ClwbIfor Bach’s Evolution: Nissen Richards Studio’s Vision

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In the heart of Cardiff, the legendary grassroots music venue, ClwbIfor Bach, is embarking on an ambitious expansion project that promises to redefine its identity while preserving its rich heritage. Designed by the acclaimed RIBA Award-winning architects, Nissen Richards Studio, this visionary project is set to create a contemporary and fully-accessible space that will not only enhance the venue but also align with its charitable objectives. In this article, we’ll delve into the exciting design concepts proposed by Nissen Richards Studio for this iconic music venue.

Preserving Heritage, Embracing Modernity

The foremost goal of Nissen Richards Studio‘s design is to maintain the unique character and charm of ClwbIfor Bach while future-proofing it for generations to come. The expansion includes the acquisition of an adjacent derelict site on Womanby Street, where the venue has stood proudly for 40 years. Cardiff Council’s commitment to preserving the city’s live music heritage led to the purchase of this land, which will be leased to ClwbIfor Bach for the project.

Creating a Vibrant Venue

The proposed revamped venue will span an impressive 1,270 square meters, offering improved facilities such as green rooms, expanded toilet capacity, new bars, offices, and workshops. This expansion will also accommodate higher-profile acts, ensuring that ClwbIfor Bach continues to be a focal point for musical talent in Wales.

A Space for Music Lovers

Nissen Richards Studio‘s design envisions the removal of the existing first floor, making way for a double-height performance space. This area will feature a standing area/dance floor accommodating 375 people, along with a wrap-around mezzanine balcony, resulting in a total capacity of 500. The venue will also have the capability to host two events simultaneously, with an additional 200-capacity space on the upper floor. This flexibility will enable intimate live music shows, events, exhibitions, and conferences, making the venue suitable for various occasions.

Architectural Aesthetics

Jim Richards, Director of Nissen Richards Studio, emphasizes the architectural treatment, which draws inspiration from Cardiff’s rich architectural history. The existing building will showcase a textured charcoal black render, while the new building will feature striking fired brickwork. The facade of the new building will be faceted, with a thin LED strip that visually separates the two structures, creating an engaging street presence. Patinated, galvanized steel cladding will unify both buildings, adding an industrial touch that resonates with the venue’s essence.

A ‘Fabric First’ Approach

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the project prioritizes functionality and sustainability. The interior of the venue will maintain a raw and rustic feel with brick finishes, ensuring it retains its character and soul as a proper gig venue. Intelligent systems will enhance thermal and acoustic performance, creating a comfortable environment for both performers and audiences.

Community and Education

The project extends beyond music programming, with plans for a new cloakroom and an education room that local schools can use as a practice space. This commitment to varied activities throughout the day and night reflects ClwbIfor Bach‘s dedication to its community.

The Future of ClwbIfor Bach

As this visionary project takes shape, ClwbIfor Bach is poised to expand its reach and impact on its charitable objectives. This includes supporting aspiring talents in various creative fields and contributing to the Welsh creative economy. The journey to secure funding for this transformation is still ahead, but the venue’s commitment to enriching the cultural landscape of Cardiff is unwavering.


With Nissen Richards Studio‘s innovative design concepts and ClwbIfor Bach‘s commitment to its community, the future looks bright for this iconic Welsh music venue. As it evolves to meet the needs of modern music enthusiasts while honoring its rich history, ClwbIfor Bach is set to become an even more vital hub for music and culture in Cardiff, further solidifying the city’s status as an internationally recognized music destination.

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