Welsh Assembly Building Opens

7 02 2006

The Senate / Y Senedd, opened today in Cardiff.

Interestingly “The Senate” implies that it has all the powers thereof a parliament, sadly it doesn’t quite have that power, yet. Although judging by the vast majority of the Welsh it may not be so far fatched to conceed that one day it will.

^The entrance to the assembly is striking

^The cowl above the chamber rotates to ease circulation of air

^The building is filled with natural materials including wood and slate.
Of which comes from Wales, some of the wood itself is reclaimed.

^This mirrored cone can be lowered to alter light levels in the chamber

^Assembly Ministers meet in the chamber for the first time
Visitors will have unrestricted access on the main plinth level. They’ll be able to look down into the debating chamber, and watch their AM below.

Totally Green

The building was desigined with “green” principles in mind, resulting in one of Europes most organically green buildings to date. Loaded with energy saving, renewable energy and recycling features, here are just some of them:

  • The building can use the ground as a heat source.
  • Can use wood chips or pellets for the boiler
  • Rainwater can be collected via the huge steel coloumns supporting the roof to supply the toilets and wash the windows

^The Assembly building looks out onto Cardiff bay / Bae Caerdydd

The Price tag
The building cost more and more as time progressed the total cost came to a whopping £67M. At one point the building was left unfinished for two years due to a dispute between the Welsh Assembly government and Lord Rogers, The architect of the building.

The spiralling price tag and the 2 year gap angered many who believed that the assembly building was a waste of tax payers money.

^The debating chamber, ready for the computer panels to be installed

I personally love the organic quality of this building, and I feel it reflects the modern Wales today. Time will tell if the price tag was worth it though…

Related Resources:

Welsh assembly building




5 responses

2 03 2006
Linda Joseph

I think the Assembly building is as uninteresting as the Assembly itself. Despite the talking-up of the whole thing by the media, I honestly don’t think Welsh people are at all interested in it – and the Assembly only has itself to blame – it’s an exclusive club – mostly ex-local councillors. In Wales, that means ordinary people are excluded from the process and generally not encouraged to be involved.

I am Welsh and worked/lived in England for almost 20 years before returning – what a shock that was!! I never realised what a closed, inward looking place my country was/is! People moan about things but don’t complain officially because there is a belief that nothing will change. Maybe the Taffia does rule?

3 03 2006

I’m Welsh myself, Even more suprisingly I have been born and raised in the most Anglacised part of Wales possible (south east). Despite the fact that I live in a a part of Wales that for centuries has been claimed by both sides (despite the fact that Welsh princes/kings owned these lands), I consider myself deeply patriotic. I am interested in the Assembly, to be more specific the potential that it has. Wales has not had it’s “seat of power” if you will for centuries, not since the time of Owain Glyndŵrs parliament.

This initself is a massive achievement for the Welsh people. Despite the fact that it isn’t a parliament (of which I trully hope one day it will), I can settle for an assembly that has the potential to one day become “Y Senedd” in all ways the name implies. I think devolution will work wonders for Wales, and the more we have the more democratic our nation (and I do mean Wales as an individual nation) will become.

Wales has always been the proverbial bitch to the British government (Although the term “British” is highly illogical because it implies that all British countries have equal say through fair and democratic means, which it doesn’t) England has always had the overruling decision on all things concerning Wales, either through exploitation of water reserves, forced relocations and the theft of coal wealth (Which Wales barely saw any rewards from). Why would people wish to become involved in an assembly that would be overruled by westminster? Give the assembly parliamentary power and I think we would see a vast change in Wales. Although I doubt we’ll be seeing that happen, what with the iron fisted centralists around.

Also, you have to take into context massive historical events that have led upto this, it’s to easy to say “let the past die” or “that was over a 100 years ago”, because contrary to those opinions, reprecussions from undemocratic, unethical events have shaped and guided the Welsh perspective, so please take that into consideration when you mention how you “Never realised what a closed, inward looking place my country was/is”, that Wales and Welsh ideals have ALWAYS been decided from outside our own country. Yes, how very democratic.

Britain is not a country, it is a political construct.

12 07 2007
Reveal Me The Secret

Very interesting post there! Keep-up the great work…

27 02 2008
A European amble through modern architecture « Bolsoversion

[…] back to Richard Rogers. His design for the Welsh Assembly (or Senedd) building has been embraced by some and not by others. (The BBC has a picture gallery here) I’ve been in it a few times and I […]

3 09 2010
Matic Smith

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