Canolfan S4C Yr Egin – the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s new creative and digital centre – was opened officially yesterday by the Rt. Hon. Carwyn Jones, AM, First Minister of Wales.  First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said:
“We are pleased to be backing this project which will see an innovative hub for the Creative Industries being established in Carmarthen. Yr Egin very much supports both the Welsh Government and S4C’s vision to grow our creative industry whilst also developing the local economy.
“Our investment in Yr Egin is part of our commitment to deliver better jobs closer to people’s homes and also to deliver quality Welsh speaking jobs in our heartlands which will help us meet our goal of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.”
Having opened to the public earlier this autumn, Yr Egin is already establishing itself at the heart of the University’s Carmarthen campus providing opportunities for the creative industries, students and staff as well as the local community, to create, learn and enjoy its state-of-the-art facilities. The Centre, which includes an auditorium; editing suites; a large performance area, and a café, will offer a varied programme of events, workshops, talks and screenings for members of the public as well as those working in the creative and digital industries.
With S4C as the main anchor tenant, Yr Egin is also home to a range of companies working in the creative industries including multi-media publishing and digital technology; digital education; video production and photography; post production; graphic design; translation and sub-titling as well as financial management for the creative industries. They include: Boom, Gorilla, Atebol, Big Learning Company, Captain Jac, Asset Finance Solutions, Carlam, Highly, Lens 360, Moilin, Optimwm, and Trywydd.
Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor, said:
“I am delighted that Canolfan S4C Yr Egin has already established itself at the heart of the creative community in Carmarthenshire. We have worked in partnership with S4C, Carmarthenshire County Council, Welsh Government and the Swansea Bay City Deal to deliver an iconic centre that will serve the needs of Wales. In developing Yr Egin, the University was mindful of the need to create an innovative centre that would strengthen digital infrastructure in rural Wales. Yr Egin provides an opportunity to maximise the economic, linguistic and social value of attracting S4C to relocate its headquarters to Carmarthenshire through establishing a creative and digital cluster to co-locate with the channel. The vision was to develop a centre that will reflect commercial best practice within the creative sector linked to the UWTSD’s bilingual provision and to create an accelerator that will incorporate the key components of a sustainable, highly productive and competitive hub that will contribute to the creative and digital economies of Wales and the UK.”
Carys Ifan, Director of Canolfan S4C Yr Egin added:
“It’s been only eight weeks since the building was handed over to us and in that time, 55 members of S4C staff are now working from Yr Egin and 10 companies have taken up residency on the second floor. Since September, S4C have hosted a very successful Viewers’ Evening; hundreds of local school children have taken part in workshops and the Creative Carmarthenshire network, established as part of Yr Egin Engagement Project, supported by LEADER funding, has met to explore digital opportunities. We’re therefore delighted to see the realisation of our vision of developing a centre that will inspire the creative community as well as creating a hub where members of the community can experience and enjoy Welsh medium and bilingual activities.”
S4C moved into its new headquarters on the first floor of Yr Egin in September and is the main anchor within the development. Huw Jones, Chair of S4C said:
“The move to yr Egin is an important milestone for S4C. We are confident this historic relocation will be a catalyst to support employment and the Welsh language in West Wales. The state of the art facilities and desirable location make it an attractive place to work. We are pleased at the number of high quality jobs we have already been able to offer and also look forward to working closely with our future co-tenants.”
Carmarthenshire County Council has also been a key partner and has worked closely with the University on the development of Canolfan S4C Yr Egin.
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Carmarthenshire County Council Leader, said:
“Canolfan S4C Yr Egin is an iconic development that will further put Carmarthenshire on the map as a county that embraces the creative industries.
“The relocation of S4C’s headquarters to the building and the number of additional tenants who have already moved in speaks volumes for the development’s quality and vision.
“Along with other ongoing or planned regeneration projects in Carmarthenshire, Canolfan S4C Yr Egin will create employment opportunities, benefit the nearby community and attract even more investment, which will lead to broader benefits for the wider City Region, too.”
Canolfan S4C Yr Egin is due to be part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal – a £1.3 billion investment in 11 projects across South West Wales, providing a £1.8 billion boost to the economy and creating 10,000 jobs. Subject to business case approvals, the City Deal will be funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public and private sectors.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Lead Swansea Bay City Deal Leader, said: “It’s fantastic to see a project due to be part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal open for business.
“Canolfan S4C Yr Egin is a terrific example of ongoing City Deal work that will combine in coming years to create close to 10,000 well-paid jobs and give the regional economy a £1.8 billion boost.”
The internal layout of the 3,700 square metre building is focused around a public foyer and atrium that overarches the three floors. There is a specific focus on broadcasting and performance on the ground floor, with S4C based on the first floor and a range of companies from the creative industries based on the second floor.
The design team behind Yr Egin was a partnership between Carmarthenshire-based Rural Office for Architecture (ROA) and BDP (Building Design Partnership), an international company of architects, engineers and designers, with local architect, Niall Maxwell leading on the project.
“This building was designed as a vessel for creativity, to be shaped by the media and digital creatives working and studying in Wales,” says Niall Maxwell.
“It provides a fantastic opportunity for academia, industry and the Welsh language community to come together in this rural heartland to nurture and develop talent”
Nick Fairham, architect director at BDP’s Bristol studio adds:
“Making truly creative space for truly creative people has been a hugely exciting and rewarding project for us at BDP. Building connections and collaboration lies at the heart of the design, offering a light, bright central atrium that unites the building’s spaces, from the entrance hall and auditorium to the studio and office spaces, and connects the people who use it.
“The dynamic collaboration between the University, S4C and the region’s digital and creative industries is represented under the theme of ‘trinity’ – and expressed through three primary styles of material: a vibrant, reflective layer at the highest levels, over a translucent, intermediate layer that connects to a solid plinth at ground level. We hope Yr Egin will help nurture collaboration and innovation for generations to come.”
The main contractor for Yr Egin were Kier Group plc who were responsible for managing the detailed and technical design of the building as well as the construction process.
During the build, 19 Welsh Contractors were used; 90,000 man hours were spent on site and on average of 40 people were on site for the 78 weeks of the build.
Jason Taylor, operations director, Kier Construction, said: “We are delighted to have worked in partnership with University of Wales Trinity Saint David and S4C on the successful delivery of the Canolfan S4C Yr Egin project. Throughout the scheme we have worked closely with our supply chain to provide work placements, apprenticeships, career and training opportunities both on site and in the office. We are extremely proud of the finished building and this project will be a legacy for the future”
For further information, please email or follow Canolfan S4C Yr Egin on Facebook and @yr_egin on Twitter.