Ty Pawb, Arts & Cultural Centre, Wrexham, Wales, Refurbishment
Client: Wrexham Borough County Council
Ty Pawb – Welsh for ‘Everyone’s House’ - which is set to open in Wrexham in April 2017, is a new arts and cultural centre which relocates the town’s existing arts centre Oriel Wrecsam within one of Wrexham’s three market spaces, People’s Market, an existing purpose-built 1990s structure with multi-storey carpark.
Ty Pawb is strategically located between the town centre and edge of town attractions, offering opportunities to link and attract more people to the arts. The design introduces a streetscape with squares, signposts and street furniture into the interior so that it behaves as an extension of Wrexham’s town centre, and the locals begin to use it as a shortcut through the town. A new entrance and graphic treatment of the external facades signals the presence of the arts centre and provides a blank canvas for a changing display of visual art work. The new facilities include art galleries, performance space, a new café, market, learning centre and artist studios. Cuts into the existing building fabric create dramatic vertical connections that link these various functions. Sqwar y Bobl (The People’s Square), a new flexible art and community space at the centre of the market provides a testing ground to experiment and expand the arts programme in the future.
The project has required its architect and the Oriel Wrecsam team to rethink the civic role of cultural organisations, creating a new model which challenges the traditional art gallery environment and exhibition-led programmes, and offers a looser and more experimental space and programming that is rooted in the community and everyday life. Featherstone Young refers to this as the ‘baggy space’ concept, where designers and curators create a light touch framework which enables others to fill the gaps. This approach helps garner ownership and create a place that can be used habitually, and open up the potential of useful, meaningful experiences amongst a wider public.
The Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government are supporting the project.