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.
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
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.
Planning permission has just been received in record time for a house extension in Rhiwbina Garden Village in North Cardiff. Just 6 weeks after it was submitted, approval was given in the New Year. This extension is due to start on site in the Spring
We have just secured planning permission for this ultra contemporary 4 bed detached house in Roath, Cardiff. Careful consultation with the planners resulted in their strong support for this modern design as a 21st century addition to the Roath Mill Gardens conservation area. Set next to Roath Brook this house has a L-shaped plan with stone fin walls reflecting the locality contrasting with modern slate grey cladding panels. The house is highly sustainable using Modern Methods of Construction. Super-insulated and airtight, with a passive solar design it should require minimal heating.
Work starts on site in January.
Our Reserved Matters Planning application for the BBC site in Llandaff has got full approval. The 6.85 hectare site across both sides Llantrisant Road was approved under delegated powers in November, paving the way for the BBC to move out sometime in 2018. The BBC will be relocating to central Cardiff allowing their existing site to be redeveloped for residential use by Taylor Wimpey. Downs Merrifield architects, provided the masterplanning and architectural design for Llandaff Park comprising some 364 units. It will create an exciting new contemporary development of town houses, detached houses and apartments on the edge of the Llandaff Conservation Area
Two of the four projects we have been working on in Cathedral Road Cardiff have now been completed and handed over to the client. These have transformed some very tired but beautiful Georgian houses which were being used as bedsits into contemporary individual residences. We have restored the front of the house back to its former glory and completely transformed the rear with a modern open plan extension
We have a new member of staff – Pablo Fuster who joined us in September, having completed his year out in New York and his first degree at the Welsh School of Architecture. He will be with us for five months before heading to Bath in February to complete his second degree
St Tewdric Wedding Venue is progressing well with the new roof now on and all windows fitted.
We also received listed building consent for creating a bijou two storey suite in the tower of the main house. The space is tiny, but the views of the original Severn crossing from the top are spectacular so our client feels it will be popular with guests.
It has just been announced that Penally Abbey will be the Sawday’s Hotel of the Year 2017. This is very exciting news for the owners Melanie and Lucas Boisovan who took over the tired listed hotel near Tenby two years ago and have completely revamped it turning it into a unique boutique hotel. We helped them with some ideas for the new function suite and reception, relocating the back-of-house rooms to improve the guest experience and provide them with additional facilities. This involved taking out the first floor of what was previously the hotel swimming pool and digging into the hillside to create room for some toilets. The resulting function suite is an exciting double height space (see below), exposing the quirky roof structure and making it ideal for weddings and larger functions. The courtyard (see night shot) was also opened up to link directly into the new reception area. Getting planning for listed buildings is never easy, but this project went through fairly quickly, helped by a good relationship with the conservation officer locally, and the fact that we were restoring some of the original features. Melanie is an interior designer and has breathed her individual style on the interiors and the hotel is now busy throughout the year, helped by their excellent chef and building its reputation locally and nationally.
Things always quieten down for us during the summer holidays as clients and staff go on leave and the industry largely shuts down. This year was no different and at the end of August, our year out student Emma Reeves and first full time employee, left us to return to the Welsh School of Architecture after a holiday in Bali.
Shadi Al-Begain our other year-out student went to join his parents in Jordan for a six week spell but is due to return to us in September for another year’s work. So to supplement the team during this month we had Dewi Preece a 2nd year architectural student from the WSA and Elliot Downs working for us, once he completed his year-out working in Bath before returning for his second degree up in Glasgow
Carolyn was voted in as the next Royal Society of Architects in Wales President, and will serve the initial year as ‘vice’ working with the current President Robert Firth and Mary Wren at the RSAW who are conveniently also located in the Creative Quarter.
Planning was received for a number of projects – Lake Road East and Harrismith Road (see below) and works on 56 Cathedral Road, St Tewdric’s and Ashton Keynes are now progressing well. However our job on the Isle of Skye had a setback as the second of the two houses partially blew down during erection in a gale, one of the hazards of working in the NW coast of Scotland!