Ty Pawb

Featherstone Young, Wrexham, 2018

 

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The complex is one of Wrexham’s tallest buildings 

James Morris     Download Original

  • The complex is one of Wrexham’s tallest buildings    
  • Tŷ Pawb sits beneath a multistorey car park    
  • Studio space    
  • Timber wraps the gallery and market ‘islands’ that run along the top of the food court    
  • Bold super-sized graphics    
  • Wrexham has a long history of covered market spaces and arcades and this latest example was built in an attempt to regenerate the town centre and respond to shifting shopping habits    
  • The project employs a mix of industrial materials     
  • Breeze block walls stop short of the ceiling, the gap closed with a metal mesh that also forms the wall of the shop and information space    
  • Large communal benches feature unique trestle sections turned on a lathe by students in workshops    
  • Location plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Section AA    
  • Detail section and elevation    

This retrofit project in Wrexham creates a space where art can work cheek-by-jowl with commercial and community uses.

This £4 million development hopes to achieve is how an arts space can work not just alongside, but with, community, educational and commercial spaces.

Tŷ Pawb sits beneath a multistorey car park and the space has existed since the 1990s. Until 2013, it was home to the People’s Market. Wrexham has a long history of covered market spaces and arcades and this latest example was built in an attempt to regenerate the town centre and respond to shifting shopping habits. Early in design discussions, it was decided the new scheme would not evict the market traders, the remainder of whom had begun to spill out across the whole ground floor. Rather they would be invited back to set up shop side-by-side with the gallery spaces.

The complex is one of Wrexham’s tallest buildings and key to Featherstone Young’s design was using this height to signal its presence, particularly on the side facing the dual carriageway, where it vies with retail parks. With a slim budget for external work, simple black streaks demarcate where the entrances are located. Inside, the hall has been stripped back and ceilings exposed, steel beams and sloping floor plates its answer to the Victorian markets’ delicate steelwork. The mixed brief is unified by a palette of industrial materials: breeze block walls stop short of the ceiling, the gap closed with a metal mesh that also forms the wall of the shop and information space. Timber wraps the gallery and market ‘islands’ that run along the top of the food court. PVC strip curtains run around a new ‘People’s Square’.

Above the Market Street entrance, one of the parking areas that was able to be sacrificed – the ‘mayor’s garage’ – has been used to create double-height spaces, both in the Market Street entrance and Gallery 2, crossed via small bridges at first-floor level, where some small office and studio spaces have been squeezed in. The largest gallery space, Gallery 1, is a temperature-controlled environment capable of hosting large travelling exhibitions. Three small windows make the gallery space feel more accessible, framing the stalls from within and giving passers-by a peek into the exhibitions. Gallery 2 is a looser space, more suited to free exhibitions, and connects to a performance space that can be used for dance or lectures.

Recognising that people use the building as a short-cut across town, the design seeks to enhance this route by marking two key corners for the building where people enter. The interior is treated like an extension of Wrexham’s streetscape, with the creation of indoor squares and streets and use of signposts, billboards and street furniture. The retrofit of the building introduces cuts into the existing precast concrete structure, bringing natural light deep into the plan and creating dramatic entrance and vertical connections between floors. Externally, the transformation is announced with new enlarged entrances and dark-painted slashes incorporating super-sized graphics and a changing display of artwork, which signals Tŷ Pawb’s presence within the town. 

Data

  • Begun: Feb 2017
  • Completed: Apr 2018
  • Floor area: 3,705m2
  • Sectors: Arts and culture, Retail
  • Total cost: £4.3M
  • Procurement: Design and Build
  • CO2 Emissions: 81.8kg/m2/year
  • Address: Market St, Wrexham, LL13 8BB, United Kingdom