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Welsh assembly building team waits for design brief

DETAIL DESIGN for the Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff is being rapidly thrashed out between architect Richard Rogers Partnership, engineer Ove Arup and members of the Welsh Office to meet the end of 2001 opening.

Welsh Secretary Ron Davies gave approval for the design on Tuesday. The next stage of architectural and engineering design is to be fast-tracked to meet a spring 1999 start date for the pounds10M project.

According to Rogers architect Ivan Harbour, the design approved is still at little more than concept stage. However, as it will be made from prefabricated modular elements, the building can be reconfigured, extended and cut back to meet the Assembly's needs with relative ease.

The onus is now on the client to finalise the brief. A Welsh Office spokesman said 'Time is a pressing consideration: we need to get cracking'.

Engineer Sean Walsh of Ove Arup said the single-storey building is economical and flexible in principle. Site preparation may prove a bigger undertaking, though. Harbour said ground on the filled-in dock site is varied. Piling may be required to provide enough stability for the lightweight structure.

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