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Loyn and Co triumphs in Welsh Gold Medal – again

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Loyn & Co has picked up the Welsh Gold Medal for Architecture for the second year in a row

The practice picked up the prestigious award for its low-energy, 467m² Millbrook House in the suburbs of Cardiff.

It is the first time since 1979 that the prize for the ‘best new building in Wales’ has been awarded to the same practice for two years running.

Loyn and Co has now won the award a three times, picking it up in 2007 for the Water Tower in Cyncoed, Cardiff and last year for its Manser Medal-winning Stormy Castle.  

The practice saw off competition from projects by Stephenson Studio, Hyde + Hyde, Architype, Hall + Bednarczyk, Gillard Associates, and B3 Architects to bag the prize.

The £900,000 glazed and timber-clad house - which was handed a RSAW Regional Award but did not pick up a RIBA National Award - was praised by the judges for its ‘exciting volumes and assured handling of the interior spaces’.

Judge Pat Borer, said: ‘Although Millbrook House was not at first an obvious candidate, it became clear that the design is a superb response to its setting, with a glorious surprise of courtyard spaces awaiting the visitor within the perimeter wall.

‘The shallow plans and multiple courtyards allow many different ‘realms’ to be created and occupied by the family members, while the sweeping zinc roof on the north, roadside elevation succeeds in reducing the bulk of this large house.’ 

Millbrook House was not at first an obvious candidate

Carole-Anne Davies, chief executive of the Design Commission for Wales commented: ‘Loyn & Co are consistently raising their game and expanding the possibilities of architecture for the domestic scale.

‘The practice already has a Gold Medal and the coveted Manser award for Stormy Castle and is fast becoming one of the best practices working in residential development. It is absolutely fitting that they are recognised with this year’s Medal.

She added: ‘The practice should also be recognised for the young talent it has nurtured in the team, who are committed to delivering the best quality, imaginative design for individual dwellings and medium sized residential schemes – they are the buildings that matter most in all our lives.’

Commenting on the win, Chris Loyn, principal architect at Loyn & Co, said: ‘Raising the quality of architecture in Wales has been one of the practice’s core objectives since we started in 1987, so being awarded the Eisteddfod Gold Medal is incredibly significant and important to us.’

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’.

Hall + Bednarczyk’s The Nook – a new, four-bedroomed family home set in a secluded Monmouthshire valley – took home the 2015 Plaque of Merit, which is given to smaller projects with a value of up to £750,000.

Judge Elinor Gray-Williams, from Donald Insall Associates, said: ‘The principle achievement of the architects of The Nook, near Chepstow is the creation of a simple form that just looks totally right for its site. The house is obviously modern, with modern preoccupations of solid and void, light, comfort and flexibility, yet its barn shape simply fits its Welsh rolling valley locale beautifully.

All eight shortlisted projects for the Gold Medal are now on display in the Architecture in Wales exhibition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales from 1 – 8 August.

Previous winners of the Welsh Gold Medal for Architecture

2015 Millbrook House byLoyn & Co Architects

2014 Stormy Castle by Loyn & Co Architects

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

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