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Double award success for Grange Pavilion

13 May 2022

The Grange Pavilion, a centrepiece of Cardiff University’s Community Gateway project, has been awarded two prestigious Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) awards for bringing about meaningful change to Cardiff’s Grangetown community.

The project, which has transformed an old bowls pavilion into a thriving hub of activity for the community, was awarded the RSAW Welsh Architecture Award 2022 as well as the RSAW Client of the Year 2022.

The Pavilion was recognised as an ‘extraordinary community project’ and commended for exemplifying ‘true collaboration’ and for the impact that it has had on local residents.

The Grange Pavilion, which was completed in 2020, is located at the heart of Grangetown, one of the most diverse wards in Wales. It is managed by the Grange Pavilion CIO, a charitable organization with 60% residents and organizational partners Cardiff University, Cardiff Bay Rotary Club, Cardiff and Vale College, Taff Housing Association and RSPB.

Cardiff University’s Community Gateway project began collaborating with Grangetown residents in 2012, and worked collaboratively with Benham Architects, IBI group, and CDF Planning on the complete renovation of the Pavilion and a one-storey addition at the east edge of the Bowls Green, creating a facility with a café, three bookable spaces, toilets accessible to park users, and community gardening plots around a green.

It was designed by Benham Architects and IBI Group, who say the property was based on inclusion, ideas ownership by residents, social cohesion and community wellbeing and using building materials used were chosen to reflect its surroundings.

Part of the Pavilion has been built with bee, bird and bat bricks to create a hive for insects and animal activity, and to provide a nesting place.

Inside, three large sociable spaces can be booked and used by community residents and groups that include homework clubs, art therapy and indoor sports activities.

An external classroom has also been designed, creating an outdoor learning and collaboration space linked to the local school and after-school community gardening activities.

More than 400 Cardiff University students in the Welsh School of Architecture and the Cardiff Business School have supported the development of the Grange Pavilion through live teaching projects at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, design projects, vertical studios, dissertations, and research placements.

RSAW Jury Chair Sarah Featherstone said: "In Cardiff, community project Grange Pavilion demonstrates exemplar collaboration, which has transformed the lives of its residents. The building replaces an underused and deteriorating Bowls Club with a new multi-use building which can adapt to the needs of its community."

Professor Mhairi Mcvicar, Project Lead for Cardiff University’s Community Gateway project based at the Welsh School of Architecture, said: “The Grange Pavilion celebrates what can happen by committing to long term partnership working. The residents’ aims of pursuing quality has been

supported by ten years of collaborative teaching, research and engagement. We are looking forward to supporting and building on the long-term success of the Grange Pavilion through our ongoing partnerships in Grangetown.”

Community Gateway is a flagship Cardiff University engagement project committed to long-term partnerships with Grangetown residents and businesses, creating pathways between the University and community and facilitating the co-production of projects for mutual benefit.

To date it has supported more than 70 community-university projects making connections between University staff, students and Grangetown residents to collaboratively bring community-led ideas to life, including the award-winning Grange Pavilion Youth Forum, a Grangetown Business Forum and Grangetown World Market, a Pharmabees Citizen Science programme, the Run Grangetown social running group, Promoting Academic Excellence (PACE) mentoring, an annual mental health days, annual Careers and Role Model weeks and an annual Love Grangetown planning and celebration day.

The Grange Pavilion will now be considered for a highly coveted RIBA national award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results of which will be announced in June.

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