Caernarfon Castle project shortlisted for RSAW Welsh Architecture Award

A three year-long programme of conservation and enhancement work at Caernarfon Castle has been shortlisted in the prestigious Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) Welsh Architecture Awards 2024.  

Delivered for Cadw – the Welsh government's historic environment service – the £5 million project has aimed to advance the visitor experience and enhance understanding of the site by improving the visitor offer, especially for those with limited ability to access certain areas.

This has involved the introduction of a new layer of architecture to the medieval building in the form of bespoke pieces of ‘furniture’ that sit on top of and within the triple-towered gatehouse.

Internally, three new floors of accommodation have been created, housing accessible toilets with changing places, a café, a gift shop, a reception area, staff facilities, storage, and new and immersive interpretation areas that tell the story of the people who built the castle.

On the upper level, the architectural forms emerge from the towers below to create a viewing deck with seating areas, allowing visitors to take in views across the castle complex and beyond. Access to the deck is provided via a glazed lift, which enables visitors of all abilities to access this part of the castle for the first time in its history. It is also believed the first-time that level access has been provided in any similar UK World Heritage Site.

Alongside this, careful conservation work has been carried out to the gatehouse itself and adjoining walls to help to protect the medieval structure for generations to come.

two girls look at the sculpture on the deck at caernarfon castle

RSAW Jury Chair Kevin Hong, Associate Director and Studio Lead of AtkinsRealis Cardiff, said: 

“From heritage and conservation projects to education and domestic dwellings, the shortlist reflects sensitive skill and execution of varying scales and building typologies. 

“The theme of regeneration and the buildings strong sense of place were at the forefront of jury discussions. Whether through bold domestic, cultural and community interventions, or the innovative reuse of our built heritage, they show ambition to revitalise our towns, cities, and rural settings. 

“These projects show how good architecture can play a key role in safeguarding our built heritage and developing a culture of social innovation.” 

All shortlisted projects will be assessed by a regional jury, and the winning projects will be announced in spring 2024. The winners of the Royal Society of Architects Wales awards will then be considered for a highly coveted RIBA national award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results of which will be announced in the summer.

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