National Centre for Photography in Wales

Sensitive design transforms neo-Gothic Welsh mansion into visitor attraction

Walters & Cohen was appointed following competitive interview to design a National Centre for Photography in Wales at Margam Castle in Port Talbot.

The castle was gutted by fire in the 1970s and had been left derelict. The galleries share the 18th century manor house with flexible residential accommodation, used primarily by the Field Studies Council and a Heritage Training Centre. Retail and restaurant outlets were proposed to provide a broader visitor experience. We worked closely with Ffotogallery and Neath Port Talbot Council to create a lively arts centre with an emphasis on environmental learning, which aims to attract a wide range of local, national and international visitors. Funding for the entire project was secured from the Arts Council of Wales, HLF and the European Regional Development Fund – Objective One. Planning and listed building consent was granted in 2005.

Walters & Cohen was also commissioned to undertake a scoping study for Margam Park, 900 acres of country park including a seventeenth-century Orangery, Margam Castle, an Iron Age hill fort, Roman roads and the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey.


ClientNational Centre for Photography in Wales; Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

Total value£8m

AppointedAug 2003

Area1,900 m2 gallery & admin; 5,000 m2 castle

QSEC Harris

Structural engineerFaber Maunsell

Building ServicesFaber Maunsell

Conservation architectAcanthus Holden