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Y Ffwrnes cultural centre


We were commissioned by Carmarthenshire County Council to create their vision of a cultural hub for the town of Llanelli, Wales. The space had to bring together the heritage of the area while embracing a modern look for cultural events.

The Brief

Y Ffwrnes Cultural Centre needed to stand as a contemporary expression of the Llanelli’s history in tin-making and create a relevant setting for art and drama in the regenerated town centre. Overall, it had to establish a rapport and sense of ownership within the community.

We wanted to bring out the history of the area in the design of the centre while making sure we were also considering its different uses. The space needed to seat 500 people in its main theatre, also accommodating for rehearsal areas and a smaller studio.

Our Solution

Y Ffwnes translates to ‘the furnace’: a symbol of heat and energy. This, combined with the social drama created by Llanelli’s industrial past, created the inspiration for the new theatre we designed.

The building’s external zinc tiles create an expression of the outer casing of a furnace, while in the main stage, the seating is a mix of reds, yellows and oranges to create the fire at the centre’s heart. We reinforced this sense of heritage by bringing the old chapel and Sunday School into the project.

Through sensitive alterations and restoration, we created a new 100 seat studio theatre and community area in the space whilst maintaining it as a place of worship.

“I have worked with Lawray Architects on a number of projects through the authority’s design framework, most notably on the £7.5m re-furb of Carmarthen Leisure Centre, and £30m new award winning QE High School. I am also currently involved with Lawray Architects in developing proposals for a Cultural and Creative Centre, in Llanelli. I have found the organisation to be well managed and professional in all aspects of their work.”
– Ian Jones, Head of Leisure, Carmarthenshire County Council

I am pleased to have been given the opportunity to comment on the contribution made by Lawray Architects to the recently completed Combined Services Centre in Llandrindod Wells. As lead consultants on a project with three separate stakeholders, their role was always going to be challenging. I was however, very impressed by the professional manner in which they succeeded not only in delivering a quality final product, but also in balancing with skill and patience the competing demands of their three ‘clients ’throughout both the planning and construction phases of the project. From a Dyfed Powys Police perspective, we were very satisfied with the design solutions offered and the ensuing facilities have received complimentary comments from the occupants

Perry Simpson. Capital Projects Manager

Dyfed Powys Police