National Assembly for Wales
Proud winner of the Queen's Award for Enterprise 2015

National Assembly for Wales

  • Client / National Assembly for Wales
  • Sector / Government & Local Authority
  • Architect / Richard Rodgers Partnership
  • Main Contractor / Taylor Woodrow
  • Location / Cardiff
  • Products / Roofing
  • Value / £1.2m
  • Completed / -

Not only a significant political landmark, the new home for the Welsh Assembly has also quickly become an iconic feature of the Cardiff Bay skyline thanks to its visually simplistic yet technically complex roof design.

Comprising six adjoining ‘torri’ shaped domes, one of which descends to enclose the debating chamber below, the roof of the Assembly building is completed by the addition of one of the world’s largest free-rotating wind cowls at the apex of the chamber.

The use of 3D design software was vital to the successfully delivery of the project and in particular, was fundamental in establishing the installation process to achieve the striking hyperbolic curve of the roof domes. Created by curving straight sheets around a helix, detailed 3D drawings and models illustrated that in order to realise the curve design, each one of the 3000m² roof sheets had to be of a different size and curve angle. The accuracy of the process also allowed all of the panels to be continuously manufactured and by identifying the installation requirements prior to the start of work, this time saving process also proved to be extremely cost-effective.

The architect’s complicated vision of creating a ‘floating roof’ concept within the Assembly’s debating chamber also relied heavily on Lakesmere’s technical expertise and ‘problem solving’ capabilities. Owing to the concave ‘wave shape’ structure, it was essential for the rainwater down pipes to be positioned in the centre of the roof, through the underside of the debating chamber, to allow free drainage. Lakesmere therefore designed a secondary steelwork layer so that the down pipes could be positioned outside the building line. Close collaboration with the steel frame installers and main contractor Taylor Woodrow ensured the roof worked as a whole and that the end result is truly spectacular.

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