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Hampshire County Council designers scoop national awards

Friday, 14 June 2013

Hampshire County Council has received two 2013 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards for building design quality at Runways End Outdoor Activity Centre in Aldershot.

A RIBA Regional Award 2013 and RIBA South East Sustainability Award were awarded to the Council's Property Services Department this week for their work to design the Centre.

The RIBA Awards are given for buildings that have a high architectural quality and make a substantial contribution to the local environment. The awards are annual, and have been running continuously since 1966.

Runway';s End opened in October 2011 and is an ultra-modern children and young people's activity centre which gives youngsters from across Hampshire the chance to take part in world-class, challenging and exciting indoor and outdoor activities from archery, canoeing and abseiling, to rope courses, caving and camping.

The County Council, Rushmoor Borough Council and the Blackwater Valley District Scouts were successful in securing a significant capital grant from the then Department of Education, Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) Co-location Fund to help fund the project.

Set in eight acres of woodland next to the Basingstoke Canal, the Centre has residential accommodation and a campsite, and includes a climbing and abseiling tower, a bouldering wall, and ropes and obstacle course designed for young children to tackle in teams. The underground caving experience also caters for people with physical disabilities, and there is a multi-activity hall for archery, shooting and team games. In addition, groups can use the beautiful Basingstoke Canal for canoeing.

Sustainability is the key ethos at Runways End. The centre produces its own hot water and heating through a biomass boiler plus a rainwater harvesting system recycles rainwater to flush toilets. These unique eco-friendly additions not only reduce the site's impact on the environment but reduce its utility bills.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, said: "I am delighted that our in-house Property Services team have received national recognition for their efforts to provide these award-winning facilities for children and young people at Runways End, providing a top-class venue offering indoor and outdoor activities for children of all abilities in the north of the county.

"These awards are highly prestigious and represent a significant achievement in professional building design. The quality of public buildings across the county is very important to help create attractive and inspirational surroundings in which the people of Hampshire can feel proud, so I congratulate all those involved for their outstanding work."

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