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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 October 2005, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Burges' influence on WMC creator
Cardiff Castle
The redesigned castle was one of Burges' creations
The man who designed the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) in Cardiff has paid tribute to the architect who helped fashion Victorian Cardiff.

Jonathan Adams said architect William Burges had influenced his design for the award-winning centre.

Mr Adams was opening an exhibition in Cardiff on Burges, who designed parts of Cardiff Castle and the fairytale Castell Coch nearby.

Mr Adams said he had attempted the same "clarity of vision" at the WMC.

The exhibition marking the depth of the London-born architect's contribution to Victorian Cardiff opened at the weekend in the city's Old Library.

'Manifest beauty'

The exhibition also focuses on Burges' influence on other cities, including Cork Cathedral, and his own Tower House in London, now owned by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.

As well as being an architect, Burges (1827-81) also designed furniture, stained glass and sculpture.

Castell Coch
Castell Coch is among Burges' most famous buildings

Mr Adams said he had grown up with Burges' Welsh castles and been "entranced" by the Gothic Revivalist architecture, particularly at Castell Coch.

But, he said, the masterpieces never once formed part of his training at the Welsh School of Architecture in the late 1970s "other than as an example of where architecture had gone wrong - before Modernism has put it right".

Mr Adams said: "How could something of such manifest beauty something that had been conceived and constructed with such clarity, such precision and such care - how could that be simply disregarded by the architectural orthodoxy?

He added: "How could it be overlooked? How could it be dismissed as a 'folly'?"

Mr Adams said that when he moved back to Wales in 1998 to work on the WMC in Cardiff Bay, he spent time reacquainting himself with the country because he wanted to building's design to be drawn from his experiences here.

Wales Millennium Centre
Jonathan Adams designed the Wales Millennium Centre

It was not long before he revisited Castell Coch and found himself completely entranced again, but also "hugely impressed by the clarity of expressive vision and by his (Burges') immense technical virtuosity".

The exhibition is the last in a series of Burges events organised by Cardiff Castle and the city's council to mark Cardiff's 100th birthday and 50 years as a capital in 2005.

The event has been staged with the help of nearly 45,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding.

Mr Adams, meanwhile, is working on the second phase of the award-winning WMC which includes a rehearsal room for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

He is also working on separate commissions for Cardiff's Sherman Theatre and the Welsh Joint Educational Committee.

The Burges exhibition runs until 28 October at the Old Library, in the Hayes, Cardiff.

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