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RIBA Regional Awards 2014: West Midlands

RIBA Regional Awards 2014: West Midlands

Dhiran Vagdia, Coventry: The Midlands has been busy building its way out of the recession. Birmingham Airport is expanding; the excellent motorway network is continually being improved. Works to the M1/M6 interchange at Junction 19 are under way. HS2 or no, this is still a very well connected area.

As an architectural practice based in Coventry and Warwickshire, we are seeing Midlands businesses actively dissolving East/West regional boundaries, aspiring to strike up collaborations irrespective of ­regional location.  

Such collaborations and construction successes are routinely celebrated, through both commercial success and events such as the annual Midlands Business Awards and Celebrating Construction Awards, which brought together and recognised Midlands businesses as representative of wider, inclusive region. 

Architecturally, the Midlands has its fair share of inward investment and excellent client vision; its architecture is recognised on a regional and national stage, if not international, with continued examples of excellence.  The shortlisted RIBA Awards over the last few years are testament to this ambition.

Specifically Coventry, on our doorstep, is moving forward. Architecturally, it flies a high flag, the historic legacy of Sir Basil Spence, city architect Sir Donald Gibson and the first pedestrianised city centre in the country, and more recent fantastic projects in the city, university and beyond. European investment is improving our public realm and highways: the A45/A46 Tollbar Island works are under way, the game-changing office development at Friargate, and massive investment around the airport (Coventry Gateway) show commitment to the area.

The benefit to us as a practice?  We can get to clients more quickly.  We can service them and work with our partners more quickly.  We can be competitive over a larger geographic area, and maintain a wide portfolio of projects. Our sphere of influence is growing.

Dhiran Vagdia is director of Vagdia & Holmes


Special Awards
Client of the Year: Birmingham City Council (for the Library of Birmingham)
Sustainability Award: Centre of Refurbishment Excellence (CoRE)
Emerging Architect: Patrick Arends of Mecanoo  (for the Library of Birmingham)
Building of Year: Library of Birmingham