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Mid-Century Modern Cardiff

Mid-Century Modern Cardiff

I spent last Saturday exploring some cool mid-century-modern buildings in Cardiff. Laura and I met for lunch in Penarth, then we drove along the coast to Sully. The old Sully Hospital is one of the few great Modernist buildings in Wales. The Art Deco structure was designed by William Pite, Son and Fairweathers and built between 1932 and 1936. It was purpose-designed for the treatment of TB sufferers – it was partly funded by wealthy mine owners and the coastal location plus huge windows reflect the era’s fascination with natural light and airy interiors.

Sully H frontA pioneering steel-frame construction allowed wide expanses of openable glazing in crisp white, non-load-bearing walls. In this respect, the building has similarities with Alvar Aalto’s sanatorium in Paimio, Finland which was finished three years earlier. Sully Hospital was recently converted into flats and is now called Hayes Point. Despite a few dodgy additions and a Magnolia paint finish, it retains an impressive, elegant presence overlooking the Bristol Channel.

Llangorse 1

Llangorse Road is a four-bedroom mid-century-modern house in the leafy suburb of Cyncoed, north Cardiff. It was designed by the Powell Alport Partnership in collaboration with the first owner, a businessman who often travelled to America where he fell in love with its modernist architecture, especially that of Frank Lloyd Wright. Characteristic features include floor-to-ceiling glazing and a close relationship between house and garden. Built in 1966, the house incorporated innovative features for its time such as built-in stereo systems, a central vacuum system and electronically-operated curtains.

Llangorse 2

Llangorse 4

Llangorse 5

After an afternoon exploring, we called for tea and cake in Waterloo Gardens Teahouse, then home to see Mark ‘domestic god’ Williams who cooked us supper, then out to BrewDog on Westgate Street to sample the weird and wonderful craft beers.