Looking up at our architectural marvels; You might not think your town or city centre is filled with architectural gems. But a look up to the heavens might quickly change your mind, reports Robin Turner.
But now a campaign has begun for the beautiful angels, demonic gargoyles and other ornate features skilfully carved into the upper floors of some our most familiar buildings to get the recognition they richly deserve.
Cara Courage, an art and architecture consultant from Brighton, wants the often ignored architecture of the upper reaches of Wales' high streets to become the centre of attention.
She has begun a LookUp campaign in her English seaside home, where she believes the architectural gems just above people's usual gaze are equally ignored.
And she is now determined Wales should have its own LookUp initiative.
Arriving in Cardiff on a business trip this month she was amazed at the quality of architecture which largely goes unnoticed throughout the capital.
She said: "LookUp is an architecture and photography project with the aim of getting people to 'look up' and see what is around them.
"We do it when we go somewhere as a tourist, but perhaps less so in the place we call home, our gaze firmly down, on our way somewhere, thinking about our everyday things."
Earlier this year, the 38-year-old took photos of the city's most picturesque buildings and began posting them to a dedicated Facebook page called LookUp, which already hosts many pictures of her home city.
It has also led to surge in interest in building design and architecture.
She said: "The idea of LookUp is to really notice what is around you. Sometimes you can forget the nice little quirks of the place you're living in - you're too busy trying to get from A to B in your busy day.
"LookUp challenges you to experience your own town or city as if it were your first visit, so instead of looking at the pavement and thinking about your destination, look up and take in the architecture."
Mary Wrenn, director of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales, yesterday welcomed the idea.
She said: "It's true that many people simply focus on shopfronts or other ground-floor features of a building when the upper floors may be wonderful to look at.
"There are examples all across Wales and to get people looking up and taking note of what's up there could spark a really widespread interest in architecture."
In Cardiff where she works, the head of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales pointed out a couple of examples.
She said: "The first floor of the Edwardian arcades in Cardiff - especially the architectural trick of using mirrors to reflect the intricate roof and make the space seem twice as long.
"And the top of the shop which was recently Gap - for decades I think it was Marments department store - in Queen St - has exquisite Venetian style windows - quite ornate."
Dan Benham, president of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales, said LookUp was a "really fantastic idea".
He said: "To get people to look up and realise there is more to city centres than just the ground floor can only be a good thing.
"For instance we tend to building housing estates further and further into our green countrysides.
"But just by looking higher in our existing town and city centres we can see a huge amount of space that is not used.
"Our attention is generally down on the ground when we're walking through our urban environment, but there is every kind of architecture above us, often neglected.
"What I'd love if for these often good looking places to have new uses... if they were lived in, people would naturally look after their homes so tackling the problem of neglect and it could even solve the problem of having to build on our green spaces."
While Ms Courage's only tie to Wales is her Swansea-born grandmother, she wants more people across Wales involved with the LookUP project.
She said: "As I travel to other places I take my camera with me and take LookUps from there too. So far I have Margate, Dublin, Liverpool, Manchester, Prague, and now, Cardiff.
"I've created an 'urban hike' activity to work with local people to create their own LookUp project and I'd love to come back to Cardiff with this and get more LookUps using people's local knowledge."
When she's not busy setting up architectural projects like LookUp, Ms Courage is a leading member of Threshold, an architecture, built environment and arts collective.
Places in Cardiff with impressive upper-storey facades include House of Fraser on St Mary Street, the Sandringham Hotel on St Mary Street, the New Theatre on Greyfriars Road and McDonald's on Queen Street.
In Swansea, one of the best examples of a building with spectacular upper floors is the Waterstones book store, next door to the now demolished Empire Theatre.
Waterstones is based in what was the attractively designed Carlton Cinema de Luxe, which first opened its doors to the public on January 31, 1914.
The building boasts bay glass windows and ornate stonework on the first and second floors The Carlton Cinema was closed by the Rank Organisation in 1977 and remained in the dark until the interior auditorium was demolished and replaced by the bookstore.
The building is now Grade II listed and its retained facade also has the same status.
CLICK ON To see even more of our hidden gems from on high visit...
The Clock Tower above the library in Barry
Left, The Bank Statement on Wind Street, Swansea. Right, above the shops on Caer Street, Swansea, and above, WH Smith on Queen Street, Cardiff
High Street Arcade on St Mary Street, Cardiff; Dempseys on Castle Street, Cardiff; New Theatre on Greyfriars Road, Cardiff; Waterstones on Oxford Street, Cardiff; The Roofline above the Nationwide Building Society in Holton Road, Barry, Pizzatorium on Wind Street Swansea