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Wales Millennium Centre gets green light

Percy Thomas Partnership's reworked £70.2 million Wales Millennium Centre won planning permission last week from Cardiff County Council after six months of consultation and design amendments.

The project has changed, mostly to do with the fact that at the scheme's original launch, there was no Richard Rogers Partnership-designed Welsh Parliament building scheduled to be built next door on Cardiff Bay.

Inside the building it was originally projected that besides tenants the Welsh National Opera, Diversions Dance Company, Urdd Gobaith Cymru and the Academi there would be speculative office space available. But the latest permission has a complex of residential apartments instead. Project architect Jonathan Adams said the 63 apartments would range from small single-tenancy flats to large luxury apartments and would contribute to keeping the building 'live' in the evenings.

The west face of the building is still constructed from the reclaimed spoil of roofing slate production, with most of the stone coming from working quarries in north Wales, but now a small amount will also come from an abandoned quarry in the Preseli mountains in the west. The building's core is the lyric theatre, with the foyers, auditorium and flytower all enclosed in the central volume, which has a skin of patinated stainless steel.

The next big thing to consider is the building's name-the working title of the Wales Millennium Centre will be replaced with a Welsh word or words, from which various branding-organisations are working. They are looking for something which has 'edge', can represent the building's disparate tenants and be understood - and pronounced - by the English.

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