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Nissen Richards unveils overhaul of popular Cardiff music venue

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Nissen Richards Studio has revealed designs for the overhaul of a popular nightclub, music venue and ‘bastion of Welsh culture’ in central Cardiff

Clwb Ifor Bach, on Womanby Street, hit the headlines in 2017 when it fought off plans for flats to be built on a derelict site next door, amid fears the club could be put under threat by noise complaints.

But the venue is now set to take over the plot itself in a major expansion project, after Cardiff Council agreed to buy the plot and lease it to the venue in a bid to protect the city’s live music heritage.

The revamped 1,270m² venue will include improved facilities such as green rooms, increased toilet capacity, new bars, offices and workshops, and an increased capacity to allow for higher-profile acts.

The architect plans to remove the first floor, creating a double-height performance space with a standing area to accommodate 375 people and a wrap-around mezzanine balcony, giving a total capacity of 500.

The scheme, currently out for public consultation, will enable two venues to operate simultaneously, with an additional 300-capacity space on the upper floor allowing for an intimate live music shows, events, exhibitions and conferences.

Clwb Ifor Bach first opened in 1983 as a Welsh language working men’s club. It has become a live music institution, staging gigs by bands such as Stereophonics and Super Furry Animals. 

The scheme is London-based Nissen Richards Studio’s third live-music project, having previously redeveloped Printworks in south London, and the soon-to-be-constructed Magazine on the Greenwich Peninsula, set to open this summer.

Practice director Jim Richards said: ’‘We are truly excited to be working with Clwb Ifor Bach. Not only does the project utilise our skills in creating raw immersive spaces, but it also provides an opportunity for us to build upon the legacy of this iconic venue, and allow future generations to enjoy the experience of live music.’

Clwb Ifor Bach chief executive Guto Brychan said: ‘It’s been incredibly sad to see the closures of much loved, independent venues in Cardiff and surrounding areas.

‘Their closure which has rocked grassroots music in the city has made it all the more important that we try and secure our future and the future of grassroots music in Wales.’

In addition to the assistance of the local council, the project has received backing from Arts Council of Wales.

Nissen Richards' early concept for the redevelopment of Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff

Nissen Richards’ early concept for the redevelopment of Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff

Nissen Richards’ early concept for the redevelopment of Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff

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