Davies Sutton Architects has won the prestigious Welsh Architecture Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for the conversion of the Galilee Chapel at St Illtud’s.
The following excerpt, taken from the RIBA site, explains how the project has been a great contribution to British architecture:
Galilee Chapel is the realisation of a dream to restore a ruin which has remained in disrepair for over 400 years, and provide a suitable building to commemorate one of cradles of Celtic Christianity in Britain. Even this final solution has been years in gestation, but the patient result fulfils the brief superbly and provides the church with desperately needed space, a suitably reverent area in which to display the ancient Celtic stones and added facilities to give the church further space for its congregation and the local community.
The Chapel provides a new, well lit, calm and dignified stage to exhibit the stones, and also accommodates restrooms, a meeting/gallery space, a kitchen and an office. The constraints of the existing structure have been overcome by the architect through both following conservation principles and being innovative where required. The ruined side walls have been framed in stone and glazed extensively, allowing natural light to flood into the space. From the main body of the church this gives the chapel an almost celestial light through the internal glazed doors which draws visitors in.
Materials such as local stone, lime, natural slates, limewash, natural oak boarding and frameless glazing all give the Chapel a feeling of permanence and quality which allow it to sit well next the existing church, but not to hide its more contemporary detailing. The jury felt this was a confident solution to a difficult brief. Despite the restrictions imposed by the existing structure, the fact this is consecrated ground, disability access issues and archaeological concerns, the architect has produced a design of quality, and delivered a building which is well-detailed throughout and with no little panache. It shows a high level of maturity and confidence in terms of conservation design.