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GATE European Timber Designer of the Year


An international competition to find the best young designers across Europe

WALES WINNER ANNOUNCED


Arwel Owen, a young building designer from mid Wales, has just taken a top award in the biggest European competition to encourage more young architects and designers to use timber in their buildings.

Arwel Owen, right, receiving his award from Mike Over
Arwel Owen, right, receiving his award from Mike Over

The 26 year old product design graduate will now join up with delegates from across the GATE partner regions in Estonia to see some of the exciting ways designers there are using timber in construction - and join an International seminar looking at ways to promote the use of timber in buildings.
"This competition has given our Welsh young architects the opportunity to put themselves on the European design map," said GATE project manager Mike Over. "And Arwel's design for a sustainable family home using local timber is sure to impress our European partners."

Arwel, who studied Product Design Technology at Staffordshire College after leaving Machynlleth High School, joined the Hughes architect and design practice at Newtown three years ago.
"It may not have been the traditional route into designing buildings, but much of the computer software is the same, and a house is just about the biggest - and most expensive - product most of us will ever buy," said Arwel.
"And entering the GATE competition gave me the opportunity to try something really special, to produce a design using cutting edge technologies, working together without having to follow specific cost and time constraints," he said.

His building uses timber frame construction resting on individual footpads instead of massive foundations - another method of reducing environmental costs, as well as reducing build time increasing its energy efficiency and sustainability.

Mike, Doug Hughes and Arwel look over the winning plans
Mike, Doug Hughes and Arwel look over the winning plans

A turf roof, rainwater collection systems, high levels of insulation and other sustainable options have been built into the design, potentially increasing the build cost, but reducing costs over its minimum 100 year lifespan.
"This method of construction is being used elsewhere in Europe, it has strong traditions and all kinds of benefits. Unfortunately in Wales we still very much resort to what we know - block and mortar - rather than looking to different ways of building modern, more efficient homes," he said.

His design was praised for the way in which Welsh timber is used as a major structural component, helping towards the reduction of the environmental footprint of building.
"This exciting competition is part of GATE's ongoing three year campaign to make Welsh timber a vital component of Welsh construction, helping to bring new jobs and money into Wales," said Mike.
"Arwel's design has many interesting components which fit exactly with what we are after, and as well as taking part in the Tallinn conference in June, we are now getting independent costings on the home to see how costs measure up to wet build," he added.

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3D View 9

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Plan 4
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Plan 8
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Plan 11