Gareth Woodfin, Cardiff Studio Director reflects on his journey at HLM.

Over the last 15 years at HLM I have been fortunate to work on many cross-sector projects.  One of the first was Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, a major healthcare win for HLM that prompted the opening of the Cardiff studio.

“I am most proud of the social value the projects I have worked on have brought to the local communities.  They act as real anchors for change and hope for the future”. Gareth Woodfin – Studio Director Cardiff.

Located to the North of Cardiff, Ysbyty Cwm Cynon responded to the call for improved Primary Care and Chronic Disease management services in South Wales. Our design focused on patient care through the therapeutic environment. This approach was supported by a simple wayfinding strategy, a strong landscape integration and a suite of sustainable strategies that include both renewable energy sources and passive climate control. This scheme is seen as a catalyst to the social regeneration for the area, and paramount in promoting community activity and participation.

Other early projects were the Newport Schools, which were real trailblazers in terms of how we think about schools.  They are much more than places to sit quietly and learn, but places that should excite young minds and engage with the community. The Newport schools project responded to the need for a ‘sense of place’ in one of Wales’ most socially deprived areas of Newport. Working with the client and stakeholders, the project was driven by engagement and inclusion, both contributing to the regeneration and social cohesion of the projects.

Newport and Llanwern High schools helped to deliver educational excellence, providing a sense of pride and ownership, and bringing about a real legacy for change. Through extensive consultation and an interactive design process, Newport High became the first secondary school in Wales to get a 73 point BREEAM rating.  It also went on to win Project of the Year at the Constructing Excellence Wales Awards.

I am most proud of the social value the schools and the hospital brought to the local communities. They revitalise the community’s perception of education and community healthcare, and act as anchors for change and hope for the future.


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