World Heritage Centre picks up architecture award

The first-ever dedicated World Heritage Centre in the UK has received praise from the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba).

Located in south Wales, the Blaenavon visitor facility is sited between two school buildings and is made from a combination of glass, steel, timber and concrete.

It provides framed views of the surrounding valley, while exhibitions and computers in the centre explain the ways in which Blaenavon was chosen to be a World Heritage Site, an honour it shares with the Galapagos Islands, the Statue of Liberty and the Taj Mahal.

Liz Walder, director of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales, tells the news agency: "It is a superb example of design excellence in a historic context."

Blaenavon has been a World Heritage site since 2000 and has been described by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation as the "worlds major producer of iron and coal in the 19th-century".