Nicholas Hare Architects has received planning permission for a scheme (pictured) to regenerate Cardiff Bay's Oval Basin. The basin, once an entrance to the dock system, is at the end of the new PFI-bid avenue from the city to the north, with the Wales Millennium Centre site to the east, the Sovereign Land Development to the west, and the newly 'Barraged' Cardiff Bay to the south.
NHA proposes to cover the basin with a timberdecked sloping floor linking ground level at the north with a new boardwalk beside the bay, and providing a theatrical public space of approximately 4200m 2. For large performances some 5000 people can be seated in an inner ring defined by 9m-high lighting columns, with an additional 5000 on the periphery, but the space will generally be left clear for informal use, with shallow stone steps on either side of the basin for casual seating.
A steel bridge will stand at the sea end of the basin, in the position of the old lock gates, while the city end will be marked by a 24m-high column and its well-like feeder pit. Water pumped to the top of the column will run continuously down one of its elevations, with display material explaining the basin's historic significance on the other. The entire structure is to be constructed in such a way that it can be removed without damaging the listed basin walls.
Nicholas Hare is giving a talk entitled 'Public Spaces: the Theatre of Every Day Life' on Tuesday 24 March at 18.30, at the RIBA.