Creative Units at Aberystwyth Arts Centre Receive prestigious RIBA Award

Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Creative Units at Aberystwyth University have been given a Royal Institute of British Architects award in the 2010 honours, just a few months after receiving a major award in the annual Civic Trust Awards.

The project, which was designed for the Arts Centre by Heatherwick Studio, is one of just seven buildings from Wales which received awards from the RIBA Awards this year, and the only one in Mid Wales. The RIBA announced 102 awards this year – 93 from the UK and the remainder from the rest of the EU, and the Arts Centre’s projects is one of 17 awards given to buildings in schools and universities. The awards are given for buildings that have achieved high architectural standards and make a substantial contribution to the local environment. The awards are annual, and have been running continuously since 1966. Winners of RIBA Awards go on to be considered for RIBA Special Awards, and form the longlist for the prestigious Stirling Prize which is announced later in the year at a special event in London.

RIBA President Ruth Reed said about the 2010 RIBA Award winners:

‘The RIBA Awards reflect not only the state of British architecture but also that of its economy. In the midst of the deepest recession in the 45 year history of the RIBA Awards, this year’s awards demonstrate that although times might be hard for architects, there are still great buildings being built throughout the country and overseas. The RIBA Awards always give an opportunity for gem-like small projects and less established practices to shine through and this year is no exception. Far from being a size prize, the RIBA Awards are for buildings that offer value to people’s lives. I am looking forward to seeing an exciting RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist.’

The Creative Units project was designed to develop Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s role as a creative hub for arts businesses, arts development agencies, artists and craft workers. The mix of artists and arts businesses is a unique feature of this development with both new and established occupants interacting together in a creative and stimulating environment to realise their economic and creative potential. As a department of Aberystwyth University, the Arts Centre’s project also links into the University’s Commercialisation Unit and Spinout Scheme and the Welsh Assembly’s strategy to prioritise development of the creative industry sector. The project, worth £1.4 million, was made possible by support from Aberystwyth University, the Arts Council of Wales Lottery Fund and the Welsh Assembly Government. All the units are fully occupied with a range of new and established creative business, working in fields that include TV, music and Digital production, book publishing, and professional visual artists, including the Arts Centre’s Artists in Residence project. With their distinctive ‘crinkled steel’ finish their unique look has proved to be a real draw for creative companies looking for an equally creative base.