Plans revealed for world’s longest digital art gallery

14 July 2022
  • Scott Brownrigg
  • Scott Brownrigg
  • Scott Brownrigg
  • Scott Brownrigg

Rhondda Valley

United Kingdom

Scott Brownrigg repurpose Welsh railway tunnel for new cultural space

Tenderstream member Scott Brownrigg, together with tourism consultant Steven & Associates, have revealed concept plans to repurpose the longest rail tunnel in Wales into the longest digital art gallery and performance space in the world. The designers sought to celebrate the heritage and culture of the South Welsh valleys, while transforming the abandoned 130-year-old Rhondda Tunnel into a unique visitor destination that will help place Wales on the map for global tourism. 

Originally conceived as a footpath and cycling route, the scheme radically reinvents Rhondda Tunnel as a route, place, and destination, reconnecting communities at either end, with a new hotel at the eastern entrance of the tunnel. An exoskeleton of digitally constructed timber ribs changes across the length of the building, alluding to the movement of a train as it disappears into the tunnel. The western entrance will be transformed into a visitor centre with art galleries, cafe, external performance space and a digital theatre. 

Referencing local rail heritage, the galleries are conceived as a lump of coal with scorched black timber cladding elevated above the steep slopes of the tunnel entrance on slender stilts. Following structural repair and restoration, the tunnel will open to the public as a pedestrian and cycle route, digital art gallery and performance space, with a viewing tower above. Working alongside digital art consultancy Lumen Art Projects, installations will spark the imagination and tell tales of the tunnels past. The scheme will be designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent or equivalent, with opportunities explored for use of geothermal energy sources. 

Scott Brownrigg state: “A unique combination of landscape, wellness and ecology: the scheme will capture the imagination of locals, tourists and investors alike, boost the economy, stimulate regeneration, and enhance national pride.”

Lucy Nordberg
Tenderstream Head of Research

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