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Westmorland Limited wins RIBA Client of the Year Award

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The client behind Glenn Howells Architects’ RIBA Award-winning Gloucester Services has been named the institute’s Client of the Year

The family-run service station operator saw off competition from three other clients – all based outside of London – to win the accolade.

The shortlist

  • Leicester Print Workshop
  • Manchester City Council 
  • University of Oxford Estates
  • Westmorland Limited 

Put forward for the award by Glenn Howells Architects and AFL Architects, Westmorland was set up by Cumbrian farmers John and Barbara Dunning in 1972 when the M6 expanded through the Lune Gorge.

Designed by Glenn Howells Architects, the 3,278m² Gloucester Services feature a series of grass-topped roofs and are visible only as a series of sweeping concave façades.

The Client of the Year Award, supported by The Bloxham Charitable Trust, recognises the role that good clients play in the creation and championing of excellence in architecture.

Commenting on the winner, Bloxham said: ’The best buildings result from successful partnerships of highly ambitious clients working with equally demanding architects. With Gloucester Services, Westmorland have not only commissioned a brilliant service station – a type of site not necessarily known for its architectural qualities – but they have contributed much more, creating a successful business model that has its local community at its heart. I am delighted that Westmorland have been recognised with the RIBA’s Client of the Year award for their incredible achievement.’

Last year the prize was won by the National Theatre. Other clients to have picked up the award include the Olympic Delivery Authority, The Royal Shakespeare Company and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Client of the Year nomination by Glenn Howells Architects

‘In1972, Cumbrian farmers John and Barbara Dunning set up Westmorland and Tebay Services in partnership with local producers when the new M6 expanded through the Lune Gorge, making it the first and only family-run motorway service station operator in the UK. 

’Gloucester Services builds upon the success of Tebay in its use of local materials, innovation, construction and vernacular design. It exceeds all expectations of what a motorway service area can be. Working with Glenn Howells Architects, Westmorland had a clear brief.

‘They were professional from the outset, allowing the architectural team to come up with the most appropriate design for the site while also challenging and testing the design down to the last detail. Over 28 million vehicles a year carry over 40 million people through Gloucestershire via the M5 – previously without any community benefit.

‘Now, through the vision of Westmorland, the M5 has been turned into a community asset rather than a problem bringing pollution, congestion and noise. Gloucester Services champions its locality through its commitment to locally sourced and home-made food. The business works with around 130 local and more than 70 regional producers.

‘A notable feature of Westmorland is its partnership with the Gloucester Gateway Trust, which works with disadvantaged local communities. Westmorland have successfully employed over 30 per cent of its workforce from the long-term unemployed, those with learning disabilities and mental illness, substance abuse sufferers and ex-offenders. This business charity partnership is not just a charitable donation; it’s an investment in the local community.’

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