National Waterfront Museum Swansea
BY WILKINSONEYRE ARCHITECTS
During her tenure as architect at WilkinsonEyre Architects, Susi was a design and site architect on the National Waterfront Museum Swansea, a £30million project for The National Museums and Galleries of Wales and The City and County of Swansea. The project saw the renovation of an existing Grade II listed dock-side warehouse building in Swansea, as well as the creation of new gallery spaces and a linking structure, to bring about a single composition telling the story of Wales’ industrial and maritime past. The building won RIBA and Civic Trust Awards in 2006.
There is a powerful narrative to the design, inspired by the unique history and context of the site. The museum sits within a new £3.5million landscape scheme, part of the architects’ design, which formed part of a wider master-planning scheme for the City of Swansea accompanying their regeneration plans. The project had two client bodies. Susi, as part of the architectural and lead consultant team, was involved in achieving a significant grant towards the project from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The design work also involved close collaboration with multiple user groups at the Museums & Galleries of Wales such as the conservation, curatorial & facilities staff as well as a dedicated external exhibitions consultant, in order to get the different components of the brief working in harmony – exhibitions galleries, events space, catering facilities & restaurant, commercial outlets and all the back-of-house administration and collections storage.
Attention to detail in the refurbishment works were employed to allow the existing Grade II* building to be restored to its former glory. The new gallery spaces were given clear connections to the existing Grade II* fabric, enabling each part to retain its own identity in the new composition.
The National Waterfront Museum Swansea by WilkinsonEyre Architects gave Susi Wellings the opportunity to work closely with curatorial and events teams at the Museums & Galleries of Wales to realise the re-use of the old warehouse building into various new functions. The most successful of which was possibly the new gallery space at first floor level. This space was designed as a flexible adaptive space such that the client could benefit from revenues generated from various events such as conferences and weddings.