DDWH Architects Ltd are a RIBA Chartered Practice, formed by Directors Warren Howling and Donika Dobruna, drawing on experience accumulated over two decades with London based offices.
We have developed design expertise across a wide range of sectors and scales, from masterplanning and mixed-use urban regeneration, to small-scale development and refurbishment, on projects ranging in value between £30,000 and £250million.
This wide experience of different scales of development and construction enables us to provide an efficient service specific to each project; including a full range of architectural services, from inception through all stages of design, to management of the construction phase - delivered on a personal basis by the directors.
Our experience has been gained in a commercial environment – the importance of projects being delivered to programme and budget is well understood. Our design approach is informed by a comprehensive understanding of the planning process.
A commitment to environmentally responsible design has underpinned the careers of both Directors, many of the projects completed have utilised the latest techniques, materials and equipment to minimise environmental impact, long before legislation made this more of a requirement.
This knowledge and commitment to the design of environmentally appropriate solutions now infuses the work of DDWH Architects.
In providing a pivotal design role on a wide range of architectural, master planning and urban design projects, we have developed an enthusiastic and collaborative management style. This helps create an energetic team environment in which design team members and other disciplines can contribute fully, resulting in a corresponding increase in quality of the finished product.
DDWH Architects aim to combine design ability with commercial awareness, maximising the return on investment by the client, working effectively within the framework of programme and financial parameters.
Donika graduated from South Bank University in 1998, before joining the project management team for the restoration and construction of Tate Modern.
Donika has expertise in prime residential, refurbishment and conversion of historic buildings, hotel, retail and office development, mainly in Central London.
She has a particular aptitude for materials and finishes, both internally and for the external envelope of buildings. Much of her work has included sensitive refurbishment of listed buildings, carefully integrated with contemporary new-build development. Many of the projects she has worked on form part of London’s historic cityscape, occupying prestigious, prominent settings. These projects required carefully considered contextual design and negotiations with Planning Officers and surrounding stakeholders.
Warren qualified as an architect in 1995 after study at De Montfort University and The National University of Singapore, and established DDWH Architects with Donika Dobruna in 2008 after 12 years at a medium sized London Architects practice, where he was an Associate Director.
He has accumulated extensive experience of residential development and mixed-use projects, as well as retail, commercial, and refurbishment of historic buildings, building relationships through repeat commissions.
The broad range of skills developed throughout his career has been essential to success with a smaller architectural practice.
How we work.
The scope and type of services we provide is agreed with clients as part of the initial briefing for a project. In most cases we provide the full range of architectural services from concept design through to project completion, whereas in other cases a more limited service is more appropriate.
Our design approach is evolved in discussion with the client, incorporating their vision for the project and the opportunities offered by the context.
With our background in commercial residential and mixed-use architecture, we are well aware that one of our main tasks is to make best use of available space and add value for the client. This means making a thorough option appraisal at an early stage.
Our initial investigations involve diagrams exploring issues such as constraints and opportunities, views available, access limitations, massing in relation to context, and land use. This process is worked through before architectural proposals begin to emerge, which helps ensure that they are based on firm principles.
We undertake an option appraisal developed from the brief to ensure that the design makes best use of the site and space available, using our design skills to provide creative problem solving - which adds value and can reduce costs. Also provided at this stage is advice on the legislation that needs to be addressed and how best to organise the project in terms of process.
Coupled with our design approach is an important ability to skilfully navigate a project through the increasingly complex regulatory processes of planning and building control.
A detailed technical package of drawings and specification documents is essential in addressing legislation, as well as providing contractors with clear instructions on what to price and construct. This also helps ensure that clients get exactly what has been selected.
DDWH Architects carry out a careful analysis of contractors pricing to ensure that the most suitable contractor is selected to undertake construction. Drawing from previous experience, we can put together a team of consultants, contractors and suppliers to suit the type and scale of development, and successfully deliver the completed project.
We can organise appointment of Structural Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Building Control Assessors, Party Wall Surveyors, Quantity Surveyors, SAP/BREAMM calculations, Airtightness Testing and Sound Testing as well as other specialists, to suit the needs of the project.
During construction, we can provide the client with Project Management services to maintain quality and ensure the correct specification is followed. This also assists with minimising delays through use of our problem-solving skills to address any unforeseen difficulties.
For each project our services are recorded in the standard RIBA Appointment: "Standard Agreement for the Appointment of an Architect". We guide clients through the appointment documents to explain and agree our scope of work.
As a RIBA Chartered Practice, we have in place management policies, which provide a rigorous framework to support the quality of design and service we provide.
Step by step
RIBA Stage 0
The main goal of this first stage is for the client team to strategically identify the best means of achieving the client's requirements.
Initially we would establish Project Scope, Timescale, Budget, and Project Sustainability goals.
RIBA Stage 1
Preparation & Brief
During this part of the process we assist the clients in establishing what they hope the project will achieve. This stage deals with developing the initial project brief and any related feasibility studies to help enable the development of the concept design.
It also involves the ‘preparation tasks’ such as assembling the project team and defining each party’s roles and responsibilities.
RIBA Stage 2
The concept design is produced in line with the design brief established in Stage 1.
In stage 2, initial concept drawings are tabled to the client and relevant stakeholders. This enables the team to have the first chance to review the designs and comment on the design progress and spatial layouts
RIBA Stage 3
Developed Design & Planning
The concept design is developed further to meet clients requirements, and information is produced to be submitted with a planning application.
RIBA Stage 4
Technical Design is a refinement of the existing design, essentially preparing the necessary drawings and documentation for tendering. This will typically include a thorough drawing package showing how every element of the building interfaces meet, ensuring clarity of quality, pricing, and buildability for the contractor and client alike.
The design is also developed and coordinated with Building Regulations, alongside the relevant design team consultants such as structures and services engineers to ensure a complete picture is given to the client, contractor, and building inspector; simultaneously, planning conditions are discharged during this period.
RIBA Stage 5
RIBA stage 5 signifies the start of Construction.
Construction effectively means that the Contractor will take possession of the site and carry out the works as listed in the Technical Package of information and the building contract. This includes both manufacturing off-site and construction on-site. We act as your contract administrator, liaising between you and the contractor, and monitoring quality, compliance, cost, and progress.
If there’s a query, issue, or doubt, we’re here to help resolve it. We hold regular site meetings and keep a record of everything that’s agreed. We also liaise with Building Control as construction progresses.
RIBA Stage 6
The builder hands the completed building over, and after a pre-determined period (typically six months or a year) any subsequent defects related to the building work are addressed, and the building contract is concluded.
RIBA Stage 7
At stage 7, the building is in use and the maintenance of the building is in place.
DDWH Architects can assist with an extensive range of design services, and have experience across a wide spectrum of building types and sectors:
New builds, refurbishment, conversions and extensions
New builds, refurbishment and conversions
Visitors Centres and Council Buildings
University Buildings, Schools and Children’s Play Centres
Conservation & Listed Buildings
Restorations and changes to Listed Buildings
Housing, Offices and Retail
Hotels & Serviced Apartments
Master Planning & Urban Design
Mixed-use Residential, Offices and Retail
To discuss our work, services, or how we can help you achieve your development, extension or refurbishment goals, then simply fill and submit the form. Alternatively, you can call or email us directly.
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