Issue date: 26 November 2002

The new Studios building at the University of the West of England (UWE) has won first prize from the British Institute of Architectural Technologists (BIAT). The annual BIAT Open Award recognises technical excellence in design and construction. The winning prize was awarded at BIAT’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday 23 November at the Hilton Hotel in Cardiff, Wales.

Designed by Bristol-based practice, White Design, the project was placed first amongst strong competition from internationally renowned architects. This is the second year running that the South West has been recognised for its innovative design by BIAT - last year's winning scheme was the Eden Project, in Cornwall.

It was constructed by Willmott Dixon's of Cardiff. Consultants Buro Happold - in conjunction with Mander Structural Design - were instrumental in the delivery of the innovative engineering aspects of the project. The project was managed by UWE's Estates Department.

Linda Farrow from White Design said, “The team is delighted to receive this prestigious award. UWE was prepared to go the extra mile by supporting the team's proposals for a number of innovative features, including glued bricks and panels made of pre-fabricated straw bales. By putting together new and existing techniques in an innovative way, we have not only demonstrated the best in sustainable building, but have created new design studios that provide a state of the art teaching and learning environment for successive generations of UWE students.”

Richard Parnaby, Head of the School of Architecture said, "It is great news that our building has won this important prize. It confirms that we have a building which combines cutting edge thinking in sustainable design with high technical standards and stunning good looks - a great exemplar for the student architects and planners who will be learning in it."


Editor’s notes

1.Qualities looked for in BIAT's Open Award include excellence in innovative use of materials, quality of work and craftsmanship, evidence of life-cycle costings and assessment, sustainability, economic considerations, integrated health and safety and integration of fabric structures and services.

2. In the BIAT Open Award this year second place was awarded to the Richard Rogers Partnership, with Avery Associates being placed third.

3.The Studios is believed to be the first building in the UK to be built using an innovative construction method where the bricks are glued together into panels instead of using cement. The technique is quicker than conventional methods and allows large spans without lintels. The building also has a range of other important environmental features – such as maximum use of natural daylight, a natural ventilation strategy and rainwater collected from the roof for flushing toilets.

4. The UWE studio building was shortlisted for last month's Brick Development Association annual awards and is also a demonstration project for the Movement for Innovation (M4I). The project was also featured on the BBC's Tomorrow's World programme in May 2002.

5. The Studios welcomed its first Architecture and Planning students at the beginning of the autumn term providing them with a high quality teaching and research environment. For further information on the Faculty see www.uwe.ac.uk/fbe

6. For further information on White Design contact Linda Farrow on 0117 954 7333 or visit www.white-design.co.uk

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