OUR EXPERTISE

At Powell Dobson, one of Wales’ largest independent architectural practices, our staff are dedicated to the design and delivery of high quality, sustainable buildings. With over 50 professionals operating across 3 sector specialist studios, we pride ourselves in the quality and experience of our staff. Whilst architecture is our core discipline, we have developed areas of expertise to support and enhance the design and technical delivery of our projects.

powell dobson

Architecture

We have extensive experience in the design of a wide range of building types and sectors, from retail and leisure, through to schools, further/higher education, health and all types of residential and mixed-use development and regeneration.

We firmly believe that buildings should be grounded in their response to context, climate and topography and, by adapting to these contextual factors, we can create sustainable, resilient solutions that fully embrace our commitment to innovative and sustainable design.

Sustainability & Innovation

Embedded in every aspect of the design.

Powell Dobson have a proven track record in the design and delivery of sustainable buildings established over the past 20 years. In regard to residential we have experience in delivering net zero homes and, with AECB now being accepted as an alternative measure to EPCA for affordable housing, our registered AECB certifiers and modellers are currently working on our first AECB Carbonlite project for Wates in Cardiff.

Powell Dobson have designed over 48 no. BREEAM Excellent education schemes including the Institute of Life Sciences and 3 no. BREEAM Outstanding projects including our carbon neutral Tata Education Centre.

PassivHaus

At Powell Dobson, with our commitment to the green agenda and following several years of delivering PassivHaus schemes over a variety of sectors, the importance of getting the structure of the project progression and data captured in place has proved to be key, in delivering successful projects.

We have a growing Team of Passivhaus experts led by Dr Antony Davies and our Director of Sustainability and Innovation, Oli Henshall and recently qualified Project Architect Arwel Hughes, who are driving the agenda for passive standards and ensuring the latest industry trends have been calculated and actioned, ensuring the practice is always at the sharp end of innovative design solutions.

Powell Dobson’s understanding and experience of detailing and complex material interfaces is utilised during the pre-construction stages of any PassivHaus project we are involved in. Our Passivhaus Designers peer review early design concept work internally, to ensure the foundations of specification building and drawing packages are aligned with the requirements of PassivHaus and carbon requirements.

Biophilic Design

Biophilia refers to the fundamental tendency of human beings to be attracted to nature. We became interested in Biophilia-driven design through our Biophilic Living project in Swansea, where our vision was to create a template for sustainable urban living that encouraged us to think and act differently, to be aware of our impact on the planet and reconnect with nature. The resulting scheme brings a common purpose and identity to forge and sustain a community and its socio-ecosystem. Shared goals and ideas extend to a shared living and working experience improving general mental health and specifically addressing loneliness.

Biophilic design enables and promotes innovative decentralized Infrastructure systems and a holistic waste strategy by focusing on small scale networks designed to be more resilient and to reduce pressure on the wider city infrastructure.

Buildings as living structures are designed to produce energy and nutrients, clean air, and water; and use and transform waste in cyclic systems. The challenge is to close the circles as much as possible.

Placemaking

As a practice we are experienced at delivering best practise and innovative approaches to placemaking.

  • We are a signatory to Design Commission for Wales Placemaking Charter.
  • We partner with Cardiff Council and Wates to deliver the core principles of UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative as part of the Cardiff Partnering housing programme. Designing new neighbourhoods and regenerating existing ones using these principles to ensure that our new and reimagined places consider the needs of future generations.
  • We are committed to using the RIBA social value toolkit on our projects, this process uses a pre and post development engagement process with existing communities to measure the impact of Good Design and placemaking on the health well-being of a community, allowing us to learn from and develop our approach to placemaking.
  • We are committed to early community engagement, good placemaking begins with understanding of a place, its technical characteristics but also the lived experience of its existing community. This helps to support our approach to placemaking which is based on the principle of Social Architecture- exploring opportunities for connection, recognising that sustainable communities are not simply built, they grow from shared experience and that shared experience happens in shared spaces.

We explore each placemaking project from the perspective of 3 themes, although how we consider them is unique to each project. How places function is not independent and must be considered in the context of the wider area, and the character of the surrounding urban fabric.

Life – What happens here? The quality of a place comes from how people interact with it, it is formed over time by the gradual transformation of it in use and it should, by design, be for everybody.

Space & Place – Communities aren’t designed, they develop over time. They grow from shared experience, experiences that happen in shared spaces, whether that is the local school, pub or park. The quality of the streets and open spaces within this new place has a direct impact on those shared experiences enabling that sense of community to be fostered.

Buildings – Architectural language is key to successful placemaking. We can respond to local conditions in terms of architectural vernacular whilst also ensuring that the buildings are of our time by introducing key characteristics of good contemporary architecture that still feels of that place.

These themes allow us to consider each project from the wider context through to the detail of each building and means that the new spaces and environments that we design are naturally aligned to the principles of both local and national government policy, The Placemaking Charter, the needs of future generations and the vision and ethos of our client.

BIM

We are experienced in delivering BIM Level 2 through our larger healthcare and education projects; we believe it’s an approach that provides added value for our clients, fellow consultants, and FM teams post-handover, contributing significantly to better managed, more efficient and environmentally responsible buildings. PDA’s BIM Road map outlines our current working methodologies using specific software to achieve the goals set out in the PAS 1192 and BS EN ISO 19650.

Interior Design

Powell Dobson has considerable expertise in interior architecture and space planning across several sectors. This service includes the ability to carry out space utilisation studies, measuring the effectiveness of existing space and bringing forward proposals for improvements in efficiencies etc. Our interior design capability compliments this service.

We have a qualified interior designer, Rebecca Moore, who works alongside the different studios to create distinctive building interiors whilst responding positively to the architectural design concept.

3D Visualisation

Powell Dobson Visualisation provides a complete 3D Visualisation package for clients, ranging from small to large scale projects. Since our launch in 2015, we have been commissioned to prepare a wide range of marketing animations for several large established developers and house builders across Wales, the Southwest and London.

Our team of highly experienced, creative, and enthusiastic 3D Visualisers, led by Will Morris, take great pride in delivering results which respond to our client’s brief, to support their project at a variety of stages from concept through to post planning. The visualisers sit within the design studio and we believe that having such a wealth of architectural design and knowledge immediately available to us allows us to deliver a unique service for our clients. Every visualisation is improved by having a design and construction awareness and we believe, being a part of a wider architectural practice, sets us apart from competitors who do not have such training in architectural design and detail.

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