Grangetown Wellness Centre

At the Welsh School of Architecture, the part II degree functions slightly differently compared to other schools. The WSA runs the placement year and the first year of the masters degree simultaneously, with the academic portion taught in short courses. The project shown here is a design project which was produced alongside my part I placement.

This project is located in Grangetown, an area to the South of Cardiff which is both one of the most ethnically diverse and least educated districts in the city.

The brief called for a new community centre where people from all walks of life would feel comfortable. This new centre would provide services that promote general ‘wellness’ in both a physical and mental sense.

The chosen site for this scheme was a former Baptist chapel. The rationale behind this choice was that the chapel is one of the few buildings with any historic value or character in the area, but is currently in a very poor state of repair. For the building to survive, it must be provided with a new purpose.

This did however present many challenges to the ultimate design due to the problems posed by placing a new community centre within a building which is non-secular. This was on top of the usual difficulties caused by fitting new functions into an old building.

There were however many positives to using the old chapel as it contained a beautiful old hall with large scissor trusses which would be a perfect large multi-purpose space.

The overall concept for this project was to manipulate the old facade sufficiently to suggest that the building has passed on from its previous religious connotations, yet maintain as much of the original character as possible.

Internally, the intention was to link all the separate functions of the building together through a central, sculptural staircase.

At the heart of the building lies a large community cafe, intended to celebrate all things Grangetown and provide a mixture of activities and cuisines that span all of the cultures which are thriving in the area, uniting them together.