Glynn Vivian Art Gallery


The Edwardian Grade II* listed gallery was commissioned by Richard Glynn Vivian in 1911 to house his collection of fine art and porcelain. The building was then extended in 1974, with a new brutalist structure, characterized by exposed concrete coffers, providing a new Main Gallery space and associated storeroom.

In 2010 Powell Dobson won the commission to extend existing building and improve accessibility, community engagement, archive storage and climatic conditions, whilst preserving the historic listed fabric.

  • Client City & County of Swansea
  • Completed Nov 2016
  • Budget £5m
Glynn Vivian

The proposal relocated the reception area to create additional gallery space in the Listed Building and provide access to a new landscaped garden. A series of small galleries surrounding the atrium unlocked a new 148m2 gallery space to the rear, allowing the exhibition of works previously hampered by access restrictions. Academic links were achieved with the creation of a new education and community room, encouraging engagement with the gallery’s archives.

Works within the 1974 extension were undertaken both internally and externally. Contemporary limestone cladding contrasting with the listed fabric was chosen to replace the brutalist concrete elevation to Alexandra Road and accessibility was improved by relocating the main entrance to the ground floor. Access is gained through a multi-level link with full height glazing between the two buildings encouraging visual permeability and engagement.

This glazed link reconciles level differences and creates breakout spaces on all levels. A new air handling system was introduced into the Main Gallery, controlling humidity and temperature, and ensuring adequate environmental conditions are achieved.

Behind the Main Gallery an additional storey of accommodation connects Clifton Row to a new collection store, and a generous new lift improves accessibility for users and aids transportation of large artefacts. Administration facilities, north-facing conservation studios and a new workshop have also been provided, with a viewing corridor alongside creating visual connections to the Listed Building below.


Eisteddfod Gold Award 2018
Glynn Vivian was shortlisted.

Heritage Angel Awards Wales 2018
The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery was nominated for a Heritage Angel Award Wales in the category Best Major Regeneration of a Historic Building or Place (for projects in excess of £5m). We received a commendation on the night.

 RICS Awards 2019
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery  was shortlisted in the Regeneration Category and Tourism/ Leisure Category)