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New Life for Old College – Mather & Co appointed for Aberystwyth University project

Visitor attraction design specialist Mather & Co has been appointed to work with Aberystwyth University on the transformation of Old College – a grade 1 listed building and home to the first University College of Wales

The vision of the project is to create a cultural and commercial facility at the heart of Aberystwyth that will act as a catalyst to regenerate the area. Through this scheme, Old College will be transformed into a destination for engagement, learning and creativity that will appeal to all generations.

Engaging activities will reveal rich collections and endless stories from the University’s fascinating history, while dynamic programmes will expand horizons and knowledge in sciences and humanities. It will also spur creativity, innovation and enterprise, playing a vital role in community and academic life.

Mather & Co will be undertaking the interpretation design and build elements of the new scheme, including three permanent exhibition galleries showcasing the rich heritage of the building and University collections, temporary exhibition spaces and further interpretation and wayfinding throughout the building.

“We’re very pleased to be working with Mather & Co on this exciting project,” notes Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, director of Welsh language and culture, and external engagement.

“The Old College is one of the most recognisable historic buildings in Wales and the plans to re-purpose the building aim to provide a fantastic resource for the University, the town and for visitors alike. Working with Mather & Co we have the wonderful opportunity to develop a captivating visitor experience within this iconic building showcasing the University’s journey and hosting inspirational exhibitions.”

The revamped building will also include public science shows, an annual temporary exhibition programme, a new debating chamber – The Centre for Constructive Dialogue – business enterprise units and a new seafront café/restaurant bar and retail space. Other facilities will include an extensive range of premium hotel rooms and spaces for functions, conferences and events, teaching facilities and spaces for schools, and a 24-hour student study space.

Funding has been secured from Welsh Government, European Regional Development Funding, individual donors, alumni, trusts and foundations and a major grant of £9.7m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Paul Lee, design director at Mather & Co says: “We are delighted that Mather & Co has been chosen to work on such a prestigious project that will transform the seafront in Aberystwyth. We look forward to working with the wider project team to realise the vision and bring this historic space into new usage for future generations.”

New Life for Old College is due to open in early 2023 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the founding of the university.