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Architecture Oscars triumph for Brockholes

Friday, 22nd June 2012

Brockholes Nature Reserve has won three awards at Britain’s architecture Oscars.

The Visitor Village, at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust reserve, off the M6 at Preston, was chosen as the North West’s Building of the Year by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at a ceremony at the Queens Hotel in Leeds, last night.

And the pioneering, floating village is now a contender for RIBA’s top award, the Stirling Award, against opposition from the London Olympic Stadium and the favourite for the award the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield.

Jay Merrick, in The Independent, said: “If there's going to be a surprise-winner, it may well be the Brockholes Visitor Centre in Lancashire, designed by Adam Khan. This young architect has produced a totally assured ensemble of buildings whose architecture and environmental performance are clearly the work of a young designer who will, in five or six years, be competing directly with the profession's elite.”

Brockholes won RIBA’s North West Building of the Year, the North West Sustainability Award and one of the 50 awards for the top new buildings in the UK, that “best exemplify architectural merit in the region”. Those 50 buildings and nine other EU designs will now be considered for the Stirling Award.

Mentioning Brockholes as an example of sustainability, RIBA president Angela Brady said: “What really stands out is that even in times of austerity, we can still deliver amazingly clever, high quality buildings that reflect the needs of today and enhance our daily lives.

“Many architects have crafted considered designs using materials that emphasise texture, authenticity and environmental efficiency.”

Brockholes Project Manager Ian Selby, along with Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Anne Selby, was at the ceremony to collect the awards. Ian said: “We are immensely pleased. It’s a vindication of the effort we put in and the vision we had for Brockholes.

“I think we are particularly proud to win the Sustainability Award as it proves how important it is when you have a project like this to do things the right way.”

Brockholes General Manager Kath Knight said: “We are delighted to receive recognition at such a prestigious award ceremony. Brockholes is a very special place to work, I have enjoyed being part of this exciting project and watching the reserve develop.

“Adam and The Wildlife Trust were keen to make sure the buildings were perfectly suited to their surroundings in the nature reserve, and to receive  the sustainability award is testament to the work that has been done.

“It is great to know that we are being mentioned as possible winners of the Stirling Award but we have  tough competition from some fantastic buildings. We are simply happy that the work we have done as a small charity and continue to do is being recognised.”

Brockholes was opened on Easter Sunday 2011 and has had more than 180,000 visitors since then. The Visitor Village was designed by Adam Khan and includes a interpretation centre, restaurant, conference centre, education centre and shops.

The nature reserve, which is the size of 120 football pitches, has a number of lakes, woodland, wetland areas and meadows. Birds breeding on the site have increased massively this year proving that visitors can get closer to nature.

Including the RIBA awards Brockholes has now won more than 20 awards for its architecture and wetlands.

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