Author Archives: dmnews

Brook House shortlisted for the 2018 Welsh Architecture Awards

We’re delighted to announce that Brook House has been shortlisted for the RSAW 2018 Welsh Architecture Awards, the first round of the RIBA Awards that culminate in the Stirling Prize and House of the Year competitions.

We are up against 5 other great projects from Wales for a Regional Award, and the results will be announced on the 31st May in Cardiff. Wish us luck!!

January blues

Its been a wet soggy start to the year, but we are enjoying working in our new offices and particularly the spiral staircase up to the main space which we designed to be constructed out of ply sheets and put together by  Woodspec in only 2 days on site.  

Projects recently in for planning include a new energy park  – Parc Calon Gwyrdd (Green Heart Park)  which is for a Combined Heat and Power station supplying both electric and thermal energy for future developments.  We also have a new building for St Denys Church in for planning which comprises new meeting rooms with two small flats over.  Both will hopefully get approval next month

We also received permission for a house extension in Cyncoed which will imminently start on site and have received instructions to commence two further new houses in Cardiff which will shortly be submitted for planning.

So a good start to the New Year!

Downs Merrifield move offices

Part of the original plan when we designed Ty Oriel was to have the ability to extend over the garage in future. Having set up our own practice working from home in 2014, workload increased and after only 18 months we moved into the Creative Quarter to accommodate our expanding team.  After the past good year, we have been able to bring forward our initial plans and have now built ourselves a bespoke office in Cyncoed.

In the week before Christmas, we hired a van, dismantled our office and moved into the new premises.  Our telephone number remains the same, and the postal address can be found on our website


Westville Walk completed

We have recently completed our Westville Walk project. Designed by project architect Rob Boltman, as his own family home, this ultra-contemporary 4-bed house sits in the Roath Mill Gardens conservation area of Cardiff.

The house has strong environmental credentials being super-insulated – scoring a SAP rating of 85 and air tightness tested at 1.3. It was constructed off-site by Advanced Housing Systems in Devon, with the frame erected on site in three weeks and was occupied only four months later.

It makes the most of its park setting and south facing aspect with large amounts of glazing to the central hall and landing,which links the two natural stone and slate-coloured Equitone cladding cubes, referencing the materials of the existing garden wall and the surrounding houses.


Summer Update

Summer is supposed to be a quiet time, when contractors have their shut down and clients go on holiday….  Not this year however as we seem to be busier than ever with a raft of new projects on the drawing board, and others nearing completion.

We have four projects nearing completion, Park Road, Harrismith Road, Kelston Road and Westville Walk so we’ve been kept very busy with the contractors on site ensuring that they have all the information they need to enable that to happen.  The next blog will hopefully show some completed pictures of these houses

The two houses on the Isle of Sky, ever delayed by the vagaries of the highland weather, are finally nearing completion and look fantastic on a clear day.  

Projects on the drawing board……

Not that we use drawing boards any more, but we have some exciting new projects which we are currently working on.  The first is a large sustainable house in Gloucestershire/ Warwickshire.  This is currently going through the pre-planning stages, but will be what is called a ‘paragraph 55’ house ie a ‘one off’ sustainable house with exemplary design standards and which adds to the setting.  More information to follow once the project gets into the formal planning system…..


We are also looking at two student flats developments and a master-plan for an industrial area in South Wales.    In the meantime we have been shortlisted for the Constructing Excellence Wales award for rejuvenation and preservation for our Penally Project in West Wales (see below).

Site Progress Update



Park Road

We have seven projects on site at the moment.  Park Road which started in October now has the roof largely complete and the windows go in next week, the zinc cladding is complete on the main building and the first fix has started. This project is on programme to finish late summer 2017. The weather has been great this winter for construction with few days lost for rain.  This is particularly important for Park Road since it has on an exposed site overlooking the Bristol Channel with little shelter.                                                                         Also under construction at the moment is Lon Ysgabor and Harrismith Road both of which should be complete by September.



The new house on Westville Walk, is being constructed using a timber frame by Advanced Housing Systems which has been built off-site.  The slab (poured last month) is an unusual construction in that the insulated formwork was also made in a factory and clipped together on site.  The underfloor heating was then fixed to the base of the formwork and the concrete slab uses fibres rather than steel reinforcement to strengthen it.  This is much more environmentally friendly than the normal method of building a slab and foundations and much more thermally efficient. The house was delivered on the back of a lorry last week, and in 2 days the entire ground floor walls and first floor deck was constructed.  They are back next week to complete the upper floors and the roof.

Westville Walk



Lion Garage in for Planning

An exciting refurbishment project in Hay on Wye is currently going through the planning process with the Brecon Beacons National Park.  Our clients purchased a 1940s garage earlier in the year, with the view to converting it to a Bed and Breakfast business for themselves. They currently run the Bear  in Hay and will make this building their new home once construction is complete.

Our design is sympathetic to the original style of the building and re-uses its steel truss frame and the sliding garage doors which stretch across the entire front of the building. The interior will be contemporary with exposed structure, and natural finishes such as birch ply and polished concrete linking the building back to its heritage.  The key feature will be the bathroom pods on the first floor which each project up to a roof-light with pyramid roofs enabling the original steel trusses to be exposed in their entirety

View of front entrance

Exploded axonometric of building

First floor bathroom pods

Menorcan Villa

We’ve been looking at altering and extending a modern villa in Menorca for a client.  The existing villa has some under-utilised internal spaces and problems with overheating. Our amendments include filling in a void to provide a link to a new master bedroom and some covered external spaces.  We have undertaken a solar study for for the client, to determine where external brise-soleil is required to provide much needed shading from the summer sun.C:UsersDOWNSDocuments128 Menorca - Sheet - SK-06 - 3D Views