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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 November, 2003, 17:38 GMT
Protests over plan to replace centre
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Bilbao's spectacular Guggenheim Museum - the architect may design a Swansea building
The man behind the spectacular Guggenheim museum in Bilbao may leave his mark on Welsh architecture.

However, protesters are meeting in Swansea on Sunday in an attempt to save the current centre, closed when the council said they could not pay a 14m repair bill.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council's cabinet member for culture and recreation, said there is a possibility that world-famous architect Frank Gehry may come to work on the project.

"There's no reason why we couldn't attract the best," he added.

But at a public meeting being held at Swansea's Greyhound Stadium, in Fforestfach, protestors will try and save the current, but closed, leisure centre.

'Beyond repair'

"I have had numerous letters and emails from people who want to keep it open," said Swansea councillor and Liberal Democrat AM for South Wales West, Peter Black.

"There are legitimate questions to be asked about whether or not the council were maintaining the site properly.

"I think it is beyond repair but we need to know how it got into that state.

"The whole thing is going to cost a fortune, but why did we get into this situation on a building which is less than 30 years old."

The city are now looking for a private partner to develop a 35m replacement, which would include a conference centre and concert hall which it hopes will attract top performers.

Swansea Leisure Centre
Swansea Leisure Centre - closed due to 14m repair bill

To replace the centre, the council are taking advice from leading property designers CB Richard Ellis who are currently working with Frank Gehry on a similar project for Brighton and Hove council.

Eight companies have approached Swansea council with proposals for the site but they are not talking to any of them yet.

Mr Gehry has already unveiled his first building in the UK.

Unusual design

The Maggie's Centre at Ninewells Hospital, in Dundee, will help support cancer sufferers and their families.

Its unusual design bears Frank Gehry's signature features - none of its walls are straight and the concertinaed roof is made of stainless steel and timber.

Maggie's Centres help people with cancer, their carers, families and friends to manage the physical and emotional impact of the disease.

Mr Gehry was asked to design the building for the Dundee project. He was a close friend of Maggie Keswick Jencks, the founder of the Maggie's Centres.




SEE ALSO:
Investors sought for new centre
17 Nov 03  |  South West Wales
Swansea Leisure Centre to shut
13 Nov 03  |  South West Wales
Designer cancer centre opens
25 Sep 03  |  Scotland
Gehry: King of pop architecture
17 Aug 01  |  Entertainment


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