Heatherwick plans radical new arts centre

Thomas Heatherwick Studio has unveiled an unexpected design for Aberystwyth Arts Centre, creating a series of structures clad with a crumpled stainless steel ‘skin’ for its new development of studios.

The Creative Arts Business Units will be constructed from a simple, prefabricated timber frame, divided into interdependent work spaces and covered in a composite material – made from folds of stainless steel and insulated foam – for which the consultancy recently filed a patent application.

Thomas Heatherwick was appointed to the project last summer, following a four-way pitch against Pierre d’Avoine, Studio Baad and Sarah Wigglesworth.

The studios have been designed to create a ‘village’ environment and reflect the topography of the wooded site, according to a spokeswoman at Thomas Heatherwick Studio. A major challenge of the design brief was to create low cost buildings to a £650 000 budget.

The project is currently in the detailed design stage, with construction due to begin this summer.

The studios will be used for performances, meetings and exhibitions and will be available to creative businesses, development agencies, artists and craft workers. The intention is to develop Aberystwyth’s role as a hub for the arts community. Tenants are expected to move into the studios next year.

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