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The Design Concept

Cross Section of the Senedd

The Architect’s vision behind the design was to create a building that rises out of the Bay engaging passers-by with an over-sailing roof that creates a place for people to gather and meet

The design of Senedd originates from sculpting the ground plane; the bay, to form the working spaces and sculpting the roof plane; the sky, to create the public space. The material enclosure between the two is as transparent as possible.

At the heart of the design is the wish to produce a building that symbolises an open democracy.  It has also been designed to make a significant contribution to sustainable development.

As part of the original design brief, the architect aimed to:

  • Generate a sense of open government and public accessibility
  • Provide a Quality Working Environment, a ‘fit for purpose’ building without being lavish.
  • Provide good access for people with disabilities
  • Respond Effectively to Change Over Time
  • Exploit Information Technology
  • Represent Value for Money, not just in the initial capital spend but in the ongoing “whole life” costs
  • Be a Good Neighbour by benefiting the local community and respecting and enhancing the existing environment in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act.
Sketch of the Senedd from the Pierhead building

The following principles were adopted when designing the building:

  • The design makes good use of the physical advantages of the waterside frontage.
  • The nature of the exceptional site drives the building form.
  • The juxtaposition of neighbouring buildings with great views across the Bay contrasts containment and openness. These forces are typical of the greatest urban spaces.
  • The juxtaposition of roof and plinth orients the building outwards to the Bay, symbolising its role, as a national building that will give identity to Wales.

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