What is Welsh Architecture?

This question is posed by RIBA, both in their Journal this month and in exhibition going on now until April 9 at the RIBA Gallery in London.

Projects include:
National Assembly of Wales (pdf) by Richard Rogers
Wales Millennium Centre by Percy Thomas Partnership

and others by:

Dewi-Prys Thomas
Maxwell Fry
Alex Gordon
Future Systems
Foster and Partners
Wilkinson Eyre
Richard Murphy
Welsh architecture is a subject that interests me since my mother is from Barry, a small, seaside town near Cardiff, the Capital of Wales. RIBA seems to take the position that contemporary architecture is under-represented in Wales, though this is changing as these new projects take shape. That might be the case if my weekly page is any indication: only one project from Wales is featured, a Visitor's Center at Caerphilly Castle by Davies Sutton Architecture.

Missing image - caerphilly1.jpg

Personally I think if Wales wants its own national identity expressed by architecture, it needs to look beyond the high-tech style embraced by England (London in particular) that is already found (with varying degrees of success) in projects like Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. A more appropriate aesthetic may lean towards heavier, masonry structures and organic responses to the local landscape, like the Visitor's Center above. Like the Welsh language itself, the built and natural landscape is unique but susceptible to powerful outside forces, so effort must be taken to both preserve its unique history and foster a unique cultural sensibility rooted in its place.