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Chapter Pase Two

Chapter has decided to go down the competition route for the next phase of it redevelopment.

A high-profile competition has been launched for the £6 million redevelopment of Cardiff’s prestigious Chapter Arts Centre

Competition organiser Chapter Capital Alliance is on the hunt for an ‘inspirational’ architect-led design team for the regeneration and expansion of the venue in Canton, west Cardiff.

The project follows a doubling of visitors to the former Canton High School building since 2009 when Ash Sakula Architects completed a £3.8 million revamp.

The 44 year-old Chapter Arts Centre has teamed up with locally-based Earthfall, ffotogallery, Theatr Iolo and Cardiff University to create a new consortium known as the Chapter Capital Alliance to steer the expansion.

The Arts Council of Wales-backed scheme will create new galleries, cinemas, performance and rehearsal studios, learning spaces and a digital hub. New retail spaces are also planned alongside the refurbishment of existing spaces.

In a statement, the organiser said: ‘Chapter Capital Alliance Partnership will provide a richer artistic provision for audiences and the artistic community and will also make a significant contribution to the strategic, artistic, economic and social objectives of national and regional bodies including the Arts Council of Wales, the Welsh Government and Cardiff Council.’

The winning team will develop plans up to RIBA Stage 2 as part of a feasibility study.

The deadline for registration is the 21 April and submissions must be completed by 1 May.

Leading city cultural venue Chapter Arts Centre has launched a search for a design team for a £6m expansion.

The popular arts centre plans to transform the eastern wing of its home in Canton with a new cinema, galleries, performance and rehearsal spaces and a digital hub.

It comes five years after a successful refurbishment saw visitor numbers double, with nearly 800,000 people going through its doors every year.

Chapter, which is based in the old Canton High School site off Cowbridge Road East, is working with arts groups Earthfall, ffotogallery, Theatr Iolo as well as Cardiff University on the Arts Council of Wales-backed project.

The announcement comes at a time when many arts organisations are facing cuts but Elaina Gray, head of development at Chapter, is optimistic about the project.

“We obviously need to be realistic and going headlong into a multi-million-pound campaign in the current financial climate will be difficult,” she said.

“But it’s good to be in this position, to be able to look at this development with the ultimate aim of increasing our income and expanding Chapter.”

The number of visitors to Chapter has doubled to nearly 800,000 since its £4m revamp in 2009 – making the centre one of the most popular attractions in South Wales.

Cardiff Castle last year brought in 266,927 visitors, the National Museum had nearly 450,000 and St Fagans around 544,000.

Only the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay recorded more people through its doors, with 1.5 million visitors last year.

It is hoped that the new work at Chapter will get under way in 2015.

Re: Chapter Pase Two

Hitherto, I'd not realised that there was any further expansion planned. I thought they'd pulled off a bit of a coup by getting funding for phase 1.They obviously feel confident of embarking on an even bigger fund raising project for the second phase, which is a surprise given the current public sector funding climate.

The 'application window' for potential entries seems brief for such a project what with the deadline for registration being 21 April and submissions needing to be completed by 1 May.

Re: Chapter Pase Two

Knowing Chapter, if they've gone public the the funding is pretty much in place.

It's that very rare animal - a public / third sector organisation that's incredibly well run. I know it still has a slightly hippy image but, among other things, it's actualy a very succesful business incubator and has probably pumped millions into the city economy over the years.

Re: Chapter Pase Two

I take it that the "visitors" number include visits to the cafe/bar?

I very fond of the place, but I can't help thinking of it as a bar with an arts centre.

Re: Chapter Pase Two

I take it that the "visitors" number include visits to the cafe/bar?

Yes, of course. How is that any less valid than people who visit the bars or shops at the Millenium Centre?

If you think of Chapter as a "bar with an arts centre" - and many people do, you should visit the cinemas, theatre, gallery & business incubation units in Chapter and Market House. A confession. I used to be on the board in Chapter - and the income from the cafe / bar was about 10% of turnover.

Re: Chapter Pase Two

I know Chapter and the people there very well. It does always seem busy there and of course a lot of those people will be visiting the bar. But they've got multiple events on every day. Films obviously but all kinds of classes too.

That said not everyone is keen on the change. I do hear people say they long for the 'old' chapter, it's all full of 'yummy mummies' now. A feeling it has somehow lost its edge.

Re: Chapter Pase Two

That said not everyone is keen on the change. I do hear people say they long for the 'old' chapter, it's all full of 'yummy mummies' now. A feeling it has somehow lost its edge.

And in some ways I'm one of those people - but organisations have to change to survive and flourish.

Chapter led a hand to mouth existance for the best part of forty years with no financial reserves and with a lease on the building that was less than secure.

It's something different now - an important cultural and economic engine for the city. A lot of the art is still pretty radical but yes, the atmosphere in the public area is more sedate and 'family friendly' these days. Mind you, you still get the odd rumble on a friday night!