Rural beauty, public delight
Hall + Bednarczyk Architects for Dwr Cymru Welsh Water
Llandegfedd Reservoir, Monmouthshire
This scheme opens up a beautiful rural waterscape for the benefit of all.
Judges admired both the form of the visitor centre, with its watery gulp of a roof and the wider mission of the project by not-for-profit water company Dwr Cymru Welsh Water to open up its reservoir with public paths and visitor facilities.
The £2m project was part of its mission to reinvest any financial surplus to benefit the community in Wales. Specifically the company wanted two new facilities – a 500m2 visitor centre and a 300m2 watersports centre for a watersports school and sailing club to replace inadequate existing facilities. Hall + Bednarczyk won the two-stage competition and led the project.
The two-storey visitor centre by the water’s edge places visitor facilities on the first floor, offering panoramic views, while the ground floor is devoted to Welsh Water’s rangers. The design of the building captures its setting: approached from the car park above, it presents the fluid roof form as a fifth elevation. The watersports centre, designed in close consultation with its users, evolved as a refined boatshed with a first-floor clubhouse capturing views of the craft out on the water.
Both buildings have provided a considerable social catalyst for public engagement with the reservoir both on and off the water. The project fostered a change of company policy to allow public access round the entire reservoir. A site of considerable natural and man-made beauty has become a tangibly welcoming and healthful place for the people of South Wales. The MacEwens, for whom this award is named, would have approved.