The Swansea Foyer

PCKO Architects, Swansea, 1997


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The restored listed Alexandra Road elevation 

Michael Murray     Download Original

  • The restored listed Alexandra Road elevation    
  • The art gallery seen from the Sculpture court    
  • The Quarry Street elevation - the site slopes steeply from front to back    
  • The Sculpture Court elevation adopts the proportions of the listed facade    
  • Internal street with theatrical stair    
  • A listed elevation and the rear wall of the glazed facade are seen together from Quarry Street    
  • The theatrical staircase and the glazed atrium roof combine to create a dramatic internal street    
  • Elevations to the internal street are as cheerful as the backdrop to a musical    
  • Steps from the front door reflect the sloping site - the windowless space behind houses a kitchen    
  • Smoke louvres run the length of the atrium roof, while a smoke curtain enclosure runs across it    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Section    
  • Concept sketch of section    
  • Concept sketch of flat interior    
  • Key section    
  • Cut-away isometric through new timber frame and masonry wall    
  • Detail section through wall showing movement joints    

Transformation of a working man's club into accommodation for young homeless and unemployed people

Based on the French 'Foyer' principle, the brief was to provide an integrated work, training and independent living environment for the homeless and unemployed.

The scheme is a redevelopment of the former Swansea Working Men's Club, with listed elevations. The intention of not having an institutional feel led way to a 'shallow' building, where individuals are in direct contact with other residents and the local community.

Only the listed elevations was retained. The new interior was configured into a street of individual houses, occupied by for or five young people. The internal street has a glazed, lightweight steel framed roof forming a central atrium. Detailing, mosaics and colour are intended to an optimistic and fun environment. The internal street creates a communal space as well as being a passive solar collector.

A sloping site led to the design of a four-storey timber-frame structure linked to the existing elevations.


  • Begun: Dec 1995
  • Completed: Mar 1997
  • Floor area: 1,330m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £1.4M
  • Procurement: Design and build
  • Address: Alexandra Road, Swansea, SA1 5DZ, United Kingdom

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