Y Ffwrnes Cultural Centre


The project

We were commissioned by Carmarthenshire County Council to create their vision of a cultural hub for the town of Llanelli. Comprising a 500-seat main theatre, as well as rehearsal areas and studio, the space had to bring together the heritage of the area while embracing a modern look for cultural events.

Owned by the community

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

Inspired by the past

We wanted to bring out the history of the area in the design of the centre, but with a keen eye on all its different uses. 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.

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 heart of the centre. We reinforced this sense of heritage by bringing the old chapel and Sunday School into the project.

“I have worked with Lawray Architects on a number of projects, most notably the £7.5m re-furb of Carmarthen Leisure Centre, and new £30m award-winning QE High School. 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