The Wales Insitute for Sustainable Education at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth was delighted to be awarded the Dewi- Prys Thomas prize for what the judges called a ‘fantastic creation’. The triennial Dewi-Prys Thomas Prize is Wales’s prestigious award that recognizes the importance of good design to the quality of life, identity and regeneration of Wales, previous winners include the Sennedd.
The WISE building was selected from a short list of 7 projects and was presented to the Centre for Alternative Technology, the prize also recognised the importance of the long term environmental work of the organisation. The award was presented by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas PC AM.
Kim Bryan, spokesperson at the Centre for Alternative technology said
“ This is a huge achievement for Pat Borer and David Lea, the architects of the WISE building and everyone at CAT who made the building happen.”
The WISE building is CAT’s state of the art education and conference centre, home to its Graduate School of the Environment built to provide thousands of people the opportunity to learn about environmental topics, from organic gardening to renewable energy and green architecture, in an inspiring environment.
The Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE) building is a substantial addition to the established complex at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) at Machynlleth. As would be expected of this client body and its architects, Pat Borer and David Lea, the sustainability credentials of this distinguished new building are impeccable. Low-energy materials – earth, wood, hemp and lime – are used throughout. The transparency and openness of glass technology in roof lights and windows allow the building to respond to the changing patterns and effects of daylight and sunlight. The building acts as both a residential college of further education and a conference centre and consists of a series of study bedrooms, classrooms, seminar rooms, teaching offices a magnificent circular, rammed-earth walled lecture theatre. The layout is a collegiate style series of courtyards, cloisters and verandas that step up across the dramatic hillside site. As a demonstration of the issues that are taught in the institution, the rainwater system cascades, spouts and pools, sunlight powers solar collectors and warms the working spaces that are naturally ventilated. The building, while complex, is deceptively simple for the user, warm, intriguing and humane. It is artful, yet in an unselfconscious way.