Design at heart of sustainable Wales
Nov 17 2007 Western Mail
DEVELOPERS should push the boundaries of design to help Wales achieve its sustainable development goals, the new development director of the Design Commission for Wales has said.
Wendy Richards, an experienced urban designer and landscape architect, has been involved in delivering a diverse portfolio of high profile design projects, ranging from a major urban park development in Hong Kong’s New Territories to the Riverfront Theatre in Newport as part of a team at Austin-Smith: Lord.
She has spent the last three years working with Newport City Council and Newport Unlimited as their principal urban designer and has worked within the private and public sectors over a number of years, as well as being a voluntary member of the Design Commission’s own Design Review Panel.
Her passion for the work of the Design Commission along with a long-held belief that good design and sustainability can only truly work if incorporated at the very outset of a development made Ms Richards an ideal candidate for this new role at the Commission.
She said, “The Senedd in Cardiff Bay is a fantastic building which leads by example. It is iconic yet sustainable in its design and masks a great deal of ingenuity in its subtlety.
“Buildings like the Senedd may come along only once in a lifetime, but there are many smaller-scale projects which can deliver the same sustainability credentials if sound design principles are incorporated at the earliest stages of development planning.
“Good design is not necessarily about architectural style, it is about responding to the local context and making successful spaces and places for people.
“A well-designed building or place is usually one a team of people has enjoyed creating and responds to its location and users contributing to the sense of place of a town or city.
“As we move towards an agenda of building places to be carbon neutral in Wales by 2011, developers should push their design teams to maximise innovation and sustainability initiatives.”