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Hay Castle, Hay-on-Wye

Words:
RIBA Regional Jury

MICA Architects’ strong relationships with the client, design team and community show how to approach conservation and heritage – and win it 2024 RSAW Conservation Award

Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg

2024 RSAW Award
2024 RSAW Conservation award
2024 RSAW Building of the Year sponsored by EH Smith

Hay Castle, Hay-on-Wye, Powys 
MICA Architects for Hay Castle Trust
Contract value
£5.86m
GIA: 980m2
Cost per m2: £5,500

Hay Castle sits in the heart of the Powys market town of Hay-on-Wye. Having been in private ownership for the best part of 900 years, this project has adapted the castle and its grounds into a historic destination for many to visit and enjoy. It involved a major conservation-led renovation and repair of the important historic building, which included contemporary interventions to bring the castle back to life and for public benefit. It has not only delivered a lively place for gathering, learning and the arts but also made important connections between castle and town to reinvigorate its location and offer views across the River Wye and the valley beyond.

  • Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Hay Castle. Credit: MICA Architects
    Hay Castle. Credit: MICA Architects
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This is a fine example of a thoroughly researched and applied set of works in conservation and heritage for contemporary use. MICA Architects has shown all its skill in achieving such quality architecture to the benefit of many.

The heritage-led project transforms a critically at-risk building that had lost much of its original fabric. The existing castle is an amalgamation of different interventions over history, including a medieval keep and Jacobean mansion house. The new venue now offers a gallery, educational suite of community spaces, reception hall for events and reading room with bookshop.

Externally, the new works are subtle. From an intensive initial research period, lost elements of the castle were reinstated and sensitive viewing areas were incorporated. Windows were repaired or replaced and entrance thresholds clarified to provide access to a more contemporary intervention internally. This intervention has organised the series of spaces into a flowing circulation representing the change from domestic residence to public venue. Natural materials such as bronze and hardwoods were used for the structural interventions, employing traditional construction methods and expressing them visually in an honest approach to conservation. The design of the fit-out and interpretation panels only adds to the characterful experience, again using natural materials and integrating harmoniously with the building fabric.

  • Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Hay Castle. Credit: MICA Architects
    Hay Castle. Credit: MICA Architects
  • Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
  • Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
    Hay Castle. Credit: Andy Stagg
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From the relationship between the client and the design team to the community support, Hay Castle is an excellent example of how to approach conservation and heritage with spirit and expertise. It has delivered a lively addition to the civic life of Hay-on-Wye.

See the rest of the RSAW Wales winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Contractor John Weaver Contractors
Structural engineer HRW
Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Aecom
Landscape architect Jeremy Rye
Project management/fire engineer/CDM Mott Macdonald
Services engineer CO2O Consulting
Archaeological consultant Oxford Archaeology
Conservation contractor Acanthus Clews Architects
Interpretation designer Imagemakers
CDM consultant McNamara and Co

Credit: MICA Architects
Credit: MICA Architects
Credit: MICA Architects
Credit: MICA Architects
Credit: MICA Architects
Credit: MICA Architects

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