Original features

May 21, 2009

The Aberystwyth Arts Centre, the largest in Wales, is already one of the leading venues for contemporary arts and culture in the UK.

This week sees the official opening of a major new project: eight striking "creative units" that have been built to provide much-needed studio and workshop space.

The simple timber-frame buildings are clad with crinkled stainless steel, creating a shimmering futuristic appearance that reflects the surrounding greenery. And the picturesque setting should become even more atmospheric as the woodland matures on all sides.

The cladding was fabricated on site, using a contraption similar to a Victorian mangle to deform the steel.

Unusually, the units were built and designed by Heatherwick Studio, which sent a specialist team to work on site with local subcontractors.

Financial support for the project was provided by the Arts Council for Wales Lottery Fund, the Welsh Assembly and Aberystwyth University, of which the centre is part.

The centre's 16 studio spaces have already been let. Tenants range from a cultural development agency and a co-operative women's press, to a sculptor inspired by seascapes of his native Quebec.

Others include an early-career artist, an installation artist and a textile worker who also creates art with beer mats, synthetic flowers and medical packaging.

Please send any suggestions for this architectural series to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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