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Prestigious design award for Old College project

Left to right: Mathew Dyer, Austin-Smith:Lord (Conservation Architecture and Interiors); Lyn Hopkins, Lawray (Architects), Andrea James, Director of Estates, Facilities and Residences, Aberystwyth University; and Dylan Green, Asbri Planning

THE DESIGNS that are transforming the home of Wales’s first University College into a major cultural and creative centre have been recognised at major awards ceremony in London.

Led by architects Lawray, the redevelopment of the Old College in Aberystwyth won the award for ‘Best Use of Heritage in Placemaking’ at the Planning Awards 2024 this month.

The awards recognises projects that use a place’s heritage in a way that improves the community.

Once completed, the Old College is expected to attract 200,000 visitors and contribute up to £14.5m annually to the local economy, putting it on par with major tourist destinations such as Caernarfon and Conwy castles.

Lyn Hopkins from Lawray, lead architect on the Old College project said: “This is a great achievement for our multi-disciplinary team, which includes Austin-Smith:Lord (Conservation Architecture and Interiors), Asbri Planning, Hoare Lee (MEP), Mann Williams Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers, Blake Morgan LLP, and Main Contractor, Andrew Scott Ltd.”

Professor Anwen Jones, Aberystwyth University’s Executive Lead on the Old College project said: “This is excellent news; congratulations to the whole team involved in the design work for this ambitious project. For over 150 years, the Old College has inspired generations of students, staff and visitors to Aberystwyth. This award recognises the design team’s vision for creating new inspirational spaces and opening the building up in ways never seen before, whilst respects its rich architectural heritage that is loved by so many.”

Old College evolved from an architecturally significant collection of 18th and 19th-century buildings reflected in its grade I listed status.

Informed by this significance, the buildings’ regeneration will sustain and use these values to positively contribute to Aberystwyth.

Main contractor, Andrew Scott Ltd, has started constructing the Old College’s new atrium, which is key to unlocking the building’s potential.

Extending over the adjacent grade II listed villas, the dramatic triple-height space will provide access to the seven floors of the Old College via the new stairs and lifts for the first time in its history.

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The Old College project is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund, UK Government Levelling Up Fund, Coastal Communities Fund, The National Lottery Community Fund, philanthropic trusts, and individuals.