Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Saturday, 1 August 2009 16:51 UK

Snowdon centre architect's honour

Hafod Eryri, on top of Snowdon
Hafod Eryri has 'skilfully designed, delicate, even beautiful features', say judges Huw Meredydd Owen and Dafydd Tomos

The National Eisteddfod's gold medal for architecture has been awarded to the designer of the new visitors' centre on top of Snowdon.

Ray Hole won the honour at the festival in Bala, Gwynedd, for his work on Hafod Eryri, Wales' highest building.

It is given by the eisteddfod and the Royal Society of Architects in Wales and is sponsored for the first time by the Design Commission for Wales.

Judges praised its "skilfully designed, delicate, even beautiful features".

In their adjudication, Huw Meredydd Owen and Dafydd Tomos also said: "The success of the final building shows once again that the landscape of Wales is more than powerful enough to cope with man-made structures designed in a contemporary and confident way.

Inside Hafod Eryri
A fitting climax as a destination to one of Wales' most important icons and a building that the whole nation should be proud of
Aneurin Phillips, Snowdonia National Park Authority

"This was a building that had specific technical and practical demands.

"It has been designed to withstand not only the extreme forces of nature but also people, bearing in mind the thousands of visitors that visit this unique site."

Aneurin Phillips, chief executive of Snowdonia National Park Authority, said: "It is a Welsh national recognition of his vision and ingenuity as an architect and the fact that the medal this year is awarded during the Meirion and District Eisteddfod is an added bonus for us here in the national park".

Almost 40,000 passengers have travelled by train up Snowdon and visited Hafod Eryri since it opened in mid-June.

Mr Phillips said while those figures showed how popular Snowdon was, credit went to the architect "for giving us a building design that is a fitting climax as a destination to one of Wales' most important icons and a building that the whole nation should be proud of".

The £8.4m centre was completed after nearly three years of demolition and building, at 3,560ft (1,085m) above sea level.

Hafod Eryri has already won two other awards, from the Structural Steel Design Awards 2009 and Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Wales.



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