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Revealed: Schemes in the running for Welsh Gold Medal

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The seven projects in the running to be crowned Wales’ best building have been revealed 

The shortlist includes a former chicken shed in Monmouth which was converted into a holiday home by Hall + Bednarczyk Architects. The Chepstow-based practice is also shortlisted for its watersports centre in Pontypool. 

Also in the running is a glass entrance pavilion to Caernarfon castle by Donald Insall Architects, Purcell’s restoration of Cardigan Castle, a school by Architype, and an arts centre by Grimshaw. 

The shortlist in full 

  • Burry Port Community Primary School, Carmarthenshire by Architype
  • City Centre Community Campus, Cardiff and Vale College by BDP
  • Caernarfon Castle Entrance Pavilion, Gwynedd by Donald Insall Architects
  • Cardigan Castle, Ceredigion by Purcell
  • Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre, Pontypool by Grimshaw
  • Llandegfedd Visitor and Watersports Centre, Pontypool by Hall + Bednarczyk
  • The Chickenshed, Monmouth by Hall + Bednarczyk 

None of the schemes were successful in this year’s RIBA Awards which saw Wales miss out on any accolades. 

The award, which is supported by the Design Commission for Wales and the Royal Society of Architects in Wales, recognises architectural excellence in buildings completed between 1 January 2013 and 14 March 2016. 

The shortlist was drawn up by Alan Francis, former chairman of the Design Commission for Wales and co-founder of Gaunt Francis Architects, and Jonathan Vining, head of urban design at WYG Group in Cardiff. 

Gayna Jones, chair of the Design Commission for Wales, said: ‘The broad range of projects this year is encouraging as is their ingenuity. Learning, heritage and cultural life feature strongly in a range of settings, with the common factor being that each project demonstrates the skill of designers and the transformational impact of very good design. Given the range of setting, scale and disciplines of the projects however, we do not envy the selectors in their task this year.’ 

Alan Francis, added: ‘We were delighted this year to receive a diverse and high quality selection of entries from a much wider range of work sectors and clients than has been the case in recent years. Both the private and public sectors were represented, and the excellent submissions ranged from large corporate headquarters to much smaller infill commissions. 

‘The difficulty for any judge in that scenario is in defining the selection criteria, and in determining how high to raise the bar for what is Wales’ foremost architectural award. We decided that whilst innovation, sustainability, materiality and a creative response to the brief were all important, they should be minimum criteria and that crucially, if the Gold Medal was to be awarded, it should be granted to a project that demonstrated an unwavering conviction to deliver that project rationally and beautifully, from the original concept right through the smallest of details, so as to provide an exemplar solution.’ 

The winner will be announced at the National Eisteddfod of Wales on 30 July.

The Chickenshed Monmouth

The Chickenshed Monmouth

The Chickenshed, Monmouth by Hall + Bednarczyk

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