The Twentieth Century Society

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Buildings at risk

Ardudwy Theatre & Residential Tower, Coleg Harlech, Merionnydd, Wales

Ardudwy Theatre and residential tower, Coleg Harlech, Wales photo by Rob Telford
Ardudwy Theatre & Residential Tower, Coleg Harlech, Merionnydd, Wales Photo © Rob Telford, Flickr

These two Brutalist buildings make dramatic use of a steeply sloping site facing the sea, just down the coast from Harlech Castle.  Coleg Harlech was founded in 1927, based at the Edwardian villa Plas Wernfawr by architect George Walton, in order to provide higher education for working men and women. The theatre at the north and the tower at the south book-end the site, with a variety of college buildings in between.  Both were designed by the local architect Ralph Colwyn Foulkes. The thin 12-storey tower with pre-cast concrete panels was completed in 1968 to provide accommodation for 100 students, while the theatre, with a raked 256- seat auditorium was completed five years later in 1973.  The latter, based on a classical Greek amphitheatre, is renowned for its excellent sight-lines and unique acoustic. It was constructed of concrete with a steel-frame and a variety of high quality materials including hardwood, glass, marble, plaster and handmade Italian tiles. The building is wholly intact, and resplendent with high quality interior detailing. Following an application from C20, the theatre was listed in 2016 at Grade II*, but listing was denied for the residential block.  After years of lack of maintenance and neglect, the buildings have closed and are up for sale.

Buildings at risk

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