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Welsh architecture risks becoming the 'design orphan of the UK' unless an independent commission for architecture and design is set up immediately, the Institute of Welsh Affairs warned last week. In a report written by a working group of architects, planners and surveyors, the Institute called on the Welsh Development Agency to appoint advisers on procuring better architecture and for the assembly's environment secretary, Sue Essex, to commit to raising design standards. The report also issued a thinly veiled attack on first secretary Rhodri Morgan for his proposal to downgrade the Richard Rogers Partnership design for a new £26.9 million assembly building. Assembly members were yesterday set to vote on whether to throw out RRP's initial design and replace it with a half-price £13.5 million scheme incorporating Crickhowell House.

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