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RSAW Awards 2019: Purcell’s St Fagans revamp is top Welsh building

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Purcell’s revamp of St Fagans Main Building in Cardiff has won the Royal Society of Architects in Wales Building of the Year 2019

The restoration and extension of a 1976 brick building by Modernist architect Percy Thomas was one of six RSAW Awards – equivalent to RIBA regional awards – and also picked up the special conservation award.

Funded by the largest Heritage Lottery Fund grant ever awarded in Wales, Purcell’s reorganisation of the main building at St Fagans National Museum of History for the National Museum of Wales provides large galleries, learning studios and hospitality and retail spaces.

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios also won a regional gong for a separate scheme at St Fagans: Gweithdy, a new gallery, workshop and visitor hub.

Other special awards went to Silver How, a family home in Llanhennock, Monmouthshire by architects Kelly Bednarczyk and Martin Hall, who took home the joint title of RSAW Project Architects of the Year. Meanwhile Architype’s Passivhaus school in Carmarthenshire, Ysgol Trimsaran, won the RSAW Sustainability Award.

Chair of the RSAW jury Elinor Gray-Williams said: ‘Sustainable design was high on the agenda for all the shortlisted projects, and while budget restraints continue to be a challenge, all the award-winning architects in 2019 achieved outstanding value in delivery for their clients. Wales can be very proud of all the winners.’

Speaking about Purcell’s winning scheme, Gray-Williams said: ‘St Fagans holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Wales. To take on the remodelling of a building of such immense cultural importance required considerable amounts of calm confidence, expertise and trust from both architect and client. Purcell and the National Museum of History met this challenge with some style.’

The Welsh Architecture Awards are presented by the RSAW as the first stage of the UK-wide RIBA Architecture Awards. Winners will be considered for an RIBA National Award, and the successful schemes will be considered for the Stirling Prize shortlist.

RSAW regional awards

St Fagans Main Building, Cardiff, by Purcell

St fagans main build 3255 phil boorman original 1

Source: Phil Boorman

Gweithdy, St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff, by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Gweithdy, st fagans  3356 craig auckland original 4

Source: Craig Auckland

Galeri Caernarfon Cinema Extension, Caernarfon, by Richard Murphy Architects

Galeri caernarfon ci 3089 andy marshall original 8


Source: Andy Marshall

Silver How, Llanhennock, Monmouthshire, by Hall + Bednarczyk Architects

Silver how 3324 simon maxwell original 3

Source: Simon Maxwell

M-Sparc, Ynys Môn, by FaulknerBrowns Architects

Menai science park 3432 richard chivers original 1

Source: Richard Chivers

Ysgol Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire, by Architype

Ysgol trimsaran 3136 phil boorman original 2


Source: Phil Boorman

Special awards

  • St Fagans Main Building, Cardiff, by Purcell, RSAW Conservation Award
  • St Fagans Main Building, Cardiff, by Purcell, RSAW Building of the Year 2019
  • Kelly Bednarczyk and Martin Hall of Hall + Bednarczyk Architects for Silver How, Monmouthshire, RSAW Project Architects of the Year
  • Bangor University for M-SParc, Ynys Môn by FaulknerBrowns Architects, RSAW Client of the Year 
  • Ysgol Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire by Architype, RSAW Sustainability Award sponsored by Michelmersh
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