Richard Rogers' ode to Wales

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  • ODE  1. A lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner, written in varied or irregular meter and expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion. 2. A poem meant to be sung.

    Many of you will know that I grew up in Wales. That’s Old South Wales, rather than New South Wales. The land of song.  ‘We’ll keep a welcome in the hillside, we’ll keep a welcome in the vales, this land you knew will still be singing, when you come home again to Wales....’ Sigh.

    This Christmas I’ll be going home for Christmas in Wales. We are taking our daughter home to the land of song for the very first time.

    So it seems kinda fitting to share a special bit of Wales with you today. To share with you a building whose structure ebbs and flows with the songs of Wales, encapsulating the heart and soul of its nation.


    The election of the Welsh National Assembly, or The Senedd as it is called in Welsh, the creation of which was approved by a referendum in 1999, was a turning point in the history of Wales. For such a historical occasion, a landmark building was to be built in the docklands of Cardiff. Lord Richard Rogers stepped forward.


    Lord Rogers is perhaps best known for his work on the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Lloyd's building and Millennium Dome both in London, and the European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg. But it is the Welsh Assembly Building with its highly progressive environmental agenda, which has brought Lord Rogers much recognition as he established new benchmarks and standards for public buildings in Britain.

    The building maximises natural daylight and ventilation to reduce energy usage. It uses the ground as a heat source and wood chips or pellets for the boiler. Rainwater is also collected via the steel columns supporting the roof to supply the toilets and to wash the windows. It is said that its renewable energy systems will reduce running costs by up to half.

    The National Assembly of Wales has become a symbol for so much more than Wales’ legislative independence. Lord Rogers says, ‘It is a statement of faith. Embodying democratic values of openness and participation.’.  But for me, it symbolises all that is Wales. It is an ode to a passionate nation.

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    References: www.richardrogers.co.uk