Situated on the boundary of the historic town wall of Shrewsbury, the new cultural hub resides carefully in-between the vast openness of the park and the densely packed town. It is carefully embedded within the existing level change from the street to the park, seeking to break down this physical barrier through the dynamic landscaping that extends and merges the threshold between the urban and green space.
As part of an initiative to develop the surrounding area and increase the public realm, the road adjacent to the site (St. Chad’s Terrace) was pedestrianised and the car park in front of St. Chad’s Church reconfigured into a generous new public square. Able to accommodate a variety of events, it seeks to become the main meeting point for locals and reemphasises the importance of the church to everyday activity.
Whilst appearing to be two separate buildings from above, they are in fact interconnected on the ground floor through the trail of the old town wall which has been unearthed and celebrated within the new structure. The smaller, angled building accommodates for the new art gallery, theatre hall and café whilst the library, council offices and mayors parlour reside in the larger, glazed structure which features a double skin façade.
The envelope consists of perforated Corten panels which have been slightly bent to produce a strong sense of verticality throughout the building. The pre-weathered aesthetic features a modern take on the materiality of the historic context whilst also hinting a form of design irony.
This project has been driven through the historical and social importance of its surrounding context and as a result, forms a seamless collage between the new and old.