Cardiff School of Art and Design, Western Avenue, Cardiff

Efficient, transparent inter-departmental connectivity

· Credit: Phil Boorman

Austin-Smith:Lord for Cardiff Metropolitan University

Contract value: £10 million

GIA: 8575m2

The solid, brusque envelope of the new School of Art building belies the openness of its interior planning. Here is an exercise in efficient, transparent inter-departmental connectivity, planned around a central atrium using its concrete frame and exposed services to produce what is an object lesson in value for money. It seems almost inconceivable that the design team was able to deliver this building for less than £1200/m2. All that and you even get 4m floor-to-floor height.  

  • · Credit: Phil Boorman
  • · Credit: Phil Boorman
  • · Credit: Phil Boorman
  • · Credit: Phil Boorman
  • · Credit: Phil Boorman
  • · Credit: Phil Boorman
  • · Credit: Phil Boorman

The central atrium is planned around a new space that gives the building a social heart. The need to house three large workshops at ground floor level has pulled the centrepiece up to the first floor, given grandeur and sense of arrival by a wide processional stair. The robust interior is very capable of taking the testing of students, and building looks set to become a strong new addition to the University’s Llandaf campus.


See other winners in the RIBA Regional Awards 2015 – Wales