Merthyr Tydfil Council is recruiting a design team for an estimated £50 million revamp of Cyfarthfa Castle and surrounding areas in Wales
The team selected for the projected £250,000 contract will spend about 12 months drawing up a ‘visionary and exemplary strategic masterplan’ to transform the historic country house into a new visitor attraction focusing on the area’s industrial history.
The 25-year masterplan will identify a range of cultural, industrial heritage and landscape projects around the Grade I-listed Cyfarthfa Castle and its 77ha grounds. Cardiff-based ALT-Architecture worked with the Design Commission for Wales to develop the project brief for the local authority.
Gareth Chapman, Merthyr Tydfil Council chief executive said: ‘The publication of this tender is a crucially important milestone on the road to realising our ambitious vision for Cyfarthfa and the whole town. We are determined that this will be a project of the highest quality. I hope it will engage the interest of the best talents in the country and beyond to help us reach our goal.’
Carole-Anne Davies, Design Commission for Wales chief executive said: ‘Merthyr has every reason to expect quality and creativity of an international standard. Cyfarthfa and its environs have a history of globally significant innovation. There is every opportunity to recast that history with renewed ambition, to capture public imagination and galvanise new visitors to Merthyr Tydfil and the wider region.’
Located around 37 km north of Cardiff on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, Merthyr Tydfil became a major centre of iron production during the early industrial revolution due to the local abundance of iron ore, coal, limestone, lumber and water.
The Cyfarthfa Castle was built in 1824 by the architect Robert Lugar for the Crawshay family who controlled the largest ironworks in the town. The building and its grounds were purchased by the local authority more than one 100 years ago and transformed into a public park, museum and school.
The latest project will regenerate the Cyfarthfa Estate and other heritage assets across Merthyr Tydfil such as the Crawshay furnaces and River Taff through a series of large and smaller projects which will be delivered over the next 25 years.
The masterplan will build on the conclusions of the Merthyr Tydfil Industrial Heritage Design Charrette held at Cyfarthfa Castle in October 2017 which called for a cathedral-like venue for industrial heritage, a connected landscape, broader geographic connections and year-round events.
A later report by the Design Commission for Wales based on the charette – dubbed Crucible – called for £50million to create a centre of national importance centred around the castle and won backing from the local authority.
The team selected for the commission will draw up a ‘creative, multi-layered’ masterplan featuring a new museum or visitor attraction capable of receiving around 300,000 visitors a year. Other long-term interventions and a series of quick-to-deliver early stage projects will also be required.
Teams selected for interview will present to a panel featuring Peter Clegg, senior partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios; Martin Knight, managing director at Knight Architects; Amanda Spence, architect at ALT-Architecture; and the local authority’s regeneration programmes manager, Zoe Thomas.
Applications may be in English or Welsh. Bids will be evaluated 80 per cent on quality and 20 per cent on cost and the deadline for applications is 12noon on 17 May.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
Triangle Business Park
Tel: +44 1685725000