Cracking award Gromit - Aardman HQ wins design accolade
AARDMAN Animation's new headquarters in Bristol where the likes of famous characters Wallace and Gromit are brought to life, has won a national design award.
The £7.7m building in Gas Ferry Road, near the ss Great Britain, which was completed in February last year, won a Riba (Royal Institute of British Architects) Award for architectural excellence at a ceremony in the premises last night.
Two other Bristol entries – the new £20m foyer at the Colston Hall and Arnos Vale Cemetery – were both commended for bringing quality of design to the city.
Aardman's new headquarters are built around a tapering three-storey atrium which houses a reception, semi-open meeting areas and wide bridges with landings and walkways that flow into work areas on either side.
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The work areas are designed with two-thirds height so they are high enough to feel enclosed when you are sitting down but low enough to have a conversation with a colleague while standing up.
Designed by Bristol architects Alec French, the headquarters are often visited by groups of architects.
Aardman's executive chairman Dave Sproxton said: "The building is designed to be quite open and yet intimate at the same time so people can communicate when they want to but do not distract and overload others."
David Mellor, a director of Alec French, said: "We have to get under the client's skin so we can understand the organisation and deliver what they want."
Regional Riba Director Jon Watkins said: "Aardman is a special office which must be the envy of others – and should be seen as a beacon for future schemes."
The contractors for the building were Leadbitter Construction while Arup won the contracts for the structural and services engineering.
Peter Barber, chairman of the judging panel, said: "The success of the scheme is attributable to the close creative relationship which seems to have developed between client and architects during the design process."
Riba president Ruth Reed said: "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 winners 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."
The five other buildings in the South West which were presented with Riba Awards were: Furzey Hall Farm, Gloucestershire, by Waugh Thistleton Architects (London); The Hyde, Dillington House, Somerset, by Purcell Miller Tritton LLP (Bristol); Mills Bakery, Plymouth, by Gillespie Yunnie (Totnes); Rednock School, Dursley, by Cube Design Ltd (Hants); Wonford Road, Exeter, by David Sheppard Architects (Devon).
A total of 102 buildings in Britain and Europe have won Riba Awards this year.