Retired architect rewarded with lifetime achievemant award

Penarth Times: AWARD WINNER: Graham Brooks with his commendation from the Dewi-Prys Thomas Prize 2012 (2927478) AWARD WINNER: Graham Brooks with his commendation from the Dewi-Prys Thomas Prize 2012 (2927478)

A SULLY man is celebrating after he was presented with a lifetime achievement award - despite retiring nearly a decade ago!

Graham Brooks, 85, was recently presented with a commendation from the Dewi-Prys Thomas Prize 2012 in recognition of his "lifetime contribution to contemporary housing design in Wales" and said that the award came totally “out of the blue”.

Mr Brooks, who won a ‘Merit for Architecture’ award for designing his own house on Cog Road in , said that he didn’t know the award existed before he was presented with it.

"It's very nice and took me by surprise,” he said.

During his career Mr Brooks designed many houses in Dinas Powys, including properties on Mill Close, a row of eight houses by Bridgeman Road, Elm Grove Lane, The Mount and Meadowvale.

“The most important thing for architects is whether the people living in the houses enjoy them,” he said

He said one of the most satisfying moments of his career was when he was in Jon Coombes Estate Agents in Dinas Powys when a secretary said: “We as estate agents are very disappointed that you didn't design more houses in Dinas Powys as whenever those house come on our books, and we have sold several of them, they always sell quicker than other houses and are always more expensive!’

“That's just what we want to hear,” said Mr Brooks.

“They are all different designs and it's nice to know that the people living in those houses like them, and they sell so quickly.

“That's the whole idea with architects, that you serve the public and people enjoy living in them.”

In 2002 Mr Brooks was also presented with the award for Outstanding Achievement by the Society of Architects "in recognition of a career demonstrating commitment to quality design in the field of domestic architecture".

His commendation from the Dewi-Prys Thomas Prize 2012 states: “For over 50 years the architect Graham Brooks has designed distinctive, modern, Scandinavian-influenced houses in south Wales consistently winning awards – the first being the Eisteddfod Gold Medal in 1968.

“While many of the homes he created were one-offs for individual clients, his greatest contribution has been in the design of small groups of houses in which he showed economic alternatives to the mediocre conventions of many private housing estates. Affordable, modern and attractively grouped, these won the affection of their inhabitants but never, unfortunately, influenced volume house builders to change their ways.”

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