Creative units

Artist's impression of the new units

Artist's impression of the new units

19 May 2008

Monday 19 May, 2008
World-renowned designer's unique building project in Aberystwyth begins

Construction has begun on eight special buildings designed by Heatherwick Studio for Aberystwyth Arts Centre, a department of Aberystwyth University. Heatherwick Studio is one of the UK's foremost design practices with completed projects including the world flagship store for French luxury brand Longchamp in New York, Rolling Bridge in London and the award winning East Beach Café in Littlehampton.

Each building will comprise two Creative Arts Business Units offering affordable office and workshop space to arts enterprises and artists in the local area. The development has been made possible by generous support from the Arts Council of Wales Lottery Fund, the Welsh Assembly Government and Aberystwyth University.

Formed from simple timber frames with a unique stainless steel cladding, the buildings are spread amongst a wooded site at Aberystwyth University campus. Heatherwick Studio Construction, the building arm of the design practice has been awarded the contract to deliver the scheme. Ground works are being undertaken by E Ll Hughes & Son from Aberystwyth and prefabricated structures by Lowfield Timber Frames of Welshpool.

The scheme is already attracting interest from creative organisations keen to take advantage of a unique workspace so close to a thriving arts centre and it is hoped these buildings will add considerable momentum to the creative and cultural cluster developing in Aberystwyth. Those companies who have already expressed a wish to use the units include Honno Books, and Creu Cymru, the National Development Agency for Theatres and Arts Centres in Wales.

Three of the units will be used for the Arts Centre’s Artists in Residence Scheme, a major new initiative which will annually offer 12 visual and applied artists the opportunity to develop their work during three-month long residencies.  This scheme has been made possible by the funding provided from the Esme Fairbairn Foundation for artists from the UK and Wales Arts International for overseas artists.  

The project’s construction is being documented by leading architectural photographer, James Morris. His work will be collated into an exhibition illustrating the various stages and processes of construction, to be shown at the Arts Centre and then at galleries throughout the UK.

Artists, applied artists and creative industries companies interested in becoming tenants in the units are advised to contact the Arts Centre directly for more details. 

Heatherwick Studio was established by Thomas Heatherwick in 1994 to make unique design projects happen. Today a team of architects, designers and makers operate from a studio and workshop in King’s Cross, London - an environment where project management and implementation takes place in parallel with experimentation with ideas, materials and manufacturing processes.

The studio is currently working on the redevelopment of a million square foot shopping mall in Hong Kong, the British Pavilion for Shanghai’s World Expo in 2010 and has recently been chosen to work as part of the team to deliver a £800 million retail-led masterplan in Leeds city centre.

Aberystwyth Arts Centre is Wales' largest Arts Centre. A department of Aberystwyth University, it offers a mix of arts programming, contemporary exhibitions and events unmatched in the nation. Through its education and community arts programme in the visual and performing arts, it provides an important resource for the local community and the region. The proposed development of new Creative Arts Business Units will enable the Centre to redouble its economic impact on the region and develop its role as a centre for the development of creative businesses, products and activity. This will enrich the life and community of the Arts Centre, make a significant contribution to the region and its economy, and develop the way in which the Arts Centre hosts an arts community in which ideas can thrive. 

The principal objective is to offer a series of business units/studios of varying and flexible sizes to accommodate a wide range of creative businesses, arts development agencies, artists and craft workers.  The mix of businesses will be a unique feature of this development with both new and established occupants interacting together in a creative and stimulating environment to realise their economic and creative potential. 

For further information or print ready images please contact Louise Amery at Aberystwyth Arts Centre  (Tel: 01970 622889  email: