BLACK MOUNTAINS COLLEGE, WALES

A unique and hugely exciting proposition which manages to both develop a new model for higher education in the UK, at the same time as showing how rural communities can work together to create new, pioneering institutions through sustainable use of land and skills.

Featherstone Young has been appointed to design the new Black Mountains College campus in the Brecon Beacons National Park, crafting it from an existing farmstead, through both reuse of existing buildings and carefully sited and highly sustainable new buildings and insertions.

BLACK MOUNTAINS COLLEGE

The design incorporates Featherstone Young’s ‘baggy space’ concept creating a campus which is flexible, cost-effective and repeatable – as well as delightful. Carefully choreographed spaces create a coherent and engaging environment which helps foster a collaborative approach. Shared spaces both internal and external, link new and existing buildings to provide areas for socialising group working, outside cooking and eating, and performance.

All new and reused buildings will be designed around the most effective passive, sustainable principles, and will use low impact, recycled and locally sourced materials. The college will promote cycling and walking as the primary mode of transport over the car using existing footpaths and bridleways to connecting it to the nearby town 1km down the valley.

The practice sees the project as an opportunity to further develop and refine its socially-driven approach to design, which prioritises shared space, long term flexibility and reuse, as exemplified by Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham, which won the inaugural 2019 Architects’ Journal Retrofit of the Year Award. We are also excited to make use of research on principles of rural development, decentralisation and sustainable transport, which Sarah has been engaged with as part of the VeloCity team.

We are delighted that we have found architects who share the vision of BMC and are committed to designing an imaginative campus true to the ambition of the college: to show how a more harmonious, sustainable future is possible.

BEN RAWLENCE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, BLACK MOUNTAINS COLLEGE

Black Mountains College is newly founded as a direct response to the ecological and climate crisis, and is a new further and higher education college pioneering a new model for a transformative undergraduate education. Led by activist and writer Ben Rawlence, the school’s unique programme will connect the environment, society and the individual, to produce rounded, resilient leaders with a wide set of capabilities to navigate the pressing issues of climate breakdown, economic inequality and rapid technological change, addressing a growing skills gap in Wales and the UK.

“Black Mountains College is an important, timely and exciting project; a vision, really, of what education might need to become to help us not only survive but thrive in our uncertain future. Progressive, generous and imaginative, it will bring good of many kinds to rural Wales and beyond.”

ROBERT MACFARLANE, AUTHOR AND ACADEMIC ON LANDSCAPE, PEOPLE, NATURE AND ENVIRONMENTALISM. BLACK MOUNTAINS COLLEGE

LINKS

Grenfell Boxing Club – SEE HERE

Grenfell Community Centre – SEE HERE

 

For more information on Black Mountain College – READ HERE