Aberystwyth Art Units Win Civic Trust Award

The Creative Art Units at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, covered in this blog last May, have won a major award at the annual Civic Trust Awards in Liverpool.

The awards are given to projects that are culturally, socially or economically beneficial, and are judged to make an outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the built environment. Fifty projects from the British Isles and Spain were selected from over 330 entries. The Creative Units project was the only Welsh winner.

The units were designed to develop Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s role as a creative hub for arts and craft workers. The project, worth £1.4 million, received funding from Aberystwyth University, the Arts Council of Wales Lottery Fund and the National Assembly. All the units are now fully occupied with a range of new and established creative business, working in fields that include TV, music, digital production, book publishing, and visual artists. With their ‘crinkled steel’ finish their unique look has proved to be a real draw for creative companies looking for a base that fits their image.

The units aren’t liked by everyone and involved the clearing of a small wood to accommodate but they certainly provide much needed studio space for some of the large community of artists in Aberystwyth.

1 comment:


    May I contribute to the controversy over the merits of the Creative Units at the Arts Centre?

    Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. I find these units to be an obtrusive blot on the landscape. I had hoped the stainless steel exterior would reflect the surrounding trees so that the units would blend into their surroundings. This hope has been dashed. The buildings are set on a slope but instead of sinking the upper end into the ground, the lower ends are raised on stilts thus making insulation of the floor more difficult. Each unit has a two-part structure with a central glass skylight and doors. Before I went into one, I had imagined there was a central glass corridor through which visitors could watch the artists at work. I have been disappointed.

    The partnership that designed these buildings was also responsible for a giant metal sculpture in Manchester for which they eventually paid £1.7 million damages as extensive work is required to make it safe. They also designed a café on Littlehampton beach. This has a sausage-shaped outline and a steel shell designed to turn a rusty brown. The locals call it “the giant t**d on the beach” though I much prefer it to the Creative Units. Is this Partnership striving too hard to be avant-garde?