Whereas Design A is an improvement, Design B is a solution to many old problems. In addition to linking once more the Ffestiniog Railway with it’s original Diffwys Station and The Quarries where it all began, this scheme would save five historic buildings, of which four are in danger of demolition and three are listed (marked *). These are The Market Hall, Gloddfa Ganol cottages*, a small quarry chimney, and Samuel Holland’s Office*. These would be taken down and rebuilt around the original Diffwys Station* to form an historic town centre. This would really consolidate Blaenau Ffestiniog’s unique identity; ensure equal importance with it’s “Gateway” partners Porthmadog and Caernarfon; be of world class design, yet still feel homely to it’s people. And as I said in 2006, now is the time to do it while all these buildings are still there. Yes, it’s ambitious and would be expensive, and would mean taking down the modern “units”. But in the course of 40 or 100 years, I’m sure this one loss would be more than outweighed by the gain of having saved four distinctly characterful buildings from demolition. Demolition is final, but it’s not free, whereas moving buildings is as feasible as those which were rebuilt at St Fagans Museum near Cardiff, and the Tanygrisau houses which are now in the National Slate Museum in Llanberis. So instead of thinking “old” think “historic”.
BUILDINGS ARE ABOUT PEOPLE
We spend most of our lives in and around buildings. We live, work, relax, compete, worship, heal, learn, store and celebrate in them. From cottage to cathedral, they are the practical expression of all our needs, hopes, fears, beliefs and ideals. They symbolise our whole culture. When we destroy a building, we risk destroying something of ourselves.
The layout of Design B is fundamentally similar to the layout of Design A, but with the following additions or changes.
Modern Units - removed
Market Hall - relocated here, and on a smaller plan
Quarry Cottages - relocated here
Fountain and Viewpoint
KEY TO THE ILLUSTRATION ABOVE
LOCAL AXIS Connects the Ffestiniog Railway and Old Diffwys Station where it all began Looking inwards to protect Blaenau’s Heritage. NATIONAL AXIS Interestingly by placing The Market Hall at this angle it’s main axis aligns with The Senedd in Cardiff. Looking outwards to be part of International Culture.