Central Square

Cardiff Council

Originally commissioned in 2010 directly by Cardiff Council, we were engaged to create a vision that would enable the Council to generate developer interest in this prominent city centre site.

This vision was to deliver the city a spectacular space that would impress visitors to the city. The brief was simple and comprised three components: create a place befitting a European capital city in front of the listed building of Cardiff Central train station; design a new bus station to replace the existing one but with a much more efficient layout; and deliver much needed Grade ‘A’ office development floorspace throughout. The study area included everything between the train station and Wood Street, and between the former planning department office site and the rear of St Mary Street properties.

At the heart of the redevelopment was the improvement of existing transportation links. We developed a detailed proposal for a new 14 bay bus station with and integrated transport hub, creating a vital link between all modes of transport. The public realm design was the glue that bound all the components together with a range of commercial buildings surrounding the plaza. The public realm was designed to create a vibrant impression on visitors arriving into Cardiff either by train or by bus, but would also function well on event days when up to 40,000 people could be expected to queue for trains. The commercial offer at the heart of the masterplan included a landmark 22 storey tower that would command views all the way down to Cardiff Bay.

As part of the commission, we engaged with a wide range of stakeholders including the Design Commission for Wales and the Cardiff Council Access Focus Group, local bus and rail operators, and the Principality Stadium, as well as officers from the Council’s own regeneration, transport, planning and urban design teams.

Having been engaged to create a vision that would enable Cardiff Council to generate developer interest in this prominent city centre site, the Council has since secured inward investment into Central Square with new development finally taking place on site.