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Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 08:19 GMT
Flagship art gallery designer chosen
The former tram sheds in Cardiff
The sheds are used for the council's vehicle fleet
The designer chosen to draw up plans to convert a Cardiff tram shed into a modern art venue has been announced.

London-based Caruso St John Architects was picked from a shortlist of six to develop the proposals to change the Grade Two listed building into an exhibition stage called The Depot.

Its transformation into a public place will be a revelation

Adam Caruso, architect

The proposal is part of the city's bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The site, in the Grangetown area of Cardiff, is currently being used as a repair depot for the council's vehicle fleet.

Six architects had been shortlisted to redesign the site which could become the main venue for large scale international exhibitions.

But Caruso St John Architects, best known for the multi-award winning New Art Gallery and Public Square in Walsall as well as projects overseas, were awarded the appointment.

Adam Caruso from the firm said: "The Depot is a hidden secret near to the centre of Cardiff.

"Its transformation into a public place will be a revelation.

It's more of a case of what they wouldn't do to the building rather than a case of what they would do

Gordon Dalton, Cardiff 2008

"We are really excited to be given the opportunity to engage with this fantastic industrial structure and to be part of the team developing the new kind of visual arts space - part production floor and part art laboratory.

"Our work will be to make things possible and to allow The Depot to develop in unexpected directions," he added.

The cost of the project is estimated at 3.5m and the aim of the scheme is to rival the Tate Modern in London and the Baltic in Gateshead.

The annual cost of running the new gallery at the building which was built in 1902 is estimated at 1m.

International exhibitions

Despite several art galleries operating in Cardiff, there is no suitable venue for large international exhibitions since the closure of the Centre for the Visual Arts in 2000.

Gordon Dalton, visual arts coordinator for Cardiff 2008 said: "We were particularly impressed by Caruso St John and their genuine enthusiasm for The Depot.

"Obviously we were aware of their previous experience but it's more of a case of what they wouldn't do to the building rather than a case of what they would do," he said.

The launch of The Depot is expected in 2005.


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