An iconic Cardiff landmark was last night recognised as one of the finest examples of architecture in Britain.
The new Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama building on North Road was one of only two in Wales to receive a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) award for its outstanding architecture.
Wales’ national conservatoire was completed in June last year in a £15.75m revamp – featuring a 450-seat concert hall, a 200-seat theatre and a cafe, as well as rehearsal spaces and movement studios for students.
RIBA said that, despite the constraints of a tight site, the architects BFLS had created “a new civic landmark for Cardiff”.
It said that the foyer of the building had become “one of the most popular community spaces in Cardiff where students and public can gather”.
“The building represents remarkable value and has given a previously introspective academic institution a civic presence,” it added.
The building was recognised at an awards evening at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay last night. It will now go forward to contend the UK-wide RIBA Stirling Prize, along with the Swansea-based cancer centre Maggie’s South West Wales, and 59 other buildings across the UK and Europe.
RIBA president Angela Brady said that the awards “reflected the changing state” of British architecture and emerging design trends.
“What really stands out is that even in times of austerity, we can still deliver amazingly clever, high quality buildings that reflect the needs of today and enhance our daily lives,” she said.
“The judges were delighted to see so many well considered, crafted and innovative projects, and the use of beautiful materials – these projects are truly exciting and inspiring.
“The huge range of great buildings will guarantee an exciting Stirling Prize shortlist later in the year and illustrates the value of quality in architecture.”
The Royal Welsh College was also one of the four buildings recognised as Building of the Year and Client of the Year in the Welsh Architecture Awards, which were also awarded last night.
Other recipients of Welsh Architecture Awards were Maggie’s South West Wales, the Brecon Heating Showroom in Newcastle Emlyn and Carreg a Gwydr in Itton Common, Monmouthshire.