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Competition: Merthyr Tydfil YMCA

Merthyr Tydfil’s Grade II-listed YMCA following emergency structural works and stabilisation. Image by John M
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Merthyr Tydfil Council is seeking a design team for an estimated £3 million overhaul of its Grade II-listed YMCA building

The multidisciplinary team selected for the estimated £350,000 contract will review existing RIBA Stage 4 plans and deliver an overhaul of the Percy Thomas-designed 1911 town centre landmark which has been abandoned for decades.

The European Regional Development Fund-backed project, planned to complete in 2022, will restore surviving elements of the original structure, replace the third floor, and create 11 commercial workspace units, an accessible entrance and a car park. Cardiff’s Davies Sutton Architects previously developed the project to RIBA Stage 4.

In its brief, the council says it wants to ‘regenerate the Grade II-listed building to create an innovative and collaborative workspace to attract the creative industries and professional service sector into the town centre.

‘With 954m2 of integrated and flexible commercial units, it will provide an inspirational hub for economic and social activity in the heart of Merthyr Tydfil. Simultaneous alterations will facilitate “access-for-all” to and within the building generally, the character of the surrounding Conservation Area being enhanced in the process.’

Merthyr Tydfil is around 37km north of Cardiff on the edge of the Brecon Beacons. It 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.

Cardiff-based Ivor Jones and Percy Thomas won an open competition to design the YMCA building. The four-storey, red-brick complex originally featured a café, lecture theatre, billiard room and gymnasium.

The building was later used as a labour exchange but was abandoned in the late 20th century and fell into significant disrepair. An initial phase of emergency structural works and stabilisation was completed in 2014.

The building’s owner, the Cambrian Heritage Regeneration Trust appointed Davies Sutton Architects to restore the building in a contract worth £202,938 four years ago. The trust was, however, unable to progress the project beyond RIBA Stage 4 and the scheme is now being advanced by the council.

Earlier this month, Merthyr Tydfil Council launched a separate search for a design team for an estimated £50 million revamp of Cyfarthfa Castle. 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.

Bids for the latest project will be evaluated 70 per cent on quality and 30 per cent on cost. The winning team will be expected to feature a conservation architect; principal designer; quantity surveyor; mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers; structural engineers; and civil engineers.

The deadline for applications is 2pm, 29 May.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
Unit 5, Triangle Business Park
Pentrebach
Merthyr Tydfil
CF48 4TQ

Tel: +44 1685725000
Email: regeneration@merthyr.gov.uk 

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