Buildings of Newport (17) by stuart46

Buildings of Newport (17)

Former Art College

Anyone who has driven or walked around Newportanywhere near Clarence Place will instantly recognise this distinctive, copper domed building. It is Newport's former art college - and it has an engaging story to tell.
In 1899, a plot of land is bought by the local college from Lord Tredegar for the sum of £4,500.
The intention of the purchase is to build and establish a new technical institute as a house of learning for art, technology and commerce students, that later expanded to science and mathematics.
In June 1909 the first foundation stone was laid, with the building officially the following year.
In the publication No More Words To Conquer by the University of Wales, Newport, there are a number of quotes from students at the time of opening that paints a very colourful picture of the art college.
One of these is from Stanley Lewis, one of the college's most celebrated alumni - who studied at the college from 1923 to 1926.
Lewis went on to be an award-winning artist, scholar and teacher who could count King Edward VIII as a fan and was awarded an MBE for his services to the art world.
He describes the art college in the 1920s as covering three floors with the ground floor devoted to architecture and crafts.
The second floor was the base for art, design and sculpture and was designed with huge, angled windows to allow as much light in as possible to create the best environment possible for the students.
He said: "On the enormous third floor was the antique room, which was divided into three units by large, thick green curtains.
"Here was taught lithography, drawing from the antique reproduction sculptures and, underneath a huge glass dome, the life room.
"Along the corridor to the life room there was a marvellous aviary where they kept rabbits and hedgehogs, anything for the students to paint and draw."
According to the University of South Wales, Newport, the building was in use up to 1996 as the Newport School of Art and Design.
In 1997 the property was granted Grade II listed status as a notable example of 20th century architecture in modern classic style.
However, the art school then relocated to the university's Caerleon campus and the building stood empty, sliding into semi-dereliction and attacked by arsonists.
But luckily it survived this turbulent chapter in its life.
In 2008, scaffolding went up and the project to save the empty building and transform it into 66 unique apartments began. It was completed in 2012.
According to property website Zoopla, one of the earliest sales of the apartments was in December 2012 when a one-bed sold for £81,999.
The most recent sale was in July 2019 when a one-bed flat found a new owner, who paid £95,000.
Now it's 2020 and there's an opportunity to have a nose around one of its flats, a two-bed that has just come onto the market.k
After marvelling at the classic 1920s exterior of the building, open the substantial original door and step into the communal entrance, hallway and central staircase.
This area has not changed significantly since the time of Stanley Lewis, protected by the property's Grade II listed status.
It's original Terrazzo stone flooring, parquet flooring, beautiful green, hand-crafted wall tiles and handsome staircase have all been renovated and restored.
The double-height space, arch doorways and circular internal windows all add to the initial grandeur of the property.
This particular two bedroom flat on the second floor is an example of thoughtful design utilising a building's original features.
The huge, angular windows that were once an integral part of the success of the artist studios on this floor are now a key feature of this apartment.
Instead of lighting the creation of an incredible piece of artwork, they now flood light into both floors of this duplex flat via the clever creation of a mezzanine gallery space; the wall containing the windows is not split but remains an impressive, double-height space.
The current owner has celebrated the building's previous life as an art college not only in their use of bold colours, patterns and prints within their interior design scheme, but also by showcasing artwork, particularly in the open-plan living space.
This area is the heart of this home, easily combining cooking, eating and relaxing within the generous space.
The space is lit by distinctive windows that also allow the owner to gaze out over the rooftops of the city and the river or even enjoy a spot of star gazing.
This apartment has an upside-down layout, which makes sense when the majority of the windows are located on the first floor where the most daylight is craved.
On the ground floor the two double bedrooms enjoy the light flowing down from the mezzanine level above but are also cosy spaces perfect for sleeping.
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