Pontio is a pleasure to traverse
Grimshaw for University of Bangor
Contract value: Confidential
In Bangor ‘town and gown’ are separated by a steep hill and the A5 trunk road. The old Main Arts Building dominates the skyline, high above the town. Its new neighbour, the Arts and Innovation Centre, is known by its Welsh name, Pontio, which means a bridging. The centre’s objective is to bring the town and university together culturally, linguistically and topographically.
Tall planes of diffused glass slide through and between the stone-clad blocks. This is a compelling sculptural assemblage that invites curiosity while giving little away about the building’s contents. Inside, the principal public facilities are the flexible theatre and cinema. There are also seminar and lecture rooms, creative workshops, social learning areas and the student union. Visitors ascend a spectacular, crevasse-like atrium girdled by sweeping balcony ledges offering fine views. At the top it is a short final climb to the terrace of the old Main Arts Building. Pontio is a pleasure to traverse.