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Wednesday, October 14, 1998 Published at 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK

UK Politics

Architects show off Assembly designs

How the Welsh Assembly may take shape

The Welsh public is being given their first chance to see shortlisted designs for the new National Assembly building.

The six architects competing for the £11.5m project have put their drawings and models on show at four different locations.

The shortlist was chosen after an international contest and the designs will be judged a panel headed by former Prime Minister Lord Callaghan.

[ image: This red-domed building is nicknamed
This red-domed building is nicknamed "the alarm button"
Anxious to avoid repeating the controversy which rocked the world of architecture and ultimately scuppered plans for the Cardiff Bay Opera House, the Welsh Office mounted exhibitions of the designs to help test public reaction.

Most of the six use large quantities of glass and dramatic curves.

In one design, Cardiff Bay's maritime history is featured in the striking shape of a ship prow ploughing through waves.

Coiled dragon

Another design resembles a grass-covered hill and there are two rival circular projects. A coiled dragon forms one scheme, while another architect wants to create a building based on large slabs of rock.

[ image: Another contender for the Assembly]
Another contender for the Assembly
Malcolm Parry, of the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University, said: "What strikes me immediately is the high quality of the field.

"All six have great and exciting ideas well worth building to give the Welsh Assembly a very individualistic and forward-looking home which will have a personality of its own."

The winner will be revealed on Friday and the chosen design will be built on the waterfront at Cardiff Bay.

The Assembly building is due to be complete by early 2001. The 60 members elected to the Assembly next May will have a temporary home in Crickhowell House, a relatively anonymous-looking nearby office block.

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