Galeri Caernarfon

Date Complete 2018
Location UK Wales
Client Galeri Caernarfon Cyf
Architect Richard Murphy Architects

Project summary

Galeri Creative Enterprise is a £7.5 million development centred around the advancement of the arts and creative industries of North Wales. Officially opened in 2005, the scheme brought together a flexible theatre / performance space and a range of rehearsal spaces, combined with commercial offices under one roof and subsequently won the RIBA Welsh Architecture Award for 2005. The ensuing success of the scheme resulted in increased demand for a larger contemporary performance and entertainment venue in line with an increasing number of creative schemes. Sandy Brown were re-engaged to work on the extension to the existing building, and the building achieved a second RIBA Award 14 years later.

Built as a warehouse-like structure, the scheme comprised three parallel sheds, with an inner shed containing the theatre auditorium, rehearsal rooms and a central foyer, while flanked on either side by small scale structural sheds of individual rooms containing offices and ancillary accommodation. The building layout was key to its successful design, placing the multipurpose auditorium at the opposite end of the building from the two large rehearsal studios, with these key spaces being separated from other areas by corridors.

Cinema extension

The extension opened in the summer of 2018 and comprises two cinema auditoria, additional office space and meeting rooms, gallery space, a new reception area and additional bar space. The form of the extension continues the warehouse-like appearance of the existing centre with a series of parallel, pitched roof volumes separated by a rectilinear plantroom. Locating the cinemas on first floor allows the ground floor to provide a new entrance and double height foyer space but creates the acoustic challenge of placing cinemas directly above a meeting room and office area.

The acoustic design provided by Sandy Brown covered guidance on the performance requirements such as sound insulation against external sources of sound as well as between the multi-use spaces and acoustic quality in the cinemas, which needed to be able to accommodate spoken word and small performance events too. Two separate box-in-box structures create good sound separation between the adjacent cinemas and the surrounding areas.