13/10/2013

Aberystwyth's new bandstand



These artist's impressions have been submitted with the planning application for the new bandstand on Aberystwyth Prom. 

The plans are described in the application as, "a new two-storey public performance space and restaurant building". They include, on the top floor, a 72-seat cafe/restaurant with an outside balcony containing a further 29 seats. The ground floor is a 150-seat public performance space, with room to also walk around the outside and a public toilet. The development will be funded by the Welsh Government as part of Aberystwyth's Regeneration Area status.

The current, somewhat more modest, bandstand is below.


Update 15/10/13
Just received - a manufacturer’s photo of the material.  I'm told this, "Illustrates its suitability for this water’s edge location where the building will reflect the subtly changing tones of light from both the sky and the sea.


"Rockpanel Chameleon is finished with a unique crystal layer which means that the surface of the material appears to change colour depending on the angle it is viewed from and the changing effects of light.


"It has unique sustainability properties being manufactured from a minimum 30% recycled material, and is 100% re-cyclable with no downgrading of the product in the re-usage recycling phase. It is also highly efficient in the use of natural materials for its manufacture and the product has been developed in parallel with the passive housing concept. Rockpanel has also been developed to resist all weather conditions and to limit maintenance requirements to a minimum. The boards do not rot or delaminate and have a 10 year warranty and an expected  minimum durability of 40 years."

By the way, since this is the subject of a planning application, I'm not expressing a view, just providing information.

26 comments:

  1. Glad something is being done about the bandstand, but I'd have hoped we'd have moved away from naff 'signiture' buildings of the Blair era which don't in any way complement nor recognise the existing built environment. Looks a bit naff, and why the gimmicky shaded aluminium steel (or what ever it is)? Why do architects now feel the need to have gimmicks, or buildings built like other objects. Lets have something which is in keeping with what is already there.

    Aber Boi

    ReplyDelete
  2. What has happened to the design in the prom regeneration leaflet? http://wales.gov.uk/docs/desh/publications/111209regenaberpromdesignsen.pdf
    This seemed quite reasonable.
    Now it seems the architect has taken LSD [ or leave of their senses ] before updating these ideas.
    Alun I will send you the original suggestions in case you would like to include them in this article.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dwi'n poeni ychydig am faint mae hwn yn ymestyn allan mewn i'r prom. O weld sut mae rasus rhedeg, beicio ac ati wedi defnyddio'r darn yma'n ddiweddar, mae'n bwysig cael darnau o'r prom sydd yn ddigon llydan. Mae'r cynllun yn edrych yn waeth dyluniad na'r un oedd wedi ei awgrymu o'r blaen, ac mae'r pwynt am geisio gweddu i'r tirwedd yn un pwysig. Ar yr olwg gynta felly byddai sawl gwrthwynebiad gen i i'r dyluniad hwn. Oes modd gweld ceisiadau cynllunio llawn ar y we Alun?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have now been to see the plans and have some additional comments.
    The application is being made by Ceredigion County Council. No architect's practice is mentioned [ or I missed it ]. Has this plan been drawn up in house?
    The circular section of the design is based on the footprint of the current building. This becomes the performance area on the ground floor and the cafe on the first floor. Jutting back onto the prom is the box-like service block that houses kitchens, toilets, a lift, store room, offices and changing room. This block causes some obstruction of traffic on the prom.
    Being a 2 storey structure, the building is about twice the height of the current bandstand. With the service block it is at least 3 times the volume - probably more. It is thus much more obtrusive. It is an unhappy mixture of circular structures with irregularly angled boxes attached. The range of colours do nothing to make this blend with the surroundings. It sticks out like a sore thumb. This is proposed for a conservation area! The council should be leading the way with good design.

    Planning number A130746

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nwdls:
    Nag oes. Fodd bynnag byddaf yn e-bost i chi y wybodaeth sydd gyda fi (ac unrhyw un arall sydd ei eisiau).

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ych a fi.

    ReplyDelete
  7. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE PROM?October 15, 2013

    And this is a BANDSTAND . . . . someone must be joking. Whose idea was this and how did it get as far as a planning application? This is an act of sheer folly. How is it that a million and more is can be spent on a bandstand when the Council can't afford to maintain essential services? This is madness. Oh . . and the building is awful. It's the wrong building in the wrong place. I hope that sense prevails and this will be withdrawn quietly before it goes before the planning committee. I have some sympathy for designers but on this I fear they got it very wrong. I hope they have thick skins, I fear they're in for a slating.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Re the last comment:
    I'm letting others cast judgement one way or the other but I should point out that the article explains the proposal will not be funded by the Council but by the Welsh Government with Regeneration Area money.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ofnadwy - nodweddiadol o waith penseiri sydd eisiau 'gwobr' . Os yw'r beiciau modur yn bresennol, ni fydd unrhyw le o gwbl i gerddwyr na rhedwyr.

    ReplyDelete
  10. WHATEVER . . . .October 16, 2013

    Alun. I’m fully aware that the project will be funded by our Government. It makes no difference where the money comes from – whether it’s Ceredigion’s money or Government money labelled ‘regeneration’ or even European money, it is still money from the public purse. The question I raise is this, is it not madness for Ceredigion to contemplate a project with questionable public benefit at a time when it is cutting 20 million from basic public services? I’ve heard it said that if we don’t spend our allocation of regeneration money then someone else will get it. Well. so be it. Spending it for the sake of spending it is wrong.

    Ac i Anon, na phoener neuth yr adeilad ddim ennill gwobr – os daw un o rywle dwi’n fodlon sefyll y tu allan i’r bandstand ar Wyl y Banc i ymddiheuro i’r cynllunwyr - ac os na fydd hi’n bwrw glaw mi wnai hynny yn noeth lymun hefyd – y chi’n dod gyda fi?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I haven't found anybody who likes this design yet.
    The service block is cutting the promenade in two both physically and visually. You won't be able to see Consti from a significant section of the prom in one direction or the pier from the other. The semi-circular sweep of the bay from the prom will be lost.
    I support a new bandstand but not this building. It needs to be much less intrusive. Much more glass, much less Rockpanel. If I were less polite I would tell the architect where to put his Rockpanel!

    ReplyDelete
  12. "I’m fully aware that the project will be funded by our Government. It makes no difference where the money comes from – whether it’s Ceredigion’s money or Government money labelled ‘regeneration’ or even European money, it is still money from the public purse. The question I raise is this, is it not madness for Ceredigion to contemplate a project with questionable public benefit..."

    Whilst the design is a matter for legitimate public debate, I will take issue with the idea that project itself is of questionable public benefit.

    I also don't follow the logic that, because Ceredigion is about to suffer the most drastic central government cuts in most memories, we should say no to economic help in the shape of this tail-end of Regeneration Area money in favour of returning it to some central government pot never to be seen again. We do have a responsibility to get the best for the people of Aberystwyth.

    When a public consultation was held in the Bandstand about the future of the Prom in December 2011, a new, better bandstand with modern facilities was far and away the issue rated the most important by local people.

    A new public performance space and restaurant at a key location such as this are, to me, of such obvious benefit to any town, in terms of jobs, art & culture and the drawing of income from visitors, that they should really need no justification.

    How that is designed and how it relates to the space is, of course, a legitimate matter for local discussion. But lets not mix up a dislike of the design with a rejection of the concept of a better bandstand itself.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The recent storm has smashed up part of the promenade about 100 yards [ in old money ] north of the bandstand, which has escaped apparently unscathed. Perhaps it was constructed by the same builders as erected the King's Hall. If so then minimal demolition is indicated. As much of the present structure as possible should be incorporated in the new building.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have grave doubts as to whether the proposed facade facing the sea would have avoided serious damage on Saturday. A large high window on a slab-sided front is not the best design for the prow of a ship, which the building would become in effect in a storm.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is an awful design, and I say that as an architect. It is yet another thoughtless statement building, completely out of context with its surroundings, and in 20 years it will look as outdated as post-modern buildings do today. I am dismayed to see that this is being proposed for such an historic town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. James BaconJanuary 08, 2014

      are you local to Aber? I have a sketch design which would look great in the bay. contact james@essendendesign.com

      Delete
  16. I think this application would normally have come before the Development Control Committee in December. It is not scheduled for consideration this month. Hopefully somebody has had a change of heart and is modifying the plans. Is this too much to hope for as a Christmas present?

    CCC has a 51 page pdf of advice on shopfront design particularly [ but not exclusively ] for Conservation areas. Does it have any advice for other buildings in sensitive areas?

    ReplyDelete
  17. James BaconJanuary 08, 2014

    I have an alternative sketch design with a maritime theme using welsh slate materials. It could provide viewing platforms, café and outside eating and children's play areas. It would also fit with the sweep of the bay. I can be contacted at james@essendendesign.com if you would like to see an initial sketch. I do think the current proposal will just look so out of place.

    ReplyDelete
  18. If consideration is being given to replacing the existing bandstand, rather than repairing/conserving and replacing those parts that were original but have disappeared over time, then should not the people of Aberystwyth and Ceredigion have a major say in the development. It is such a prominent location. Rather than a single design being prepared and submitted for approval, perhaps an open competition would be more appropriate. Open to all, not only architects and other professionals. Schools, local groups, individuals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should have thought that under European rules this sort of development should go through formal European procurement procedures for both design and construction.

      Delete
  19. In response to Mr Kirby's comment, he is right in assuming this proposal has been produced in house at Ceredigion County Council, who are one of the only councils left in the United Kingdom to still have an in house architecture departement. All other councils have realised that the design of public buildings should have the same rigourous and open tendering process that other buildings benefit from.

    ReplyDelete
  20. How about referring the design to the Design Commission for Wales for comment?
    It doesn't cost anything and would demonstrate a willingness to accept that good design is a matter for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Interesting seeming lack of democratic process in this matter.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The existing Bandstand is, I agree, a bit shedlike and could do with some sensitive restyling & refurbishment. Not an impossible project at all. Could be achieved at a fraction of the cost of the proposed hideous replacement, and could involve local workers and funding if there is no financial input from the council. Would make local people proud of their bandstand and their achievement. Ceredigion planners have gone too far this time and need to be reined in on this one.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Rowenna MenziesMarch 13, 2014

    I like the new design! I think the contrast of modern architecture with the traditional Victorian promenade will be fabulous! LOVE that the building materials will change colour depending on the light... Just imagine it against an orange sky at sunset or the blue blue sea at dusk...
    Aberystwyth is more than just a sleepy tourist town full of pensioners. It's also a youthful, creative community brimming with artists, writers, musicians and a vibrant student population. This new design reflects that... Don't be afraid of stepping forward Aberystwyth ~ yes, traditions are important but all change isn't negative! The cafe views will be STUNNING!

    ReplyDelete
  24. This project has now been shelved. Even though £130,000 has been spent on investigations and drawings so far and the final design for the structure was smaller than the first plan produced, the proposals could not be provided within budget. If a new plan is produced, lets hope the public are consulted early in the process and, when it comes to the Planning Committee that members vote on aesthetics and planning principals rather than by party.

    ReplyDelete