The project required Featherstone Young and the client art team to rethink the civic role of cultural organisations, creating a new model which challenges the traditional art gallery environment and offers a looser and more experimental space 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.
“It is welcoming, animated, open, unpretentious and multifarious, while also calm and dignified. If this can’t bring art and everyday life together, I don’t know what will.”
ROWAN MOORE, THE OBSERVER, SEPTEMBER 2018
Three years on and Tŷ Pawb has made a big impact both locally and internationally. It has helped regenerate the town centre and offer an alternative to the out of town shopping mall and dying high street. Owen Hatherley reports in the Guardian that one local said, “this transformation of a failed shopping centre into an arty new space has been successful with locals. The arts stuff is popular with the relatively small sort of bohemian middle-class types around – but the food and market stuff is popular across the community.”
“The mix of activities supports each other and are mutually reciprocal attracting a wider audience than any one of them could attract on their own.”
And this model has given Tŷ Pawb attention internationally with people visiting Wrexham on study tours to see how it works. Wrexham’s Mayor set up a Civic Pride initiative to celebrate all that is good in Wrexham with Tŷ Pawb as its inaugural event. The client is Wrexham Borough County Council and the project received funding from the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government.
“Featherstone Young recognised from the outset that there would need to be some middle ground between the different functions of the building, addressing this through the introduction of ‘baggy spaces’. These are proving to be key in allowing relationships and links to develop between the arts programme, the market stallholders and visitors.”
JO MARSH, CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF TŶ PAWB
RIBA Award 2021, Shortlist – winners to be announced
AJ Retrofit Awards 2019, Winner of AJ Retrofit of the Year & Cultural Building under £5 million
RIBAJ MacEwen Award 2019, Finalist
National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold Medal of Architecture 2019, Winner
The Future of Museums & Galleries, Routledge – chapter on Tŷ Pawb co-authored by Sarah Featherstone and Jo Marsh, Creative Director of Tŷ Pawb
The Observer Sep 2018 – Tŷ Pawb review – An art gallery that truly is everybody’s house, by Rowan Moore. READ HERE
The Guardian December 2020 – Covid has finished off the old high street, but we can replace it with something better, by Owen Hatherley 2020 READ HERE
Cracks in the White Cube, Icon August 2019
RIBA J 28 August 2018 Multi Storied by Eleanor Young – READ HERE
Architecture Today, Sep 2018 – READ HERE
The Architects’ Journal – READ HERE
FX, Oct 2018
Art Monthly, Aug 2018.
AJ Retrofit Award to commemorate Tŷ Pawb as Overall Winner. SEE HERE