for Wales by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

2005 Wales Millennium Centre by Capita Percy Thomas

Previous story (AJ 03.07.14)

Shortlist revealed for best new building in Wales

Six schemes are in the running for the Welsh Gold Medal for Architecture

Buildings by Rural Office for Architecture and Loyn and Co are among the schemes shortlisted for the National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold Medal for Architecture, which recognises the best new building in Wales.

Hoole & Walmsley Architects has two projects vying for the prize – a four-home scheme in Powys and the restoration of a grade II-listed flour mill in Talgarth.

Loyn and Co’s Stormy Castle, which controversially missed out on a RIBA Award this year, is also shortlisted.

Four of the shortlisted projects picked up RIBA Wales Regional Awards back in May, but failed to go on to bag national awards, seeing the country miss out on any RIBA Awards for the second year running.

The full shortlist

  • Y Ffwrnais, Llanelii by Lawray Architects
  • The Galilee Chapel, Llantwit Major by Davies Sutton Architects
  • New Barn, Llandysul by Rural Office for Architecture
  • Talgarth Mill & Café Regeneration, Talgarth by Hoole & Walmsley Architects
  • Stormy Castle, Gower by Loyn & Co
  • Old Farm Mews, Dinas Powys by Hoole & Walmsley Architects

Supported by the Design Commission for Wales, the Gold Medal aims to focus attention on ‘the importance of architecture in the nation’s culture and to honour architects achieving the highest design standards’.

The medal is given to architects responsible for buildings completed between January 2011 and March 2014.

Carole-Anne Davies, chief executive of the Design Commission for Wales, said: ‘The breadth of entries this year was especially interesting, revealing the richness and quality of the design work taking place in Wales from contemporary new-build dwellings to conversions and refurbishments. They illustrate the difference good design makes in a whole host of different situations, in both urban and rural environments, to bring about a high quality solution that responds to its unique context.’

The shortlist was drawn up by Ann-Marie Smale of Powell Dobson Architects and Elfed Roberts of Grŵp Gwalia. 

Anne-Marie Smale said: ‘This year’s entries demonstrated a range of building types and scale spread across a large area of Wales. In the main, the entries were new buildings or extensions to existing structures by a range of practices. All of the shortlisted projects demonstrate excellent design intent and exceptional understanding of the client brief. 

She added: ‘All three residential projects show tremendous attention to detail and truly create a ‘home’ that responds to its brief in every instance. The three non-residential projects differ greatly in scale and meaning in their urban context.’

Last year John Pardey Architects picked up the gong with its timber-framed, family home overlooking the Newport Estuary in western Wales (AJ 14.02.13).

The winner will be announced at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Llanelli in August.

All six of the shortlisted projects will be displayed in the Architecture in Wales exhibition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales from 1 – 9 August.

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