St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff Building, Project, Photo, Design, Image
National Museum of History, Cardiff
Architecture Development in South Wales – design by Purcell, Architects
17 Jul 2017
St Fagans National Museum of History
Location: Cardiff, South Wales
The latest stage of redevelopment at St Fagans National Musum of History in south Wales have been unveiled. From 14 July 2017, visitors to St Fagans National Museum of History will be greeted at a vastly improved new entrance building and will be able to enter Gweithdy – the newest addition to the museum’s collection – which this time is a brand new build.
The main building and Gweithdy are the latest developments of the St Fagans £30 million Making History project, which has been based from the beginning on the views and input of community groups, partners and visitors. Due to complete in October 2018, this is Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’ biggest redevelopment project ever and marks the greatest period of change for St Fagans since it was founded in 1948.
Purcell acted as lead architect for the transformation of the existing Grade II-listed main building, originally designed by Percy Thomas Partnership and a prominent example of Welsh modernist architecture. Their designs have improved the site’s functional layout, as well as provide new orientation, exhibition and learning spaces. To cater for increasing visitor numbers, the building has been re-organised and its complex spatial relationships altered.
The refurbishment required Purcell to retain as much of the original building as possible, reverse later accretions and enhance the Museum’s exhibition, activity and external spaces. Delivery of the project had to ensure the Museum’s grounds remained open during the 2.5 year works.
St Fagans is one of Europe’s leading open-air museums, is Wales’s most popular heritage attraction and admission is free! The museum stands in the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle and gardens, a late 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth in 1948. Since 1948 over 40 original buildings from different historical periods have been re-erected in the 100-acre parkland, among them an Iron Age farmstead, a medieval church, a Victorian school and a splendid Workmen’s Institute. Public space in the building has been doubled. The old courtyard has been covered to create a large, double-height atrium with a new entrance, and is designed to complement the architecture of the existing building.
It also enables visitors to circulate from one level to the next through key exhibition areas before reaching the outdoor museum. Throughout the year, St Fagans comes to life as traditional festivals, music and dance events are celebrated. St Fagans explores all aspects of how people in Wales have lived, worked and spent their leisure time. Like generations of visitors, you will be inspired by its celebration of Welsh traditions and lifestyles.
Visitor facilities now include a new reception area, shop and restaurant. The Weston Centre for Learning, which includes flexible activity space and a 120-seat lecture theatre, provides eight time more space for schools, families and adult learners.
The main building now also houses international standard galleries and a temporary exhibition space – overall an additional 620sqm of exhibition space has been added, with designs maximising the woodland views.
About St Fagans
St Fagans is an open-air museum that includes over 40 historic buildings, moved from locations around Wales. It is one of the most visited open-air museums in Europe and Wales’ most popular heritage attraction.
The current redevelopment is the biggest project ever undertaken by National Museum Wales and funded by the largest Heritage Lottery Fund grant ever awarded to Wales.
The redevelopment of St Fagans is expected to be completed in October 2018, and will include the reconstruction of the c.1200 great hall from Llys Llewelyn in Anglesey, possibly one of the most exciting challenging reconstruction projects attempted in Wales.
Website: St Fagans National Museum of History
Purcell practices works as one family of many experts: architects, designers, heritage leaders, and specialist consultants. Ideally placed in key regions covering the UK and Asia Pacific, it undertakes projects largely in eight sectors.
Clients come to them when they need to make sense of their project. The company works with complex scenarios involving historic sites, heritage buildings, admired places, their transformation, and building new structures and spaces.
Purcell has been practising for seven decades making sure its clients’ buildings are designed for use today and for future generations.
Photographer: © Craig Auckland / Fotohaus. Moral Rights Asserted. All rights reserved
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St Fagans National Museum of History Building