By Bridie Adams

A PROJECT by two Herefordshire-based architects has been named Building of the Year by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Having won a regional award which recognises inventive new architecture in the southwest, East Quay Arts Centre will now be considered nationally.

Owen Hughes Pearce and George Williams joined forces to design the interiors of five unique accommodation ‘pods’ built on top of the arts centre, which is in Watchet, Somerset.

Hereford Times:

Owen and George also designed an educational room for youth groups, arts classes and activities for all ages. By working with school children, they designed an ‘anti-classroom’ as a space to engender creativity.

The two architects met in a product design class at Hereford Sixth Form College in 2006.


Owen’s studio PEARCE+ is based in Westhope, while George’s studio Fægen is named after his family’s herd of cattle in Craswall.

Hereford Times:

East Quay, which offers contemporary art galleries as well as artists’ studios, a café and the pods, was designed by architect Piers Taylor community centre and commissioned by Onion Collective, a social enterprise made up of local residents which won RIBA’s southwest Client of the Year award.

Jessica Prendergrast, Director of Onion Collective said: “We couldn’t be happier with the work - they are very talented architects and makers and have created interiors which are really very special, as well as great fun. It’s also nice that they come from a county that likes cider as much as we do here in Somerset, perhaps the secret of success!”