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CRAFTING THE DETAILS

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Richard Smith and Peter Roberts set up their two-man practice in Bristol in 1990. Their body of work is small - Richard Smith devotes part of his time to watercolour painting - but characterised by its attention to detail (see Credit on surgery AJ 5.5.93) and an interest in landscape. Peter Roberts worked as project architect for Lower Treginnis Farm (AJ 18.11.92), Castell Henllys Education Centre ( AJ 6.7.94) and the Welsh Wildlife Centre, Dyfed (AJ 17.11.94) before joining Richard Smith.

The visitor centre building is enriched with details, seen - and touched - from the moment you open the main entrance door. The pull handle is a stylised form of the building plan, cut and etched in stainless steel. WC logos at the tower entrance door are carved into the cast stone quoins. Outside the problem of an overhanging roof - what to do with the rainwater pipes - is solved by omitting them and substituting a large Cor-ten hopper at the end of the gutter which directs water into a gravel-covered gully. This quality of design won the building an RIBA Regional Award and an Eisteddfod Gold Medal in Architecture.

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