The Most Beautiful Pushing Boundaries New Buildings of Architecture

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 4, 2015 | Go to article overview

The Most Beautiful Pushing Boundaries New Buildings of Architecture


Byline: Sion Morgan Reporter sion.morgan@walesonline.co.uk

THEY are considered the very finest examples of Welsh modern architecture, pushing the boundaries of sleek, sophisticated design - now these stunning buildings have been singled out as the nation's most outstanding new creations.

From the sympathetic composition of a visitor centre, breathing in the stunning surroundings of Snowdonia, to the quirky yet practical grassroofed elegance of a Gwynedd primary school, eight shortlisted projects have been hand picked by the Design Commission for Wales for their celebration of "Welshness" and "exceptional" architecture.

The eight, completed between January 2012 and March 2015, will be whittled down to just one recipient of the prestigious Gold Medal for Architecture award, announced next month at the National Eisteddfod.

Carole-Anne Davies, chief executive of the Design Commission for Wales, said: "Architecture is a vital element in the nation's culture and it is important that architects achieving the highest design standards are fully recognised and celebrated.

"Working in close partnership with the Royal Society of Architects in Wales, we seek to celebrate those projects that achieve architectural excellence and recognise exceptional designers and clients." Unusually, this year's shortlist includes several private dwellings, a shift in trend which the Design Commission attributes to public funding constraints, resulting in ambitious publicly-funded projects being put on hold or toned down in design.

But according to Ms Davies, more individual clients are also now "championing and investing in good quality design". Among them are two cliff-top homes which boast unrivalled views of the Welsh coast. In Gower, Cliff House is perched up high on a limestone cliff overlooking the point where the Bristol Channel meets the Atlantic Ocean with its main living spaces located on the first floor in order to allow residents to enjoy unbroken views of the water below. Cefn Castell in Criccieth, meanwhile, overlooks Cardigan Bay.

A 400-year old cottage previously occupied the site and its stonework has been re-used to make a boundary wall.

Likewise, a number of the recognised projects, including The Nook, a four-bedroom home nestled in a Monmouthshire valley, and The Great House, a converted farm building in St Fagans, also use traditional materials, or are examples of modern design encapsulating traditional Welsh architecture - a feature of which judges were briefed to look for. …

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