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From the age of 10, Nicholas Colwyn Foulkes spent his school holidays in his grandfather's Daimler touring the building sites of Wales.

Sidney Colwyn Foulkes, an architect and contemporary of Portmeirion architect Clough Williams-Ellis, helped to redefine public housing. His social housing project at Beau Maris attracted pilgrimages from the likes of Oscar Niemeyer, Lewis Mumford, Roberto Burle Marx and Aneurin Bevan.

'The list of those who came to visit my grandfather reads like a Who's Who of architecture, ' says Colwyn Foulkes. 'They were quite an eccentric bunch. I particularly remember Frank Lloyd Wright. He arrived wearing a Buster Keaton hat and carrying a cane. There is a photograph of me sitting on his knee.'

Colwyn Foulkes' parents were also respected architects. His mother, Elizabeth, was awarded an MBE for services to architecture, and his father won various Civic Trust awards and national building awards. Though Colwyn Foulkes now runs the family business from London, he has not lost his links with Wales, and the practice still has an office in Colwyn Bay.

And he feels a strong sense of Welsh identity and commitment to his roots, speaking passionately about the state of architecture in Wales: 'I think it's a disaster what has happened with the Welsh Assembly. It makes me feel ashamed to be Welsh. I cannot believe what a shambles they have made of it. Richard Rogers is no doubt furious.'

And he adds: 'It is really important that Wales gets some decent architecture. The problem is that the economy is so weak.

There needs to be a much stronger governance - the people who made such an appalling decision over the Assembly are the ones who are running the country.'

Colwyn Foulkes recently went back to his old school, Rydal, in Colwyn Bay, to oversee a millennium building project to merge the girls' and boys' schools.

The school dates back to the 1880s, with the original buildings built by his grandfather, and many other key buildings built by his father.When he took on the job, the school was planning a whole raft of new buildings. His solution was to reuse the existing stock rather than starting anew.

The practice's latest Welsh project, in its very early stages, is a development of Conwy

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