University of Bangor Arts and Innovation Centre

  • © Gyuri Szabo
  • © Gyuri Szabo
  • © Gyuri Szabo
  • © Gyuri Szabo
  • © Gyuri Szabo
  • © Codi'r To
  • © Gyuri Szabo
  • © Keith Morris
  • © FinFoto / Gyuri Szabo

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award




Local Authority Area


Information about this scheme

Grimshaw’s design for the Bangor University Arts and Innovation Centre unites the university and the city of Bangor in a landmark scheme that cements the unique identity of the city whilst complementing the university’s heritage environment. Known as Pontio, the Welsh verb meaning ‘to bridge’, the centre physically bridges the university’s upper and lower campuses via a stepped arrangement of public terraces that connect and flow into an ‘internal street’. This ‘street’ stems from a newly forged visual connection between the 1920s Memorial Arch through to the imposing Grade I listed Main Arts Building. A grand picture window provides views back towards the city and the Grade II listed Bangor Cathedral. The Arts and Innovation Centre’s architectural expression is sculptural and elegant and conveys the activities within through a series of discreet volumes, tied together by a connecting foyer and circulation space that visually and physically links the building’s users. The resulting internal space is a fluid and lively environment with students and visitors engaging in performances and teaching across multi-purpose spaces. This building is designed not just for the university, but also for the wider community. There are many adaptable environments with a range of indoor and outdoor performance spaces, a 450-seat flexible theatre, black box, cinema, bar and coffee shop. A 500-seat lecture theatre straddles the adaptable theatre and complements social learning spaces, a student union and an innovation area for local businesses. Materials were chosen to reflect the building’s setting with natural stone clad volumes emerging from the hillside and integrating a series of external terraces. Opening to the public in the winter of 2016, the centre has since grown into a popular venue, catalysing the cultural and civic life of Bangor.





Bangor University

Main Contractor

Miller Construction

Structural Engineer


Civil Engineers


Landscape Architect


Project Manager


Cost Consultant

David Langdon

Acoustic Consultant


Theatre Consultant


Primary Use Class

Class D1c - Education