This summer saw the launch of Revealing Wales, a set of short films I co-produced with Lyndon Jones Media. Commissioned by the RSAW, this first series of films celebrates the richness, quality and diversity of Welsh architecture, from the historical to the contemporary. They feature five distinguished figures each writing about a structure they love.
Architect and Richard Parnaby discussing the breakthrough achievement of the Severn Bridge
Bridges are so much more than simply physical structures. In addition to their very obvious practical purpose, they represent a commitment to long-term human collaboration and friendship: and few bridges speak of this more clearly than the Severn Bridge. In the opening film of this series, architectural historian Richard Parnaby reflects not only on the sheer elegance and engineering brilliance of the Severn Bridge, but on how it also realised a long-cherished ambition to create a new economic and social link between England and south Wales.
Menna Richards OBE, ex-Controller of BBC Wales, considers the confluence of architectural and political ambition that created the Senedd
Home to the Welsh Parliament, and standing at the heart of Welsh Government, the Senedd occupies an impressive position on the Cardiff Bay waterfront adjacent to the Wales Millennium Centre and Grade 1 listed Pierhead building. Designed by Richard Rogers & Ivan Harbour of Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, the Senedd utilises openness in its design, articulating the ideals of democratic transparency and accountability for which it stands.
Architect Michael Davies analysing the history of Tredegar House
Tredegar House is one of the architectural wonders of Wales, and one of the most significant late seventeenth century houses in Britain. Set in handsome landscaped grounds just outside the city of Newport in south east Wales, Tredegar House is a stunning example of crafts-led architecture. In this film, conservation architect Michael Davies unpicks the complex layers of architectural history present at Tredegar, and discusses evolving approaches to the conservation and maintenance of this magnificent and unique building.
Architect Elinor Gray-Williams on the village of Trawsfynydd, where Yr Ysgwrn (birthplace of Welsh poet Hedd Wyn) sits across a valley from Sir Basil Spence’s massive brutalist nuclear power station.
In the quiet north Wales village of Trawsfynydd are two utterly contrasting buildings: one a modest farmhouse tucked into a hillside, the other a colossal brutalist nuclear power station looming over a lakeside. Both have fascinating architectural stories to tell, and in the final film of this series architect Elinor Gray-Williams evaluates the two buildings, examines their significance, and reflects on how attitudes to architectural appreciation and conservation inform our approaches to structures of historical significance.
Gillian Clarke, ex-National Poet of Wales, celebrating Cardiff’s Civic Centre
Gillian Clarke reflects on the magnificence of Cardiff’s Civic Centre. Set in nearly 60 acres of parkland in the heart of the Welsh capital, and built in the 1920’s by the firm of Lanchester, Stewart, and Rickards (who went on to design Westminster Central Hall) Cardiff’s Civic Centre is arguably the finest in the British Isles. Gillian Clarke considers the significance of great public architecture on a city and its people, and reads her poem, ‘Architect’.