The Senedd – Welsh National Assembly
The Senedd houses the debating chamber for the National Assembly of Wales, at Capital Waterside in Cardiff Bay. The building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Rogers who won an architectural competition to design the building. It was designed to be environmentally friendly with the use of renewable technologies and high energy efficiency.
The total cost of the building reached a staggering £69.6 million, almost six times over budget by the time it was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 1 March 2006. It has been awarded an “Excellent” certification by the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), the highest ever awarded in Wales, and was nominated for the 2006 Stirling Prize.
Source: National Assembly of Wales
Construction on the building was delayed by two years due to a dispute between Rodgers and the Welsh Assembly Government compounded by a change of contractors and changes to the project management structure.
The green features of the building include ground source heat pumps that use geothermal energy to heat the building. A Biomass boiler system has also been installed which uses recycled wood chips for heating. Additionally, rainwater is collected via the steel columns supporting the roof to supply the toilets and to wash the windows.
Source: Gordon Plant
The use of locally sourced construction materials was a priority for the construction. In total, 36% of all materials and labour costs were spent in Wales, with Welsh slate and Welsh oak being used extensively.
The Senedd is an open building into which you can walk, have a cup of coffee in the Oriel on the upper level, and go into the public galleries from the Neuadd on the centre level. It houses performers, singers, exhibitions and all sorts of activities, thanks to its status as a public building, it is open to everyone.
The sweeping arches symbolise clarity, openness and transparency. The funnel of the Oriel helps reflect natural light downwards into the Siambr from a glass lantern using a collection of aluminium pipes which cover the inside of the funnel. The tree-like shape of the funnel is intended to encourage visitors to meet and share ideas.
Most rooms are illuminated with natural light which floods in via the glass walls and skylights which also help encourage an open and transparent assembly.
Source: Robin Drayton