Jonathan Adams (architect)

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Jonathan Adams
Born1961 (age 57–58)
Alma materWelsh School of Architecture
PracticePercy Thomas Architects
ProjectsWales Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre, slate, timber and copper cladding
WJEC Building, main facade

Jonathan Adams (born Caerleon, Newport, 1961)[1] is a Welsh architect particularly known for his landmark buildings in Cardiff.


Adams was born in Caerleon, South Wales and was educated at the Welsh School of Architecture in Cardiff and the Architectural Association in London.[1] He spent 15 years working in the practice of Will Alsop in London, before returning to Wales in 1998.[1] He later claimed he returned to Wales because London was "very inward-looking and self-regarding", while Wales was facing the "exciting time" of devolution during the late '90s.[1]

Adams joined Percy Thomas Architects and began work on the £106 million Wales Millennium Centre project in Cardiff Bay, which opened in November 2004 and for which he is best known.[2] Adams says the design was inspired by the architect of Cardiff Castle, William Burges[3] and the layered cliffs of the South Wales coast.[4] The building was designed to create a modern Welsh identity, using North Wales slate and Welsh timber cladding.[5]

In June 2004 Percy Thomas Architects were taken over by outsourcing company Capita. Adams agreed to remain with the company, though many of his colleagues left.[6]

Adams was President of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) from 2005 to 2007.[7] During his tenure, he expressed concern that the public often didn't understand good architecture.[8]

In 2005 he began work on a major refurbishment and reorganisation of Cardiff's Sherman Theatre. The building re-opened in February 2012.[9] Its facade used a distinctive metal cladding and the new entrance was relocated under a dramatic "eyelid".[10]

In February 2010 Adams' new headquarters building for the Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) was opened. It received criticism from the Wales branch of the Victorian Society, which likened it to an "upturned sandcastle".[11] Adams had designed it to be contemporary, clad in steel and eye-catching from the main road.[11]

Adams presented a BBC television documentary about the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, which was broadcast at the end of August 2017 on BBC4[12] and BBC2 Wales.

Notable projects[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Millennium Centre architect Jonathan Adams on the new Cardiff". WalesOnline. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  2. ^ Kenndy, Maev (27 November 2004). "Arts opening is moment of national pride for Wales". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Burges' influence on WMC creator". BBC News. 9 October 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Arts complex slate begins journey". BBC News. 15 January 2003. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  5. ^ Worsley, Giles; Christiansen, Rupert (10 February 2004). "Wales can be proud of its slate armadillo". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  6. ^ Gates, Charlie (24 September 2004). "Adams stays at Capita". Building Design. p. 4.
  7. ^ "Council Members" (PDF). Annual Review 2006. Royal Institute of British Architects. p. 12. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  8. ^ Rose, Steve (31 January 2007). "'It's just so tacky'". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  9. ^ Owens, David (2 February 2012). "New look Sherman Cymru revealed after facelift". WalesOnline. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  10. ^ Thomas, Marc (February 2012). "The Sherman Process". Plastik Magazine. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Hutchinson, Clare (10 April 2010). "Critics shocked "horrendous" new WJEC building is in line for an architecture award". WalesOnline. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Wednesday's best TV – Celebrity Masterchef; The Man Who Built America". The Guardian. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Theatre's £3.9m grant for refit". BBC South East Wales. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  14. ^ "Architectural Award for Tremough Campus, Penryn (press release)". Falmouth University. 5 May 2005. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  15. ^ Glancey, Jonathan (27 September 2004). "Inside the whale". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 April 2013.