School of Architecture students bring Dylan Thomas’ poetry to life in city park project


Students at the new School of Architecture at University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Faculty of Architecture, Applied Computing and Engineering have just designed 'listening pavilions' in Singleton Park - spaces in which to relax and enjoy the poetry of Dylan Thomas.

Dylan Thomas had a wonderful sonorous voice, he was widely acclaimed for his reading of poetry. He regularly contributed to the reading of poetry on BBC radio, and made four reading tours of the USA – the last of which was to prove fatal. Students were asked to choose a site in Singleton Park to place their proposed pavilion. The studio programme also involved collaboration with the glass design students from the UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art as collaboration with artists is now common practice in contemporary building design.

Paul Harries, the new Head of the Architecture School and Ian Standen the programme director said they were delighted with the schemes that the first year students had produced.

Singleton Park was originally part of the Vivian family estate, which was purchased by Swansea County Borough Council in 1919 for use as a public park. The Vivian Family were an influential Swansea family who made their wealth through copper smelting. The park superintendent Daniel Bliss, who was trained at Kew Gardens was responsible for the conception of the Singleton botanical gardens and Ornamental Gardens.

Joseph Taylor said: “The project encouraged us to create a space and design our own space and we had the opportunity to be original, to create something. We weren’t constrained by anything.” Chris Woodley’s design features glass panels arranged in sweeping curves that lead to small covered seating areas. The design is set within an existing copse. Danielle Churchill's scheme is set against an existing stone wall near to the ornamental gardens, the timber pavilion is set above the ground and features a series of small intimate spaces to listen to poetry. Danielle said: “It was completely different from the first project we completed. Paul and Ian basically taught me everything because I had to learn all of the programmes from scratch, they were totally amazing at teaching me everything I needed to consider to create a building.”
Callum deSchoolmeester's scheme is approached by a small bridge over an existing stream, the poetry emanates from a tower structure, while those listening are housed in a compact space that overlooks the stream and the park beyond.
Alysha Martin said of the project: “It was great to have the opportunity to use the skills that we’ve been taught. It was harder because it was more work than anything we’ve done before. The tutors are great, you come in with an idea and they just help you develop it so that it is realistic.”

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