Client University of Glamorgan
The Vocational Training Centre project involved careful negotiation between two education bodies in order to realise a scheme that fulfilled the aspirations of both. Rio was also appointed to masterplan the site for the Merthyr Life Long Learning campus which involved creating a strategic layout for a much larger collection of students and facilities. Rio provided full architectural services from concept, planning and detailed design whilst utilising in-house 3D visuals to provide the college with a clear understanding of how the facility would look, feel and sit within the overall site masterplan.
The project's biggest challenge involved working on a live campus with the phased decanting and moving of students and student facilities mid-way through the construction process. The creation of two interconnecting wings is a direct response to this with the shorter wing being constructed first to facilitate the demolition of the existing site buildings. In response to the evolving site masterplan, the building is positioned to provide the greatest flexibility and minimal constraint to any future masterplan developments.
Utilising an exposed steel frame with exposed services throughout to provide a modern industrial aesthetic, the building provides plumbing, plastering, brick-laying, painting and decorating, carpentry, engineering, welding, motor vehicle and IT suite facilities. Elements of the structure have been highlighted and annotated to help students understand the components that form the fabric of buildings. The facility is a true learning resource that engages staff and students alike.
"The workshops are a real example of the first-class education and training facilities we will need in order to build the economy Wales needs for the 21st century. These state-of-the-art facilities will enable people in Merthyr to compete with the very best in their skills and training."
Carwyn Jones – First Minister of Wales.