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First look: Heatherwick unwraps foil-clad Aberystwyth artist centre

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The AJ can reveal the first pictures of Heatherwick Studio’s Creative Development Units at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, which will be officially opened later today (21 May)

The competition-winning project features eight buildings, housing 16 ‘affordable creative business units’, and is clad in a crinkled stainless steel system which was ‘fabricated on site using a contraption similar to a Victorian mangle’.

All sixteen studio spaces have already been let with tenants including internationally renowned painter Mary Lloyd Jones and Creu Cymru - the National Development Agency for Theatres and Arts Centres in Wales.

Describing the ‘ambitious’ scheme, designer Thomas Heatherwick said: ‘Our project was about designing buildings that would provide functional light-filled spaces for local artists and creative businesses, but that would be special and particular to this site and the Arts Centre.

‘We have been acting like architectural tailors - building simple forms with an extraordinary skin. The skin will reflect the surroundings and as the young trees and grass begin to mature, the units will feel further embedded into their environment and Aberystwyth.’

First unveiled in the AJ back in January 2006, the village-type scheme was due to complete in 2007. However work on site was delayed until 2008 and Heatherwick was forced to act as his own contractor on the job.

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