Design prize awarded for first time in 14 years

A 14-year drought has ended with this year’s Campaign for Real Ale/English Heritage Awards. For only the second time in the 16 year history of the competition a prize has been given in the best new pub design category.

The award winning pub, The Wharf in Walsall, was created by London architect Sergison Bates, in association with architect Caruso St John. The practices developed the interior and architectural elements of the pub.

The Wharf is a glass-fronted building with a large, distorted roof, black on the outside, but warm and light on the inside.

“We aimed for simplicity of details like pale wood because we were interested in creating a public place that could be used by different people at different times,” says Sergison Bates director Steven Bates.

“The location of the pub, at the top of the high street, and its long opening hours – 8am-2am – gave us the opportunity to create a totally different atmosphere.”

“In previous years there simply wasn’t a pub that deserved the award,” says CAMRA spokesman Ian Woolverton.

“But as well as being a contemporary design, The Wharf does have an inclusive community feel to it, rather than just catering to the under 25s like so many other new pubs,” he adds. CAMRA has long been a critic of themed pubs.

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