We're delighted to announce our Project of the Year, Wales — Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) — along with the category winners and highly commended for the 2017 RICS Awards, Wales.

Many of Wales’ most inspiring and community beneficial new property schemes battled it out for top honours at the 2017 RICS Awards, Wales. TV personality Lucy Owen was the host for this year’s sell-out ceremony, which took place at The Classroom, Cardiff and Vale College.

View the winners' brochure

Project of the Year: Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)

CUBRIC 1

Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) opened in Spring 2016. Housing a combination of neuroimaging equipment, unique within Europe, CUBRIC continues to further its world-leading research, which has already established Cardiff University as one of the UK’s top three universities for psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience. The new building has high levels of safety from magnetic fields, and for participants and patients, and is a highly sustainable design, achieving BREEAM Excellent.

RICS judges praised the project team — CAPITA, IBI Group, and BAM Construction Ltd, on behalf of Cardiff University — for  creating an exquisite building which embraces a cluster of unique brain imaging scanners, with the surrounding building designed to harmoniously reflect the neuroscience work.

Winners & Highly Commended entries

Building Conservation: Conerstones, Charles Street, Cardiff

Cornerstones involved the restoration and transformation of an abandoned, former Ebenezer Chapel in Cardiff into a multi-use hub that has provided a much-needed stimulus for Charles Street in the heart of the city. The philosophy of the project was to create a new community facility using as much of the original chapel materials as possible, giving it back to the people of Cardiff whilst saving a prominent historic building from decay.

The judges said the major achievement is that an alternative use has been found for a traditional Welsh chapel which would have otherwise fallen to an unsympathetic commercial use. The project team included WYG, Petersen Williams Chartered Architects, and John Weaver (Contractors) Ltd for the Cardiff Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Trust.

  • Highly Commended: Not awarded

Commercial Property (sponsored by Sika Liquid Plastics): One Central Square, Cardiff

One Central Square is a landmark development that provides 135,000 sq ft of much-needed Grade A office space in Cardiff City Centre. The building design sets a quality benchmark for the one million sq ft regenerative development of this neglected city area. Completed in March 2016 and fully let within six months, the facility raises the bar for office design and has captured the imagination of the city.

RICS judges praised the project team, which included Rio Architects Ltd, and Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd for Rightacres Property Co Ltd, for creating a BREAAM excellent building that has proved exceptionally popular with tenants and is fully let, whilst acting as a catalyst for further development.

  • Highly Commended: Not awarded

Community Benefit: HM Prison Berwyn, Wrexham

The redevelopment of a former factory site on the Wrexham Industrial Estate, which has laid empty for nearly 20 years, into the first prison for North Wales has brought significant benefits to the local community and will do so for years to come. By committing to using local goods, services and labour and working closely with the community, the building phase has significantly boosted the local economy, improved local transport and provided jobs and education opportunities for children and adults.

RICS judges were impressed by the extensive efforts that have been made and continue to be made to maximise benefits to the local community. The project team included Lendlease and the Ministry for Justice.

  • Highly Commended: Springfield Court, Church Village

Design through Innovation (sponsored by Forbo Flooring Systems): Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)

CUBRIC is seen as unique within Europe as a centre of excellence for brain imaging, and a world-leader for research in areas such as psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience. Its combination of facilities and expertise includes multiple MRI scanning facilities, brain stimulation equipment, sleep laboratories, drug trial facilities, modern offices, and break out spaces. Its innovative microstructure MRI facility is so powerful that it has been compared to the Hubble Space Telescope.

  • Highly Commended: Ysgol Bae Baglan, Port Talbot

Regeneration: Urban Village, High Street, Swansea

Urban Village was a residential-led project, designed to provide "city living" accommodation, as well as offering high-quality office space to attract businesses to the area. It was designed by Coastal Housing Group to tackle the urban decline in Swansea high street. The high street area of Swansea, and in particular the approach from high street station, was in danger of becoming a no-go area.

RICS judges said the creation of the Urban Village, with its mix of uses, has dramatically improved the area, which is now seeing additional investment from the private sector that will secure the area’s future. The project team for Urban Village included ChandlerKBS, Holder Mathias and R&M Williams, for Coastal Housing Group.

  • Highly Commended: The regeneration of Ynysangharad War Memorial Park Lido, Pontypridd

Tourism & Leisure: Harlech Castle Visitor Centre, Apartments & Footbridge, Gwynedd

The project to create a new visitor centre, apartments and footbridge at Harlech Castle saw the refurbishment of the Harlech Castle Hotel — a three-storey Victorian building — and its conversion into a new visitor centre with an interpretation element, retail shop and staff offices, plus five, high-quality apartments. A new 47-metre bridge was also constructed to connect the visitor centre to the castle’s gatehouse.

RICS judges said the centre appears not only to have added to the overall visitor experience of the World Heritage Site, it has also changed the nature of the town centre from one of quiet decay to one of optimism, with new business start-ups and the expansion of existing businesses. The project team included Cadw — Welsh Historic Environment Service, EPT Partnership and RL Davies & Son Ltd.

  • Highly Commended: Not awarded

View the winners' brochure

Read the next page in this section