As I happen to be a cool cat born in Cardiff it was only reasonable that I should educate this wanderer resident who I find occupying my new home. I understand they left this wonderful city for some strange reason, and then returned after many years. Well, I suppose original errors can be overlooked when action is taken to rectify the stupidity! Anyway, I digress, and not for the last time I’m sure… so what should I begin my tenure of Juno’s View with? I am Bella, and as I’m 100% home grown today I’m going to let you in on another home grown gem… come with me on a stroll around the Millennium Centre.
Slinking my way down Lloyd George Avenue towards the Bay I can’t help but stop in my tracks as I take in the visual invitation drawing me towards this shiny shed…
‘In These Stones Horizons Sing’… whatever that is supposed to mean. Personally, I don’t give a bag of mouses’ tails for much of what goes on in the way of performances in this place, except the staging of ‘Cats’ of course. Oh, and possibly ‘The Lion King’, but that sounds a bit scary to me. As a sophisticated cat I understand how some of you humans get caught up in what you like to think of as ‘culture’, but for all of your opera, ballet and classical concerts, I am initially interested in the architectural wonder of the building itself.
This is a home grown building, designed by Jonathan Adams a local architect with Percy Thomas Architects, and made of Welsh materials throughout… the metals, slate, wood and glass. The part that first catches the eye is the great metal frontage, a bronze coloured dome clad in steel and treated with copper oxide to cope with the less than wonderful climate of Cardiff Bay (think rain, and add some; not conditions conducive for us self-respecting fur paraders).
Then there is the slate; five separate colours of Welsh slate each from a different Welsh slate quarry…
Another home grown eminence, Ivor Novello, seems impressed as he sits quietly taking in the ambience of the Bay, or is he distractedly looking over his shoulder scanning the area for other Cardiff cool cats?
Just as we can see on the outside so we see the same on the inside, a good use of natural materials in their natural condition. Bands of hardwood give the natural look, with oak, ash, beech, sycamore, alder, birch, chestnut and cherry wood from sustainable Welsh sources…
Metal dominates the reception area, but steel columns topped with lights also give an impression of tree-like structures within the wide open spaces. Clearly this is a home made statement of architectural intent, even though the site has a history of architectural diplomatic turmoil. A world leading Iranian female architectural cat (Zaha Hadid) was less than pleased to have won the original design competition but fail to get the financial backing to get her ideas built. Apparently she doesn’t want anything to do with Cardiff again… some cats just don’t know how to lose with grace!
As for my first post, I hope you found it as riveting as the covered entrance to the Millennium Centre. Riveting… get it!
Until we speak again I’m going to continue to be Bella, and you have my permission to continue being whoever you happen to be. Feel free to let me know what is man made in and around your life.