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East Quay. Watchet

Onion Collective named RIBA Client of the Year 2023 for its East Quay project in Somerset

Presented since 1998, this annual award honours the key role clients play in the creation of great architecture. Comprising a gallery, artists’ studios and education spaces, East Quay is the vision of the social enterprise, Onion Collective. The community-funded project lies on a previously abandoned boatyard in the coastal town of Watchet in North Somerset and has been commended as an uplifting model for community-led regeneration.


East Quay, designed by Invisible Studio and Ellis Williams Architects, is the vision of Onion Collective, a social enterprise. With artist studios and gallery space, the new community-funded project has enlivened a previously derelict boatyard in Watchet, North Somerset.

Praised as an uplifting model for community-led regeneration, the judges noted that the completion of the project was largely due to the combined efforts of Onion Collective and the community; including schools, social clubs and businesses. The success of the development has now encouraged wider regeneration of the surrounding town.

Chair of this year’s jury, Denise Bennetts, said: “Great clients are vital to creating buildings and places that make a difference to peoples’ lives. Congratulations to Onion Collective for their success and passion for enterprise and creativity. Their vision, and dedication to creating meaningful change, enabled Invisible Studio and Ellis Williams to deliver a model for exceptional community-led economic regeneration. East Quay is a fantastic example of how great architecture, collaboration and co-creation can empower communities and deliver incredible, transformative benefits.”

The RIBA Client of the Year 2023 jury comprised: Denise Bennetts (Chair), Founder of Bennetts Associates, Mitchell Brand, Director (Land & Marketing) at Thornsett Group and Ben Wildsmith, Senior Territory Manager at Ibstock Brick Ltd.

Design team
Architects: Ellis Williams and Invisible Studio
Main Contractor: Midas Group
Structural Engineers: Momentum Engineers
Mechanical and Electrical: Troup Bywaters + Anders
Landscape Architect: LT Studio
Quantity Surveyor: MEA Clark
Acoustic Engineers: Hepworth Acoustics
Access Consultant: Access IS
CDM: Lucion Services
Pod internal design and fitout: PEARCE+Fægan
Concrete Consultant: David Bennett Associates
Photographer & Copyright: Jim Stephenson Architectural Photographer and Film Maker


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