Carbon Reduction Plan

We are proud to have taken the first steps to be a Carbon Neutral business by 2045
We’ve painstakingly collected data on every aspect of carbon production associated with our business and we’ve written our Carbon Reduction Plan with help from Green Small Business
We are now certified by Green Small Business and this along with our ISO14001 accreditation from LRQA and the continual training and development of our team means we’re well placed for a more sustainable future.

To view our Carbon Reduction Plan please click here

DKA Visualisation Award 2024

Despite the weather’s best efforts it must be summer, as last Friday was the University of Bath End of Year Architecture Degree Show with the annual DKA Award for Visualisation. It was great to have the opportunity to have a private viewing to judge all the 4th year submissions for best visualisation, particularly because the year group included former DKA placement students Tara Hodges, Natalya Pagano and Yi Ting Wong. It is always interesting to see how our placement students progress from second year to fourth year.

The judges were impressed by the range of projects with a sustainable focus across the whole cohort.

Getting a group of Architects to agree on which images are the best can be challenging and hotly contested; however this year the judges were unanimous. The DKA Award for Visualisation 2024 winner is Louise Gogstad with her project cir-WOOL-arity. The sense of atmosphere that Louise created in all of her images and the strength of her whole display impressed the judges along with her distinctive stylised site plan.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Whilst being Neurodivergent in a world designed for Neurotypical people is undoubtedly challenging, it’s great to see a campaign that is highlighting the positive aspects of Neurodiversity, and the unique skills and abilities that people who think differently can bring to the workplace.

In addition to the benefits of a diverse workforce, and the ethical imperative to create inclusive environments, employers should be aware of their legal duties to make reasonable adjustments for individuals with additional needs. These adjustments need to be tailored to each individual, but a flexible environment that provides a variety of settings and can accommodate change is more able to support a wide range of users.

By considering the needs of neurodiverse people when designing buildings and interior schemes, we can help to remove or decrease the challenges they face and let their abilities shine. Design considerations might include:

  • The sensory environment: control over lighting, sound management, and textural choices
  • Flexible arrangements that can be reconfigured as needed
  • Clarity and simplicity of layout
  • Minimal visual clutter
  • Ergonomic furniture and assistive technology
  • Restorative spaces and elements
  • Support for varied communication styles and social interaction

We work with stakeholders to better understand each organisation’s key requirements, incorporate industry best practice, and provide a practical approach that aims to optimise usability. Although there can sometimes be conflict between the needs of different groups or individuals, a space that can be navigated easily, is safe, provides choice and control, and reduces stress, can allow everyone to flourish equally.


About Me:

I’m Rebecca Furse, I’ve been part of the team at DKA for 17 years and now lead our Interior Design Service. Whilst working on several healthcare and care projects, and completing a Masters in Environmental Psychology, I developed an interest in designing environments for people with Dementia. This has evolved to encompass a wider interest in inclusive interior design, especially concerning neurodiversity. Last year, I attained a NCFE CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Autism to add to my knowledge in this area.

If you’d like to have a chat with us about how to make your building more inclusive, drop us an email to


There are lots of free webinars and fantastic resources at:

Welcome to the Next Generation!

DKA recently welcomed two pupils from Whitstone School, Shepton Mallet   for a short, sharp two-day work experience placement.
Iris Lipin and Indy Marcangelo-Lyons, both year 9, were given a whistle-stop introduction to the studio, and set a task of designing a beach hut for their family. They both rose to the task willingly, learning about scale, form and function, before modelling their ideas and presenting their completed schemes to the office.


We’re really proud to share that our Architects Andy Batty and Caroline Pocock have successfully qualified as PassivHaus Designers. This now means that DKA can design your PassivHaus building.

To understand further, here’s their explanation of what that means:


PASSIVHAUS is a comfort and energy standard.

A passive house designer creates buildings with the ventilation, humidity, temperature, and acoustics, required for a comfortable life, combined with the low energy required for an economical life.

PASSIVHAUS is a rigorous approach to low energy buildings

A passive house designer inputs a broad range of criteria into a sophisticated assessment tool that predicts the building performance. The designer’s assessment is then reviewed and certified by an independent body to ensure all issues have been correctly addressed.

PASSIVHAUS is an economical approach to low energy buildings.

A passive house designer can easily assess the impact of different design inputs on energy and comfort in order to determine the most cost effective way to achieve the standard.

PASSIVHAUS is a practical approach to achieving low energy buildings.

A passive house designer understands the construction techniques, and quality of construction, required to achieve a low energy building, and will apply that knowledge to design and site inspection.

PASSIVHAUS is a tried and tested approach to low energy buildings.

A passive house designer benefits from an approach that has been refined over thirty-four years and thirty-eight thousand buildings, since the first Passive House was built in Germany in 1988.


Millfield School revisited

We were recently afforded the opportunity to revisit two of our buildings at Millfield School; the Dining Hall completed in 2001, and Johnson Hall, completed five years later.

It was pleasing to see that both buildings have stood the tests-of-time well; the Dining Hall has proved robust in construction and operation, and at the same time been sufficiently flexible to accommodate renewed and replanned serveries and dishwash facilities at opposite ends of the hall, whilst maintaining the flow of diners through the building that was a key element of our competition-winning design.

The original brief was that it should be the heart of the campus (it is the only space big enough to accommodate the whole school) and we were pleased to see that it has achieved that objective. As well as providing three meals a day every day it also accommodates a Sixth Form Cafe, sports changing rooms and a viewing balcony overlooking the Sir Gareth Edwards rugby pitch, so is in virtually continuous use all year round, to the extent that finding suitable opportunities to undertake planned maintenance is tricky.


The Johnson Hall is really two buildings, a concert hall seating an audience of over 300, and a three-storey music school, linked together by shared common facilities. Set to one side of the main landscaped parkland entrance, the brick and timber building sits behind trees quietly belying its size. A tall glazed entrance foyer (large enough to accommodate a full orchestra rehearsal) invites the visitor in, and leads to the main hall, which since opening has received much praise both for its acoustics and appearance. Subject to different patterns of use compared to the Dining Hall, it is nonetheless a heavily used building and again we were pleased to see that it has performed well.


We are proud of both buildings so it was heartening to hear positive comments about their design and performance; that they still look so good is helped no doubt by having a client who recognises the importance of presentation and the value of regular planned building maintenance. ‘Firmness, Commodity and Delight’ indeed.

Two lessons learned; the Velfac windows have performed well on both buildings and contribute much to maintaining the attractive appearance of both buildings. On the debit side, both buildings include external roof-mounted plant areas; access to these, and space around the individual elements of plant have attracted comment from maintenance operatives as not meeting current expectations; standards have moved on in the last 20 years.

We are very grateful to Neil Chapillon, Head of Estates, and his colleague Dan Crane, for taking time to show us around, and for their helpful comments and observations.

DKA Award

Since 2005, DKA have sponsored the Digital Visualisation Prize at the University of Bath 4th Year End of Year Exhibition. As always, it was inspiring to see the range and quality of student work across the school of architecture and as ever, the job of selecting a winner was very tough. Due to deadlines in the office, we relied on Fabien to trek up the hill and select a shortlist of projects for the office to vote via Whatsapp. Unfortunately for Priyesh (ex-DKA placement student), his project was swiftly removed from the shortlist to avoid any conflict of interest.

The 2023 winner selected by our panel of judges is Joel Boyd for his Oxford Archaeology Centre. Joel’s work stood out amongst some strong contenders across the cohort. What drew our attention was the range of graphics to illustrate the project – internal views, sectional perspective, room layout views, and photomontage with the proposed scheme perfectly blending into the Oxford urban fabric.

To see Joel’s winning project and all our past winners click here

Workspace Design Show 2023: The latest trends, challenges and innovations

Kate Snedden , DKA Interior Designer visited the Workspace Design Show 2023, as well lots of inspiring products and finishes which can feature in our interiors projects, Kate’s trip included panel discussions on Designing the Future Workspace Environment  and How positive empathetic workplace environments promote employee wellbeing and motivation.

Work places in 2023 are to be considered an experience, what does a workers day include? How can we make this better?

Here’s her top 5 take aways:

  1. 1. Creating a motivational workplace: incorporate something visually interesting that makes people want to come in to the office
  2. 2. Understand how the client’s employees work and make sure that your design creates relevant zones. Don’t forget that it’s all about adjacency – loud and quiet spaces need separating.
  3. 3. Bringing in nature to the workplace – biophilic design (everyone loves plants)
  4. 4. Current trends include more breakout areas with  soft seating like rather than hard furniture; office breakout spaces are increasingly seeking to become more casual (think residential / living room feel).
  5. 5. Consider creating contemplation / quiet room / green (planting) room for employees to use. This could help relieve some stress and enable them to gather their thoughts (work or personally).

World Book Day 2023

As children across the UK share books, choose new ones using their book trust tokens and dress up as their favourite characters we had a Tuesday Studio Day discussion around what our favourite architectural books are and why. We have a diverse portfolio of work within the office which includes commercial, interiors, healthcare, modular, education, engineering, Automotive R&D.

Would we have a similarly diverse selection of books?

David Kent, Director ‘Le Grand Bleu’ Marseille by Will Alsop.

I always admired Will and his work, another ‘flawed genius’. In the early years of his career he worked with my father (who was part of a large construction and development company) and they became good friends. He kindly dedicated the book to his and my father, and inscribed some words to my mother Joan. So, a really interesting book about a singular architect and his design process – which often involved large abstract canvasses painted over the weekend which he’d take into the office where he’d ‘tell the team to look for the building’ – and one with great sentimental value.


Andy Batty, Senior Architect Education: Architecture in Britain Today by Michael Webb

This book by Michael Web, published in 1969 by Country Life, rather ironically bearing in mind the content, may well be my favourite. It has that brave new world feel of the sixties, with some great plans, and uncompromising, brutalist architecture. On p47 is the Wolfson Building at St. Anne’s College Oxford, its refurbishment was the first project I worked on at DKA twenty five years ago.


Jon Fifield, Senior Architect: In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki

“We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates.”

Architecture as subject as opposed to object. A reminder the de-sanitised lived experience of being human is important for our psyche. Something that architecture can lose sight of, but equally embrace and hold traces of.


Macie Jackson, Architectural Assistant: Why We Build by Rowan Moore

One of the books that has stuck with me the most is Why We Build by Rowan Moore. It briefly runs through all the most exciting parts of recent architectural history and the cultural happenings behind them. I decided to study Architecture around the same time that I read it, which is why I remember this one the most.


Fabien Coupat, Director: If I Built A House by Chris Van Dusen

I read this every week as a bedtime story and it’s what my 5 year old thinks I do!


Ben Norrish, Architect: From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe

Hilarious, critical, and cynical appraisal of modern architecture. A very different selection to a regular architecture book I would say.


Hannah Yoell, Senior Architect: Modern House by John Welsh

A coffee table book with beautiful photography and drawings. It opened my eyes to a smorgasboard of architectural styles, ways to use materials and possibilities in a world before pinterest and google earth.


Harry Kemp: The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

This really inspired me whilst studying at UWE.


David Munday, Company Secretary: Take It Outside by Melissa BrasierGarrett Magee &  James DeSantis

Beautifully photographed and inspirational landscape designs that are generally tucked away in the middle of New York


James Bastable, Director: Utzon by Richard Weston

This is a fantastic book in its own right, with commentary, pictures, drawings and illustrations of some of the most seminal buildings of recent times by one of the most recognised names in Architecture. Furthermore, Richard Weston (author of this book and renowned Utzon expert) was one of our tutors at Cardiff University and gaining an insight into his passion for, and understanding of, the work of Utzon was quite inspiring.


Mike May, Architect:

Some of my favourites include Junichiro Tanizaki – In Praise of Shadows, Peter Zumthor – Thinking Architecture and Michael Pollan – A Place of My Own

It turns out that we like books with beautiful photographs, drawings AND words including architectural theory, history and design.

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Devizes Integrated Care Centre

DKA’s Adrian Abbs our Senior Healthcare Architect, was a guest at the opening of DKA’s recently completed Devizes Integrated Care Centre yesterday. Opened by Dr Richard Sandford-Hill – who had the original idea behind the centre and has been a driving force throughout the duration of the project, from the initial vision pre 2017.

The building is owned by NHS Property Services and brings together healthcare services provided by Bath and North Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Primary Care Network, Wiltshire Health and Care, Royal United Hospitals Bath and Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. Funding was provided by NHS England.

DKA have been involved from RIBA Stage 0 in 2017, appointed by the then CCG following on from outline planning. Subsequently DKA were appointed by Kier from RIBA Stage 3, under the ProCure22 Framework, to completion utilising our extensive healthcare experience and BIM to fully coordinate the project. The Building is BREEAM Excellent and has an EPC rating of A+

Reflections in Practice

At DKA we have an established culture of welcoming students on placement as a key part of our team. Back in August we welcomed Nicki Maclean, a graduate from Bath University, and Harry Kemp, at graduate from UWE, into our studio. Time has flown and as we near the end of 2022 (!) we asked them to reflect back on their first few months in architectural practice. What have they learnt? What would they change? What do they want to achieve next? Harry says: I joined DKA 3 months ago after completing my part 1 architecture and planning degree at... READ MORE

Director Announcement - Alex Bell

After 20 years of service to DKA, the last five as a Director, Alex has decided that the time is right for a change of direction. As such, he has resigned as a Director of DKA and will be leaving DKA in due course.

We will be in touch with all of our key clients and associates in the near future, but in the meantime and on behalf of David, Fabien and James, we can reassure you that it is very much ‘business as usual’ at DKA and that all project handovers will be managed seamlessly. Should you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We currently have a number of exciting opportunities and plans moving forward and we look forward to working with you all in the future.

Finally, I’m sure you will all join us in wishing Alex all the best for the future.

Two new Architectural Assistants

Having waved goodbye to our four Bath students who were here from February until August, we welcome our two new starters Nicki and Harry who will be doing placements for 6 and 12 months respectively. Both are RIBA Part 1 level and have joined the team as Architectural Assistants They have passed the gruelling selection process, army assault course, undergone intensive Revit training and learned all four verses of the DKA team song. We look forward to working with them and teaching them about the wider world of architectural practice.

Melksham Community Campus handed over

The new Melksham Community Campus has reached completion and is to open to the public in early August 2022. DKA have been involved on the Melksham House site since 2011, having assisted Wiltshire Council in its due diligence in purchasing the old Cooper Avon Tyres social club site. DKA were subsequently involved in some feasibility studies, leading to the design and a planning submission in 2014 which retained and incorporated the Grade II Listed Melksham House into the proposed Melksham Community Campus. Following a change in scope, a new planning application was submitted in late 2019. Pellikaan Construction and their team of consultants were appointed in early 2020 to deliver DKA’s concept design. DKA were retained as Technical Advisors to Wiltshire Council throughout the construction phase. The completed Melksham Community Campus, is a stand-alone leisure and library in the grounds of Melksham House, in the heart of Melksham. The Community Campus comprises a state of the art leisure facility, with a six lane 25m pool, a learner pool, a six court sports hall, a studio, a health suite, a spinning studio, and associated wet and dry changing. It also includes a library, a café, a community room, and offices for Melksham Without Parish Council. We look forward to seeing the local community using this brand new facility.

DKA Award Winner 2022

Since 2005, DKA have sponsored the Digital Visualisation Prize at the University of Bath 4th Year End of Year Exhibition. Happily, we were able to attend in person again after a few years of digital judging. It was inspiring to see the range and quality of student work across the school of architecture and as ever, the job of selecting a winner was very tough.

The 2022 winner selected by our panel of judges is Emmanuel Chryssanthopoulos for his Crafts College, in Camden.  Emmanuel’s work stood out amongst some strong contenders across the cohort.  What drew our attention was the incredibly high standard and consistency of all the images and their ability to tell the story of the building through multiple drawings. We particularly enjoyed the detailed human inhabitation and clear consideration of the purposes of the various spaces that had been designed as part of the scheme.

The digital visualisation style itself was unique and had a tactile engaging feel sitting between a photo realistic CGI render and a hand drawn sketch. In places the materials of the building almost seemed to shimmer in the light. This balance of material, construction detailing, light and delight makes Emmanuel’s work a thoroughly deserved and engaging winner – congratulations; we wish you every success in practice!

Click Here to see a selection of Emmanuel’s fantastic images.

Emmanuel describes his scheme as follows:

“The vision for the Crafts College is to become a centre of the local community and catalyst for the social mobility of its disadvantaged inhabitants. It will achieve this through the training of the local population into craftsmen and women with the ability to build. Moreover, tapping into the rich vein of architects, engineers, developers, and other construction industry professionals that is present in the Camden Borough will create a vibrant and creative hub for the construction industry. Of course, the best way for the apprentices to train is through practical experience, and so the site will also act as a test bed for these many different disciplines to try out and perfect their trade, and of course learn from one another.”

“One must begin first by listening and learning from professionals before one is able to design. This dictated the positioning of the auditorium and the classroom spaces towards the main entrance. Even at the next stage, Design and Reflect, students will still be coming and going between classroom, design studio, and auditorium, and so the Teaching Block, orientated towards the entrance and in close proximity to the auditorium was formed.

As a student begins to progress further into their course and into the building, it is at this moment that the existing building and the prototyping hall is revealed, in the form of glimpses from the circulation path to the dedicated material workshops. This idea of the student being made aware of the applied and the cutting-edge side of craftsmanship (which the Prototyping Hall embodies) is key. This interaction, albeit brief, provides the student with the insight into where they are heading, and additionally, will hopefully inspire them before they then go into the material workshop for their practical classes. Finally, the student arrives to the light-filled, dedicated material workshops which sit at the Southern end of the site. These workshops consist of a double-height space for the positioning of large objects and a surrounding supporting mezzanine for smaller table-working.”


The Dom-Ino Effect

DKA’s recent building experiences have involved off-site building techniques, where modular building components are fabricated off-site, then delivered and assembled on-site. The industry calls this ‘Modern Methods of Construction’ or MMC. We have been assisting The McAvoy Group in developing several such schemes for our commercial and healthcare sectors. The processes and constraints of modular build informs various aspects of the building design, even at early stages. Our recent ventures have prompted some reflection on a building technique which historically has proven to have a strong lure for architects. Lego of course, in its various guises, would be expected to... READ MORE

Back at the WSA

Last academic year 2020-2021 I was invited back to the WSA, Cardiff University after almost 15 years away from the ‘Diff as a guest design tutor for Architectural Design Module for first year. There was hope and expectation that with lots of precautions, sanitizer, fresh air and face mask this would be in person. It didn’t quite pan out like that and I learnt how to teach design and drawing via zoom; sketching live, digitally is challenging. Communicating scale and the architectural staple concepts of plan, section and elevation to a student who might be thousands of miles and several... READ MORE

Cokethorpe School, Changing Pavilion

Cokethorpe School is an independent day school for pupils aged 4 to 18. Set in rural West Oxfordshire and surrounded by over 150 acres of parkland, the school offers a wide range of sporting activities and facilities.

The existing changing rooms were located away from the school’s sporting facilities, meaning there was limited access for pupils and staff. To overcome this, Cokethorpe School opted to relocate these facilities to a new, purpose built, single storey changing pavilion. The Changing Pavilion is of timber frame construction, clad in timber panels and finished with a green roof – chosen to minimise the impact on the surrounding parkland. Open walkways stretch the full depth of the building allowing natural light to pass through, as well as providing external access to the 10 individual changing rooms.

DKA were employed by SDC Special Projects to deliver the scheme.

Planning and Listed Building Consent for The Weston

DKA are delighted to have secured Planning and Listed Building Consent for a residential conversion scheme at The Weston in Bath, working with Integer Planning & Development on behalf of our client Southlea Investments Ltd.

The grade II listed former public house will be converted to 8 apartments across four floors, securing the protection and management of this heritage asset into the future as well as increasing the City’s housing stock including accessible housing provision.

The scheme will remove a series of unsympathetic modern interventions including noisy chillers and extraction equipment, modern signs and removal of the unsightly steel fire escape from the west elevation of the building. The car park will provide off street resident’s parking including EV charging, a garden area and cycle parking in line with planning policy.

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Perry Court Primary School

Perry Court Primary School in Bristol is approaching completion of the  building phase, the exterior of the school building is almost complete and the interior works are progressing smoothly.

Works are due to finish in mid-December and we’re excited to see how the teachers and pupils find using the new bright and airy school in January.

Andy Batty - Author

  I wrote a story; the story became a book; the book got published (or will be, on the 28th of November). It sounds easy, it wasn’t, but I made it as easy as I could. They say, “write about something you know,” so I did. I wrote a story set in a school. I design them, so I could easily picture the classrooms, the workshops, the hall, the playgrounds, the fields and how the building looked and felt. I’ve also surveyed enough schools to know their idiosyncrasies, their smells, and their problems. But it is people that are the... READ MORE

DKA Award Winner 2021 - Alexander Wells

The winner of this year’s DKA Award for digital visualisation is Alexander Wells. Selected from the University of Bath’s RIBA Part 1 Architecture end of year show, Alexander’s Convenio project on Staten Island was awarded the top prize by our panel of judges.

As ever, selecting the winner of the DKA Award for the most inspiring digital visualisation proved to be a tough task, made all the more difficult by having to do it virtually. We missed being able to stand back and admire from a distance. The standard this year is – if anything – even better than previous years; we were impressed time after time as we leafed through the 100+ entries we were asked to consider.

Three judges selected a shortlist of projects which generated a lively debate within the office, with Alexander’s graphics claiming the title.

Not being aware of the project brief or any of the student’s submission, Alexander’s presentation and illustrations allowed the judges to understand the essence of the project. The street scene illustrates the building blending into it’s surrounding, while the rainy cloister shot provided the idea of repose and calmness you would expect of a monastic and spiritual hub.

Click here to look through the full collection of Alexander’s illustrations. Many congratulations to Alexander from all of us at DKA.

A Crash Course in 3D Printing

I have worked within architecture for well over a decade now and a key skill I learnt early on was the ability to adapt. Over the past 18 months we have had to adapt more than ever. Whether it is simply a new project, a new client, new material, new piece of software or technology; successful people within the architectural industry have an ability to adapt quickly and embrace the changes. Those that don’t quickly get left behind. At DKA we have demonstrated this with the implementation of Building Information Modelling Management (or BIM for short). We were an early... READ MORE

DKA are Passivhaus Ready!

DKA are committed to developing design solutions to improve the built environment. In partnership with clients, consultants, contractors, local authorities and other participants in the development process, we seek to control the impact of our projects on the natural environment and local communities. We have been delivering highly sustainable buildings for over 25 years, reducing the energy consumptions of our clients’ buildings and improving the experience of the building users. Passivhaus is becoming an aspiration for many of our clients, particularly in the public sector for new school projects. The combination of a ‘fabric first’ approach combined with low energy... READ MORE

Student Mentoring in Lockdown

Oh, very young What will you leave us this time You’re only dancing on this earth for a short while… Oh, very young What will you leave us this time. A few lines from probably my favourite (Yosef) Cat Stevens song. Just a bit before my time I would add. Worth a listening to if you don’t know his work, although you’re bound to recognise some of his songs. His folky-pop, combined with messages of existential spirituality could be considered especially apt for our present situation with the pandemic. At DKA we have always taken an interest in supporting young... READ MORE

Healthcare Team Update

Healthcare was very much a feature of the national news in 2020 and that is no different for the round-up of DKA projects in 2020.

The year started with us being appointed to take over the architectural services for the new Integrated Care Centre in Devizes, a Procure 22 project between Kier and NHS property Services. The 1,588sqm, two storey building will be one of the first of this new type of healthcare facility bringing a wide range of services into the community. Filling a role between a GP surgery and a community hospital, the building has no wards but provides a range of outpatient and GP services. Accommodation includes a number of shared use Consulting / Examination / Physiotherapy Rooms, a dedicated Treatment Room, Audiology Room, Podiatry Room, Physiotherapy Group Room and two Phlebotomy Rooms in addition to generous patient waiting areas and support accommodation.

The start of 2020 also saw the completion of the refurbishment and reconfiguration of Ward 2 at Pyrland House in Taunton, a dementia-friendly mental health facility. This project transformed the outdated the ward; bringing light to the dark corridors, creating a larger staff base, providing en-suite facilities to all bedrooms, bringing unused rooms back into service and the creation a new ‘low stimulus suite’, for patients experiencing high levels of distress. Although the interventions were simple, the transformation in the overall feeling of the ward environment was significant.

We always welcome the opportunity to re-visit completed DKA buildings and were pleased during the course of the year to be asked back to a number of the Community Hospitals we had designed to get involved in designing a number of extensions and alterations. These include:

  • An extension to the Endoscopy Unit at Bridgwater Hospital (which has just been granted planning approval), providing a second Endoscopy Room and separate Treatment Room to provide Nasoscopy and Esophagael Monometry services.
  • Alterations within the main Bridgwater Hospital to convert some office accommodation provide additional clinical spaces.
  • Adding an enclosure for additional mechanical plant to Minehead Hospital to increase the range of services that can be provided within the Day Surgery Operating Theatre.

The end of the year provided us with a great opportunity to assist NHS Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group in laying out a number of new Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination Centres across the region. The NHS have been under extreme pressure throughout the last year and will continue to be for some time in the future so we are very proud to have been involved in helping them taking steps to protect the nation.

As we start 2021 we are hopeful for the Devizes Integrated Care Centre project getting both approval for its Planning Application from the Local Authority and for its Full Business Case from NHS England. This will mean that construction can get underway enabling the centre to open to the public in 2022.

Under the umbrella of the healthcare team we are also starting a new project in Weston-super-Mare to design an extension for a stand alone unit attached to one of the larger Care Homes in the town. This is made more complex by a tight site, being within the setting of a conservation area and position of a large protected tree in the middle of the site, however we are hopeful we will be able to design a scheme that meets the clients requirements and can obtain planning approval from the local authority.

We are also involved in a number of feasibility studies throughout the local area which we are hopeful will translate into some new Healthcare projects as the year progresses, however we always welcome any new opportunities that may also come along.

COVID-19 Vaccination Centres

DKA are very proud to have been involved in developing a number of local COVID-19 vaccination centres for NHS Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

DKA have looked at sites across the region and proposed layouts and building amendments, following best clinical practices, to enable existing buildings to be used as vaccination centres in accordance with the NHS guidance. These include two mass vaccination centres and a number of smaller sites which will be operated by the local Primary Care Network in each area.

It has taken a considerable effort under tight time constraints but, excitingly, all of these sites are on track to be operational within the next few weeks to help support the Government’s vaccination programme.

Freshford Lockdown Garden Project

Well, the world has been rocked to its very dusty foundations by a nasty microscopic organism. My family and I are extremely fortunate to be able to live on the outskirts of a small village outside Bath which meant that, when lockdown hit in March of this year we were able to basically isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. This did leave us with one small issue however, we had recently completed Phase 1 of an extension to our property and the pretty cottage garden we had bought had been destroyed and replaced with piles of soil and... READ MORE

Stonehenge School Nominated for Building Award

DKA are particularly pleased the new main entrance and teaching building at Stonehenge School has been nominated for a West of England, LABC Building Excellence Award in the ‘Best Public Service or Education’ category. It is especially rewarding as the incredibly tight site, significant planning restrictions and limited budget, required an imaginative yet compact and economic solution. It is hard to believe this bold and welcoming arrival building, with its entrance colonnade, bright central atrium and feature staircase were born out of such complex restrictions. Now it seems like the natural solutions to both the site and the brief, and doesn’t feel compromised in the slightest. It is testament, not just to the architectural design, but also to how the whole team, including Wiltshire Council, Stonehenge School, Hydrock, Ridge, Interserve Construction and others worked closely together the achieve this outcome.

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DKA Award Winner 2020 - Yansu Wang

The winner of this year’s DKA Award for digital illustration is Yansu Wang. Selected from the University of Bath’s RIBA Part 1 Architecture end of year show, Yansu’s public library for Manvers Street in Bath was awarded the top prize by our panel of judges (David Kent, Fabien Coupat and Ben Norrish).

As ever, selecting the winner of the DKA Award for the most inspiring digital visualisation proved to be a tough task, made all the more difficult by having to do it virtually. We missed being able to stand back and admire from a distance. The standard this year is – if anything – even better than previous years; we were impressed time after time as we leafed through the 119 entries we were asked to consider.

To enable us to pick a winner we had strictly to limit our criteria. Not being familiar with the projects or briefs we were not seeking the best design response; rather we were looking for the project page that had the best ‘kerb appeal’, that is, one that arrested our attention and rewarded us by giving us a narrative about the building, its location and sense of place.

We felt that ENKYKLIOS by Yansu offered a well-balanced and diverse visual representation of the scheme with a rich selection of perspectives, detail, sections and axonometric views.  The quality of all images is uniformly high; the main visuals stand out in themselves, but the smaller images and details are equally good and bind the whole thing together nicely as a composition. It takes the viewer on a journey through the building, illustrating both the inside and outside equally, and how they work together.

We also liked the warm colour palette overall and excellent use of soft lighting; lastly, we enjoyed the impression it gave – possibly unintentionally – of being the spine and jacket of a leather-bound volume.

Yansu says of her work:

According to the research of Library typology, the future library is a kind of knowledge community space with the promotion of socialisation and knowledge cycle as the core. In the process of learning knowledge, creating immersing spaces to help promote the communication between people and knowledge, that is, people’s self reflection; in the process of sharing knowledge, creating a meeting place to help promote the communication between people, that is, people’s socialisation; In the process of creating knowledge, creating inspirational spaces to encourage people to create and thus the works created enter the infinite knowledge cycle. The centre of layers of knowledge circulation space forms an atrium automatically. The atrium becomes the “still point of the turning world”, and it expresses dignity for the infinity of knowledge cycle. As the atrium is the core of the project, timber bookshelves will support the self-stand structure of the atrium. Once people enter the atrium, they will encounter huge bookshelves, and the building can be registered as a library immediately. The Manvers Street parking lot is replaced by a new public plaza. The library, the church, the commercial block and the residential houses will define the four boundaries of the square and create a perfect environment for the new public centre.

Click here to look through the full collection of Yansu’s library illustrations. Many congratulations to Yansu from all of us at DKA.

Changing Places

The requirement to provide Changing Places toilets will be incorporated into the Building Regs Part M2 in the New Year. Here’s a brief overview of what they are and how DKA can help you plan for their implementation. What is it? A Changing Places (CP) toilet provides sanitary accommodation for people with disabilities who require assistance to use toilet and changing facilities. They are intended for use in specific building types, mainly large public & assembly buildings. A full list is outlined below. A CP toilet does not replace standard WC facilities, wheelchair-accessible WCs and baby changing facilities, which should... READ MORE

A Lesson in Crisis Management

For 5 minutes of your time I’ll offer a slice of hope. Those who know me, know of my love of space and astronomy. Mankind has always looked to the stars for answers, and remarkably we have a recent tale that offers applicable lessons to our current predicament. 50 years ago, NASA delivered a masterclass in crisis management. The crew of Apollo 13 were returned safely to Earth after suffering a catastrophic failure of their spacecraft. Reviewing the decisions taken during that crisis can apply to many other scenarios. For those running a business, there are clear parallels. For anyone... READ MORE

Working From Home...

It wasn’t the best decision of my life to head off to the Canary Islands in the middle of March but, you know, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Who knew when I did eventually get back and immediately start working from home that my epic tan was going to be so vital for Microsoft Teams® meetings. “DM you’re very dark can you put a light on” That’s nothing to do with the lights Mr Kent! While I was away, I knew things were getting interesting back at the studio when I was suddenly added to a DKA Whatsapp group chat.... READ MORE

Best of the Basins

We’re all spending a lot more time stood at basins and sinks these days – so, in case anyone is pondering an upgrade once this is all over, I thought I’d pick out a few of my favourites from last year’s shows… Rockwell by The Water Monopoly Based on a traditional metal basin, Rockwell is actually ceramic and comes in lots of lovely colours – I love the matching taps. Would add some quirkiness to a downstairs loo, or could be great in a school. Large versions (including double) and whole matching suite also available – if you’re feeling brave!... READ MORE

Healthcare Sector successes in 2020

2020 has begun well for the Healthcare Sector at DKA despite the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. The year started with our appointment on an exciting new healthcare project working with Kier and NHS Wiltshire CCG and NHS Property Services to provide a new facility in Devizes.

It is hoped that a planning application will be submitted in the next few months with a view to work starting on site towards at the end of the year. Building completion is pencilled in for early 2022. While the scheme is being readied for the planning application, the DKA Healthcare Team are working closely (via video-messaging, of course) with the clinical teams who will operate the building to agree the layouts and equipment provision within each room.

DKA have also recently seen the completion of another of our healthcare projects; the refurbishment of the Organic Wing at Pyrland House on the Wellsprings Hospital site in Taunton. This project has seen the transformation of the existing ward – which has a focus on caring for patients suffering from dementia – from being dark, poorly-lit and outdated into a bright and fresh facility (CGI pictured right).

The scheme – which provided all rooms with en-suite bathrooms, a dedicated de-escalation suite, new multi-function room and a much bigger staff base – has opened up areas of the ward to bring in more natural light and has been redecorated throughout.

Although DKA has a wealth of experience in creating dementia-friendly environments, this was our first project in a while that was for a dedicated Mental Health facility. The staff are very pleased with the results.

There have been no shortage of opportunities for other healthcare projects so far this year and we at DKA are optimistic about being able to share more of these developments in the near future.

Coronavirus / Covid-19

Please see below DKA’s current position (as of 17th March 2020, 15:00) in relation to the Coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreak.

We have considered the guidelines issues by the Government on 16th March and we wish to update you regarding our current position. Firstly, we wish to reassure everyone that we are very much fully resourced and open for business for existing and new clients.

With immediate effect we will not be able to attend site or meetings in person until the UK Government has lifted the non-essential travel restriction, unless the situation is considered an emergency. Emergency meeting attendance will only be agreed at Director level so please do not contact the day to day project teams in relation to requests for meeting attendance – please contact one of the Directors at DKA. The same restrictions will also apply to meetings within the office in that we do not propose hosting meetings within our office either so please do not travel to our offices without express prior agreement from a DKA Director.

We will continue to monitor all requests and deadlines, but please be aware that in some situations we may struggle to respond in the standard time frames if we are forced to relocate the majority of our staff to home working. This relocation is commencing from this week and we are seeking to mitigate the impact of this change to allow for as normal a service as possible to be maintained.

At the current time we anticipate being able to provide a ‘business as usual service’, with all current contact information (phone and e-mail) still relevant, however please note the comments above in relation to time scales. We will provide further updates if and when direct impacts in relation to Coronavirus / COVID-19 have additional or further impacts on our business continuity services.

New Building Opens At Bridgwater College Academy

DKA were delighted to attend the official opening of the Chevalley Building at Bridgwater College Academy, Parkway, Bridgwater on 27 February 2020.

The Academy was created in 2012 by the amalgamation of East Bridgwater Community School with Sedgemoor Manor Junior and Infants Schools and caters for pupils aged three to 16. We have been working with the College since 2013 developing a master plan that includes a new Heartland greenspace to link the three separate school buildings into a single integrated Campus and highlights opportunities for new or replacement accommodation to address the needs of the Academy. The Chevalley Building is the first of these new buildings and is named after the chair of governors Carole Chevalley in recognition of her energetic support in delivering the new building. It includes 10 science laboratories and six general classrooms, as well as a large library serving all ages and a grab-and-go dining facility. It also creates a new main entrance with good presence and accessibility from the street that will become the new public face of the Academy.

The building was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Best Educational Building category at the Building Excellence Awards.

Other work on the site that DKA has helped with has included diverting a public footpath away from the centre of the site, removal of high fences that separated the three former school precincts and construction of new sports pitches. More landscaping work will be required to complete the new Heartland but the construction of the Chevalley Building gives an exciting foretaste of how the completed Heartland will look and feel.

Application submitted for light industrial unit

A Reserved Matters application (ref P19/19409/RM) has been submitted to South Gloucestershire Council for a new light industrial unit in the Emersons Green East development.

The new building will provide a head office for a family-run specialist transport business. The two-storey elements accommodates reception, meeting rooms, offices and welfare facilities. This abuts 3no internal HGV storage bays and 1no washdown bay. The remaining site will be a combination of a hard surface yard for HGVs and staff parking. This will allow HGVs to manoeuvre safely within the site, avoiding blocking the approaching roads. Safe segregated access for operatives is to be provided along the north edge of the site.

The building responds to the master plan design guide, with a layering of cladding and brickwork to the north east corner, highlighting the main entrance.

A planning decision is expected in March 2020.

People Performance Centre

The People Performance Centre is a new gymnasium and fitness studio for Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains. Based within their Technical Centre in Brixworth, Northamptonshire, the building provides exercise facilities for one thousand members of staff. Partly submerged and covered with a green roof and full ‘living wall’ to look a part of the landscape, the modesty of the façade makes way for state-of-the-art technology within with specialist fitness equipment, immersive and centrally-controlled AV, punch bags mounted on purpose designed retractable framing system and all other fitness suite essentials.

The Centre was delivered on time and on budget. It delivered impressive air tightness results which contributed to the overall energy efficiency of the facility.

Read more about the People Performance Centre and some of the other projects DKA have delivered for Mercedes AMG HPP here.

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Brentry Primary School Opening

Brentry Primary School celebrated their official opening on Friday 6 September following a £2.5 million refurbishment delivered by DKA.

Works achieved practical completion on 30 August allowing staff enough time to set up the school ready for the return of the pupils to start their new academic year.

The refurbishment has been in planning for several years but work started in the summer of 2018. Since then the school has been stripped back to its structure with all internal and external finishes and services replaced along with some internal layout changes.

During the building work the school had been operating in temporary buildings located on part of their playing fields.

DKA were proud to be the delivery architects for this scheme, working with contractors Bray & Slaughter on this project that was funded by the Department for Education. The scheme sits proudly alongside a long list of Bristol school projects that DKA have been delivering since 1998.

Clerkenwell Design Week 2019

Clerkenwell, an area of central London, is home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. Every year, over three days at the end of May, Clerkenwell Design Week attracts 1000s* of people to showroom events, exhibitions, installations and talks. This year marks the 10th year of the festival and Kate and I once again made our way to London to see what’s new… We hopped off the tube at Farringdon, grabbed a guide and lanyard**, found a café and planned our route. This is where we ended up going: You can find... READ MORE

Planning Granted for Glendinning House School

Planning has been granted for Glendinning House School – a new two-storey school for students with Social Communication and Interaction needs including Autistic Spectrum Condition, aged from seven to 19.

The new school in Newton Abbot will create a foundation for curriculum learning, providing both indoor and outdoor environments that are sensitive to the needs of the pupils.

Divided into lower (KS2), middle (KS3) and upper (KS4) with a Post 16 Centre for KS5 each key stage has its own dedicated entrance with access to main school areas via restricted entries.

Externally the students will have the opportunity to learn through projects set in the context of nature and the outdoors, including horticulture and small animal care. It is further planned to offer areas for Forest School type activities with the school grounds landscaped in order to promote pupils physical and sensory development.

Every part of the design has been considered with the sensory needs of the pupils in mind creating an environment that supports learning.

HRH Princess Royal Opens New School Block

The HRH Princess Royal opened the new classroom block at Stonehenge School this week. DKA’s education expert and Senior Architect, Andy Batty, attended the event and had the honour of meeting Princess Anne.

The opening marks the conclusion of Phase 1 of the master plan project at Stonehenge School. Read more about the continued developments here.

DKA win Creative Bath Award 2019

DKA scooped the top prize in the Architecture category at the Creative Bath Awards 2019.

The event was attended by all of the finest creative minds in the city and celebrated the great talent that Bath has to offer.

In delivering the award, the judging panel noted that; “DKA is an impressive practice, producing beautiful, functional work. They also have a great ethos of sharing knowledge and mentoring students. A feel-good company with soul.”

DKA would like to thank Creative Bath for the award and all of their efforts in organising the event.

DKA Award Winner 2019 - Heui Sung Kim

The winner of this year’s DKA Award for digital illustration is Heui Sung Kim. Selected from the University of Bath’s RIBA Part 1 Architecture end of year show, Heui Sung’s Piano Sanctuary scooped the top prize having impressed DKA Director Fabien Coupat.

Click here to look through the full collection of Heui Sung’s Piano Sanctuary illustrations. Many congratulations to Heui Sung from all of us at DKA.

More Award Nominations for Digital Mansion

Digital Mansion Corsham has been shortlisted as a finalist in three categories for the West of England LABC Building Excellence Awards. The digital hub will be in the running for the ‘Best Large Commercial Project’, ‘Best Inclusive Building’ and ‘Best Change of Use of an Existing Building or Conversion’. The awards night takes place on 12 July and DKA would like to thank LABC for recognising this project across all of these categories.

The nominations follow on from the building being shortlisted for the 2019 South West Built Environment Awards in the ‘Preservation and Rejuvenation’ category.


How to Design a Reception - Part 1

For many organisations, reception is where that first impression is made. A good reception will reinforce your brand – in terms of style and service – and will set expectations for what’s to come. It can also influence your mood: imagine how you would feel after arriving at reception for a meeting and not being sure where to go, not being able to catch the eye of the receptionist* and of being kept waiting with no-where to sit and nothing to look at but a blank wall. That mood will carry through to your meeting and, however courteous your host... READ MORE

Awards nomination hat-trick

DKA’s hard work over the last year has been recognised with a hat-trick of award nominations.

The 2019 South West Built Environment Awards have shortlisted DKA projects in two categories; Digital Mansion Corsham for the Preservation & Rejuvenation Award and AWIC for the Building Project of the Year Award. The winners will be revealed on 14 June at Ashton Gate Stadium.

DKA have also been announced as finalists in the Architecture category of the Creative Bath Awards. This is the third consecutive year in which DKA have been nominated in this category which illustrates the excellent work that the team continues to do in and around Bath.

Many thanks to both Constructing Excellence South West and Creative Bath for the support and recognition.

Melksham Community Campus

Following a four year hiatus, Melksham Community Campus is keeping DKA busy again. The scope has been revised and a new planning application was submitted in March 2019, marking an important milestone for providing state of the art community facilities within Melksham town centre.

Located on land adjacent to the Grade II listed Melksham House, the new campus will occupy the site of the previous Melksham Town Football Club. The new Community Campus will provide a six court sports hall, a six lane 25m swimming pool with spectator seating, a learner pool, a 75 stations fitness suite and a dance studio. The project will also include a café, a library, community rooms and offices for Melksham Without Parish Council.

A decision on the planning application is expected by the end of August 2019. Construction work is expected to start in early 2020 and completed by mid-2021.

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New Photos for Corsham Digital Mansion

New photos are now on the Corsham Digital Mansion project page. This converted and extended Grade II listed building will provide a creative hub for digital start-up businesses. Delivered for Wiltshire Council the previously vacant site offers small units with associated meeting rooms and breakout areas.

Merry Christmas

It has been a special year at DKA; celebrating our 25th anniversary, launching our new website, welcoming seven new members of staff and taking on exciting new projects at the same time as seeing the completion of others.

Instead of Christmas cards, we like to send an e-card and make a charitable donation. This year our chosen charity is Dorothy House Hospice Care.

The whole team would like take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support over the year and wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Best wishes,

The DKA team

Bath Property Awards Finalists

We are thrilled to have been selected as finalists in the Architect category for the inaugural Bath Property Awards.

2018 is a special year for DKA – celebrating our 25th anniversary, working on some incredible projects and launching a new website – so to be on the shortlist for this gong too really is special.

Best of luck to all finalists and we look forward to seeing you there.

DKA Award Winner 2018 - Jonathan Tam

Once again, DKA headed down to the University of Bath’s RIBA Part 1 Architecture end of year show to award one lucky recipient DKA Award for best digital illustration.

After careful deliberation the DKA judging panel decided to award this years prize to Jonathan Tam for his Fencing Academy.

Congratulations, Jonathan, from all of us at DKA!

Attracting the next generation of engineers

For our first project at the University of Bristol, DKA worked with John Perkins Construction (JPC) to design and deliver phased refurbishment and interior design improvements to provide much needed additional teaching and research space for the Faculty of Engineering.

The refurbishment of the 1950s ‘Queen’s Building’ included remodelling the main reception, creating a new café, student study rooms, open plan offices, student support functions, general laboratories, break-out spaces and improved welfare facilities. The scheme also added greater flexibility and improved (and more inclusive) welfare facilities. DKA were lead designer and Principal Designer, managing the stakeholder meetings and coordinating the design.

The once dark and cramped main entrance has been transformed; original timber panelling and stone-faced walls were retained alongside a welcoming new reception area, including a showcase feature wall displaying typical engineering materials. The café and Student Study Rooms (SSRs) enjoy 24-hour access with large existing windows providing natural light to the space for meeting and eating. Similarly, the office spaces utilise the building’s high ceilings and large windows to maximum effect. Glazed partitions in strategic locations increase surveillance and suspended acoustic rafts manage the internal acoustic environment.

The new design provides a flexible, creative learning environment suitable for teaching, seminars, design sessions and group working. It will help attract and inspire the next generation of engineers.

Celebrating 25 years in style

It was with an overwhelming sense of pride that DKA Founder and Director, David Kent addressed staff and invited guests at the DKA summer garden party this month – a milestone event to celebrate the DKA journey over the last 25 years. The Holburne Museum in Sydney Pleasure Gardens was the backdrop to the garden party themed event in which Directors welcomed over 100 staff, clients, friends and supporters to raise a glass to the last 25 years and toast the next 25! Guests partied the evening away with Aperol Spritz and Garden of Eden cocktails, a fire pit BBQ... READ MORE

Brentry Primary School Refurbishment

This month, we are delighted to receive confirmation of funding from the ESFA (Education Skills Funding Agency) for the complete recladding, refurbishment and redecoration of Brentry Primary School, a unique and popular school in north Bristol.

The existing 210 place primary school for pupils aged 4-11 was built in the 1960’s. Despite substantial refurbishments and extensions over time, the ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted-rated school falls well below current building standards. The project designed and developed with Bristol-based contractors Bray & Slaughter will address as many of these as possible within the confines of the existing building to bring the school up to date and an outmoded building to life.

The project will transform comfort levels within the school with new heating and ventilation systems and a highly insulated roof and windows with reflective glass to address solar gain.

Senior Architect, Adrian Abbs said: ‘The works will improve accessibility and fire safety, and new fittings and finishes will revitalise the interior to extensively improve the quality of the teaching and learning environment for both pupils and staff.’

Work will start on site this summer, commencing with the delivery of a temporary school located on the school playing fields before the end of term.

The refurbished building will be fully operational for the 2019-20 academic school year.

DKA 25th Anniversary

Last night, DKA Architects marked their 25th anniversary with a summer garden party to raise a glass to the last 25 years and toast the next 25!

The Holburne Museum in Sydney Pleasure Gardens was the backdrop to the garden party themed event in which DKA welcomed staff, clients, friends and supporters to celebrate DKA’s journey over the last 25 years.

Guests partied the evening away with Garden of Eden cocktails made with Bath Gin, a fire pit BBQ and lawn games including croquet, giant Jenga, noughts and crosses and a coconut shy. Bath busker, Steve Robinson, provided the musical entertainment.

The evening included speeches from directors David Kent, James Bastable, Alex Bell and Fabien Coupat and the cutting of a giant numeral 25 cake in the signature DKA maroon and blue designed by Sandra Monger Cakes.

Founder and director, David Kent said: ‘Our success lies in the quality of our relationships and we would like to thank our talented team and supportive clients for helping us make this happen.’

‘When we set the studio up at the Malt House in 1993 it looked very different to today. We were a small group of architects working at drawing boards and filing everything in cupboards. The age of computers and computer-aided design was just dawning so DKA’s development has mirrored the remarkable changes in communications and design technologies that have happened in recent times. Today we no longer have drawing boards – though drawing by hand remains a core skill – and have grown into a team of 25 busy architects and interior designers. Throughout this time the Malt House has been a great place to work and has proven itself adaptable to the changing demands we have placed on it. We often use it as an example to our clients of a successful adaptation of an historic building, with an enjoyable open plan studio space that encourages us to do our best! We work in most building sectors and have developed a specialism for high-tech engineering and manufacturing buildings; we currently have a strong order book of projects across the UK for a number of major European and global companies as well as a range of education, healthcare and leisure projects closer to home.’

Old Sarum Primary School shortlisted for LABC Building Award

Old Sarum Primary School has been shortlisted as a regional finalist in both the Best Public Service Building and Best Educational Building categories at the West of England LABC Building Excellence Awards 2018.

Designed by DKA and constructed by Morgan Sindall, the school’s extension was completed earlier this year and echoes the architectural language of the existing buildings.

The building was part of a major £2.6m expansion project which has allowed the school to double in size to 420 pupils. The new two-storey, steel-framed building provides eight new classrooms, a studio and a technology room.

Senior Architect, Jon Fifield said: A key challenge during construction was working within a live school environment. The outcome has been worth persevering with and the school are reportedly thrilled with their new addition.’’

Read more about the project here and watch a video about the project here.

IAAPS the talk of the automotive town

The Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) for the University of Bath has received international coverage in the latest issue of ‘Automotive Testing Technology International’ magazine.

Scheduled to open in 2020, the facility, designed collaboratively by DKA and Stride Treglown Architects, is predicted to compete ‘on a global scale to deliver future generations of major powertrain technologies’.

You can read the full article here – subscription is not necessary.

Read more about DKA’s involvement in the project here.

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DKA Creative Bath Awards finalists again!

We are over the moon to be finalists in the ‘Architect and Building’ category of the Creative Bath Awards for the second year running.

Creativity and innovation is in no short supply in Bath, so to be on the shortlist for this award two years on the bounce is no mean feat at all.

As ever, the competition will be fierce, but we’ll be eagerly looking forward to 14th June to rub shoulders with Bath’s finest and raise a glass to all we’ve achieved.

Corsham Digital Mansion construction begins

Yesterday saw a significant milestone in the refurbishment and extension of the Grade-II listed Corsham Mansion House. Just over a year after receiving planning permission, the steelwork for the new extension arrived onsite and construction has officially begun.

DKA are working with Beard for Wiltshire Council on the project which will see an exciting revival of the large 18th Century listed building which has been left vacant for many years. Once completed it will be used to support the growth of local digital start-up businesses with incubator units, a board room, seminar space, meeting rooms and social spaces.

The extension is of a sympathetic modern design – a contemporary building which responds to its context and neighbour in both scale and materiality with considered connections to the main building.

DKA are hiring

We’re busy! In the last two weeks we’ve welcomed a new Architect AND Architectural Assistant onto the DKA staff and yet, we are still hiring!

Are you a Technician with Revit training living in the Bath area? We would love to hear from you.

We offer competitive salaries, flexible working, training benefits and an attractive studio setting. If you would like to work with us please send your CV to DKA is an equal opportunities employer.

DKA are Bath Life Awards Finalists

We are thrilled to have been announced as a Finalist in the Business Services category of the Bath Life Awards 2018.

2017 was an excellent year for DKA and we are all extremely proud of the work we did – so it was nice to have our effort recognised.

Roll on the awards ceremony on 1st March.

Merry Christmas from DKA

It has been a fantastic year here at DKA and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support.

Instead of Christmas cards, we like to send an ecard and make a charitable donation. This year our chosen charity is Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Devizes.

We would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year.

Best wishes,

The team at DKA

DKA and Stride Treglown appointed for £60m University of Bath automotive research project

DKA and Stride Treglown have been selected as the architects to design the University of Bath’s Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems.

The Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) will be a global centre of excellence, delivering transformational research and innovation into advanced propulsion systems.

Located at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, IAAPS will lead the development of future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles and attract sector-related businesses to the region, generating economic growth.

DKA will apply specialist automotive expertise to develop and coordinate the design of the complex testing facilities. Stride Treglown are lead consultant, designing the overall building envelope, office spaces and site-wide development.

Planning consent was submitted in early 2018 with IAAPS scheduled to open in early 2020.

Project Lead and Vice-President (Implementation) at the University of Bath, Professor Steve Egan, said: “We are delighted to have chosen Stride Treglown and DKA as the architects for this very significant research facility. IAAPS will enable the University to build upon its 40 years of automotive research excellence in collaboration with some of the world’s leading companies.

“We are really pleased to have been able to appoint architects with the relevant experience who will help us realise our ambition and design a facility that will help ensure the UK not only maintains, but expands its global position within the automotive sector.”

James Bastable, Director at DKA, said: “This is a world class facility and one we are all very excited to be involved with. The testing and research and development spaces will be a major component in the success of the facility and we look forward to working with the University of Bath and their industry and supply chain partners to ensure that the project exceeds expectations.”

James Horner, Associate Architect at Stride Treglown, added: “We’re very excited to have the opportunity to be working with the University again, this time to build a new home for world-class engineering expertise. We look forward to applying our recent experience of designing other similar facilities and our considerable user-centred design expertise to this important scheme.”

Other consultants from the University’s framework include Turner & Townsend, Project Management, Fulkers, Construction Cost Consultants, AECOM, M&E Services, and WSP Structural and Civil Engineers.

The Institute will exploit the engineering expertise of the University of Bath for the benefit of the UK’s automotive industry. IAAPS will stimulate over £67m in additional automotive research investment by 2025, creating an additional turnover of £800 million for the UK automotive sector and supporting nearly 1,900 new highly productive jobs.

Specialist facilities will make IAAPS a centre of excellence for training and skills development in automotive engineering, supporting new Apprenticeships, Honours Degrees, Masters and Doctoral courses, helping to address the engineering skills shortage facing the UK automotive sector.

IAAPS will also support the development of a much larger and more competitive automotive business cluster in the South West by providing access to its state-of-the art facilities to regional start-ups and small to medium-sized companies.

Read more about the recent funding awarded to IAAPS at

WATCH – Professor Steve Egan discusses the importance of IAAPS and its benefits on both a local and national level –

DKA become Cyber Essentials Plus certified

We are very pleased to announce that after a thorough auditing of our internet facing infrastructure – including firewalls, routers and office-hosted systems – DKA are now Cyber Essentials Plus certified.

The Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation was achieved after a technical review of DKA’s workstations by an external Certifying Body.

Cyber Essentials Plus is a more thorough assessment of the organisation and, as a result, may provide greater security assurance.

Cyber Essentials are committed to helping businesses protect themselves and their clients from the continually evolving range of threats to their cyber security.

Improving our defences means we have made a strategic decision which will benefit our whole business including the security of our team and all of our clients.

For more information please visit:

Milestone at Queen’s Building, University of Bristol

The current phase of our improvement works for the Faculty of Engineering has successfully completed and handed over to the University of Bristol. This phase of works provides high-quality social areas and office spaces to facilitate teaching and research growth. The revitalised main entrance is a particular gem; original timber panelling and stone-faced walls are retained while a new reception is cohesively integrated, including a showcase feature wall displaying typical engineering materials.

The phased refurbishment and interior design works spread over three floors in the centre of the northern wing of the existing 1950’s Queen’s Building. The scope includes the main reception, a new café, student study rooms, faculty offices, student support functions, general laboratories, break-out spaces and improved toilet facilities to be more inclusive to all genders.

The project will make a transformative difference to the staff, student and visitor experience!

You can see more photos here.

Hello Adam

It’s been a busy time in the office but we’re excited to finally have a chance to introduce you to our new Communications & Graphics Co-ordinator – Adam Wilkinson!

Adam has been learning the ropes and getting stuck into projects around the office for nearly a month now and has quickly learnt how to juggle multiple tasks at once.

He joins the DKA team having worked as a graphic designer for The Bristol CableThe Good Transport Plan for Bristol and at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He has experience developing brands and expanding their reach through print, web and social media.

In his spare time, Adam is a keen record collector and gig-goer, plays football three times a week and is trying to learn Italian in between (he’s hoping to have it nailed in time for his wedding in Italy in summer 2018).

Field Marshal

The quantity of electronic information and complexity of IT systems can quickly combine to overwhelm and befuddle any hardworking professional. Despite most company servers having enormous capacity, individuals’ C drives are packed full of work documents and emails, ‘organised’ into Escher-like folder structures that no-one else understands. Furthermore, your IT department have another great idea to rationalise your contacts database (again) but the finance department refuse to play ball as their software only runs on XP. Stop and imagine a utopian future when you have all your project data, all your business contacts, all project correspondence, all drawing issues and... READ MORE
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RIBA Conservation Register

We are pleased to announce that Alex Bell, one of DKA’s directors, has been added to the RIBA Conservation Register. Alex attended the recent 4-day course held in Bath which focused on the underlying principles of conservation theory and practical applications. This included an explanation of the ICOMOS principles, the methods one must use to consider the significance of a heritage asset and useful research techniques. It also covered the common causes of decay in old buildings and how it is best to approach repairs for a range of traditional materials. On the last day we visited Bath’s Octagon Chapel and Bath Abbey to learn about the Footprint Project.

The RIBA Conservation Register has three levels, with the highest two categories reserved for experienced conservation architects. Alex will enter the register as CR or Conservation Registrant, which demonstrates a good working knowledge of the key aspects of conservation, able to exercise judgement over the complexity of problems associated with old buildings.

DKA have worked on many listed buildings in the past and are currently refurbishing and extending Corsham Mansion House for Wiltshire Council. For this project DKA researched and compiled the Heritage Statement as part of the listed building application which was approved earlier this year. It is hoped Alex’s new knowledge will help this project through it next stages, as well as future commissions. Stewardship of our built heritage can often seem at odds with the need for re-use and adaptations to old buildings. If done carefully and respectfully there is no reason why innovative design cannot emerge from our familiar historic surroundings using traditional and contemporary building methods.

Hello Elspeth

Hello September, hello autumn and hello to a new face in our studio.

Elspeth has joined our team!

Elspeth studied at the University of Bath and the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA), Cardiff University.

She has worked in both small firms and a large international multidisciplinary design practice. This varied experience has generated adaptable skills in a broad range of project sectors including; Education/ Higher Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure/ Transport.

Whenever time allows you will find Elspeth swimming, biking, boating or running so she’s already signed up for the DKA lunchtime running club.

Fun fact, Elspeth won the DKA Award in 2009

We’re really looking forward to working with her and adding her skills to our knowledge base.


When songwriter & producer Brian Wilson played the rest of the Beach Boys the songs that would become the Pet Sounds album, they were distinctly underwhelmed. Brian plugged away at the piano presenting the sketches for each song that would become their classic album – but the Boys were not impressed. They thought he’d flipped (which indeed he did, but not until a whole while later). Right now he was at the top of his game, so what was the problem? As he played, Brian (and only Brian) could hear what wasn’t there: where the percussion would sit, how the... READ MORE

BREEAM Associates

Congratulations to  Maggie, Caroline and Jill,on becoming BREEAM Associates.

Here at DKA we are passionate about sustainability and we have jumped at the chance to enhance our BREEAM knowledge. Maggie, Caroline and Jill currently support the BREEAM process day to day by ensuring appropriate consideration of the issues throughout the design and construction process.

This new qualification from the BRE has armed them with the knowledge to effectively add value to BREEAM assessed schemes whilst also completing their usual project roles.

DKA Award winner 2017 - Scott Chen

DKA is proud to support the RIBA Part I architecture students at the University of Bath. To recognise the students hard work, a small DKA judging panel takes the yearly pilgrimage to the University in search of the best computer generated graphics for the DKA Award.

Based on the graphics exhibited, the panel chose Scott Chen as this years winner!

Congratulations Scott from all at DKA!

Project Description: “As a historic market town, the market is an important character in the memory of Dorchester which defines the town as a centralization of trade and a place for people to meet in the county.  Nevertheless the global decline of the typology since the last century is unfavorable for the town, causing Dorchester to become a less popular destination and a place losing its identity. The project aims to bring the market back to the town in a more central position to regenerate Dorchester. Evoked by the Roman history of the town, the project is inspired by the Roman Forum and aims to explore the social meaning behind the marketplace, proposing a typology that integrates market and social programs including a community hub, theatre, gallery, auction house, and cafe. The building will become a home for different community groups in Dorchester, and the space will hold a variety of events, lectures, shows, musicals and exhibitions which encourages possibilities to happen. Regarding markets as a theatre of life, the scheme intends to create a stage to celebrate the interaction of people, becoming a social hub in Dorchester for people to shop and meet in the new Century.”

A new direction for DKA

At the end of June, we said goodbye to Director Simon Lawrence who decided to retire after nearly 22 years’ of service, remaining Director David Kent who founded the Practice in 1993 will be joined on the board by three of the team who have proven their commitment to the Practice and their willingness to lead the team of 22 talented individuals.

James Bastable joined DKA in 2006, Alex Bell joined DKA in 2002 and Fabien Coupat who joined the team in 2001 were all promoted to the position of Director on 1st July.

We asked Alex Bell what he thought about the changes at DKA

“On behalf of myself, James and Fabien I’d like to say how pleased and excited we are to be taking on the role of director.

We have each been part of DKA’s management team for a number of years, most recently as Associate Directors. This role prepared us in aspects of practice management and leadership which we have been able to execute over the last 18 months, becoming increasingly involved in bidding for work, business development and finances.

We each have different but compatible skills which will help with the necessary division of duties and leading specialisms through the whole practice. Having each been schooled in the ‘DKA way’ by David Kent and previous directors, we all believe in the importance of continuing the quality service and innovation which our clients’ trust and respect us for. July marks both the end of a 3 year succession plan and the start of an exciting new phase in DKA’s future.”

We wish them all the very best of luck.

DKA and T&S Creative Communications

Digital Gaggle is Bristol’s biggest and most popular marketing conference, held bi-annually at The Colston Hall. Digital Gaggle is hosted by Bristol’s top marketing agency Noisy Little Monkey and are supported by sponsors at each event.

At the most recent conference in March, T&S Creative Communications were not only sponsors but were offering a magnificent 200 hours of ‘free creative’ . We were one of the lucky organisations to receive 20 hours of this generous offer. We’ve met up with the T&S team at their office in Bristol to chat about what makes DKA tick, as well as covering other serious design related topics such as the correct pronunciation of Nutella and Adidas… We may have gone off course once or twice!

The T&S team are great and have proposed a creative workshop at our studio in June where we will talk all things creative with them and our team.

We’re really excited to welcome them… watch this space.

Sea Mills Children’s Centre site progress

5 years after completing the renovation and extension to Sea Mills Primary School, DKA and Skanska are back on site creating a new Children’s Centre alongside the school . The three classroom building for 2 and 3 year olds is a mixture of an existing 1927 school building and two new modular extensions at the rear. Following some partial demolition, foundations were prepared for the modular units which were built off site and craned into position over the Easter break. These extensions help bring the building up to modern standards for physical space, toilet facilities, access and support functions.

Now installed, they will be clad externally and receive internal finishes. The former classrooms on the front elevation have been converted into a variety of uses including a children’s kitchen, staff room and Family Support spaces.

The building also has two lettable training rooms for use by the wider community.

The centre is due for completion in August 2017.


DKA finalists in the first Creative Bath Awards!

We’re so excited, and we just can’t hide it!
As soon as we heard Creative Bath were holding their own awards ceremony we jumped at the opportunity to nominate ourselves for the coveted ‘Architect and Building’ award.

We love the city we work in and we love to support Bath events and local businesses whenever possible.

We’re also really proud of the outstanding design work our creative team produces but above everything else David and Becky love an excuse to get dressed up and hit the town.

These brand new awards ticked all the boxes and we just had to be involved.

We can’t wait for the 8th June and we look forward to seeing you all there for fun and fizz!

Dance Studio Funding Granted

The proposed Dance Studio and Classroom block at Sheldon School in Chippenham has been granted funding and a contractor is currently being appointed with the intention to start work on site in July.

The new dance studio will be a great resource for the school and local community, and thanks to everyone involved.

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Castle House gets awarded CQC Outstanding

We are pleased to learn that Castle House Nursing Home in Keinton Mandeville, Somerset, has just received an Outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission.

DKA designed a new extension providing 17 additional bedrooms, a new entrance, lounge and external landscaping along with refurbishment of parts of the existing home that was completed last year, increasing the home’s capacity to 45 rooms.

We understand that CQC only award Outstanding to 0.5% of Nursing / Care homes in the country and are very proud that 2 of the homes we have designed additional facilities have then gone on to achieve this.

The other being The Old Vicarage in Leigh, Dorset, where a few years ago we designed an extension to provide 8 additional bedrooms, extended the communal Lounge and Dining Room, along with creating a new kitchen and refurbishing parts of the existing building.

All at DKA would like to congratulate Jo Marshall and her staff at Castle House for their hard work to achieve this.


DKA become Cyber Essentials Certified

We’re proud to announce that after a stringent audit of our IT and data network, DKA are now Cyber Essentials certified.

Cyber Essentials are committed to helping businesses protect themselves and their clients from the continually evolving range of threats to their cyber security.

Improving our defences means we have made a strategic decision which will benefit our whole business including the security of our team and all of our clients.

For more information please visit:

DKA support Construction Live project

DKA are delighted to be a partner of Bridgwater & Taunton College for their Construction Live project. Construction Live gives university students the opportunity to experience real life construction at the Construction Skills Innovation Centre at Cannington.

This unique centre, designed by DKA in 2013, provides all manner of construction training including steel fixing training for Hinkley Point, as well as general mechanisation skills training. Various universities including Brighton, Loughborough and UWE have signed up their students for a week of hands-on construction including building a WC block, a short section of road, a culvert and parking bays with external lighting.

DKA have helped design the various elements and produced construction drawing for the students to quantify materials and then build from. The WC block incorporates a number different construction methods to give the students a range of new skills when they leave. We fully support this effort to introduce students to practical construction training and help tackle the industry-wide skills gap.


Needham House Show Flat Opening

The New Year sees the opening of the show home at Needham House, Devizes – the new Extra Care Housing scheme designed by DKA for Wiltshire Council. The sun came out for us as Councillors Jonathon Seed and Sue Evans cut the green ribbon and explored one of the scheme’s 47 apartments.

Needham House is the first of a number of schemes to be built by Wiltshire Council to provide additional housing purpose-designed for over 55s, with a communal Lounge, Dining room, activity rooms, treatment room, landscaped gardens and staff & support facilities.

There will be 39 two-bedroom and 8 one-bedroom apartments, each with its own balcony or terrace area.  All apartments have an open-plan living area and kitchen, spacious hallway and en-suite wetroom, which are designed to accommodate the resident’s changing needs over time.

The show home has been fully fitted-out to illustrate that specialist housing does not have to feel institutional and reflects the lifestyle many of us hope we will be able to enjoy in our retirement. DKA’s Interior Designer, Rebecca, has thoroughly enjoyed working on the project – even getting her hands dirty planting up the garden troughs!

Needham House is due to be completed by late spring, with both shared-ownership and rented apartments available. The scheme is being marketed by Humberts estate agents.

Mercedes-Benz Watford reaches Practical Completion

A six-week fit-out project at Mercedes-Benz Watford has been completed on time, which meant it was ready for Christmas.

The project reconfigured the first floor offices spaces including a new boardroom and sales hub with better visibility of the showroom. At showroom level a new AMG display has been created. The dealership was an original DKA design dating from 2002. We were able to bring our knowledge from the original design to help the client maximise the space for the new offices. DKA were novated to ARJ Construction for the construction phase and helped to coordinate direct suppliers for Mercedes-Benz including furniture and AV equipment.

Corsham Digital Mansion

DKA have submitted a planning and listed building application for the refurbishment and extension of Corsham Mansion for Wiltshire Council. The project will convert the vacant Grade 2 listed building into a centre for digital start-up businesses, offering small units with associated meeting rooms and breakout areas.

The design seeks to make as few changes to the internal layout of the building whilst improving the access, welfare facilities and renewing the interior finishes. The extension provides a new entrance, event space, lift and staircase. A glass link connects to the existing building on ground and first floor. Another new secondary entrance provides access to a seminar room. We hope the project will be on site from mid-2017.

Centenary Innovation Centre reaches completion

DKA have continued our long standing relationship with global engineering consultancy Ricardo, with the completion of the ‘Centenary Innovation Centre’.

The building was commissioned in 2015 as part of Ricardo’s Centenary celebrations, recording 100 years of highly successful operations for Ricardo.

The building will act as a focal point for Ricardo customers and employee’s alike and will provide space to show case Ricardo projects and services as well as accommodate conferences, functions and staff meetings.

The space was designed to be flexible and adaptive and a high quality exhibition style fit out followed the construction stage. The exhibits celebrate some of Ricardo’s most well known successes of the last 100 years. Some of their more recent projects include the development of the JCB Dieselmax, current holder of the land speed record for diesel-powered vehicles, and the manufacture of McLaren Automotive’s engines.

Sheldon School Dance Studio gets planning permission

DKA were appointed to design a new dance studio and classroom block for Sheldon School in Chippenham.

The design was agreed with the client, granted planning permission and tendered to local contractors in the latter half of this year. The chosen tender has been submitted to the Education Funding Agency and, if approved construction should start on the project in July 2017.

Merry Christmas from the team

It’s been a fantastic year here at DKA and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support.

Instead of Christmas cards, we like to send an ecard and make a charitable donation. This year our chosen charity is Unicef

We would like wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year.

Best wishes,

The team at DKA

P.S Keep an eye out for our New Year newsletter coming to an inbox near you soon. If you’re not on the newsletter list, you can sign up HERE! 

CQC signs off new Castle House extension

Great news for Jo Marshall and her team at Castle House Nursing Home, last week Care Quality Commission signed off their new extension. DKA designed the 17 bedroom extension to the existing 30 bed nursing home, also creating a new entrance and lounge area. The scheme also provides a bigger car park and new landscaping to the gardens.

Work is continuing on site with making some improvements within the existing building to improve a number of facilities including the provision of a new Health & Beauty Treatment room.

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DKA Presents | by David Yeates

Every fortnight at DKA we take it in turns to present something design based to the whole team and we’re calling it DKA presents. Presenting to our peers means we get the opportunity to practice our presenting skills and share our passions with our colleagues. We get anonymous feedback from the audience to help us develop our presenting style and everyone gets to eat pizza! So all in all, everyone looks forward to every other Wednesday lunchtime! We interviewed David Yeates to tell us about his recent presentation for the blog. Tell us about your topic My topic for this... READ MORE

DKA Bath Chronicle Business Awards 2016 finalists

We’re delighted to be finalists for the 2016 Bath Chronicle Business Awards for the category of Best Place to Work!

We think DKA is the Best Place to Work and we’ve been making more conscious effort to promote a healthy work environment and embrace Health and Wellbeing.

Recently, we were awarded the Workplace Wellbeing Charter, National Award for England. We were the first company in our region to receive this award and it was a great honour. It recognises our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our team and covers everything from mental health to promoting healthy eating and exercise.

We have also recently encouraged more of the DKA team out on our lunchtime runs. We run as a team for health and wellbeing; we’re just your average workforce using our spare time to increase our fitness level while pushing for and promoting a great event, oh and occasionally running event like The Bath Half to raise money for charity!

However, we do look forward to ditching the gym kit for posh frocks at the awards ceremony on the 22nd September.


Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Furse-Mason

In the first of this year’s DKA weddings, Rebecca Furse married Tom Mason at the Temple of Apollo at Stourhead in Wiltshire. Unlike the days either side, the 27th of June was a beautifully sunny day and the wedding party were able to enjoy wandering around the lovely gardens.


Rebecca and Tom’s next project will be decorating their house and they’re very grateful to DKA for their Anthropologie voucher, which Rebecca is itching to spend!

Bath Bike Trail

We’re proud to be one of over 50 businesses in Bath taking part in the Cycle Trail welcoming The Tour of Britain to Bath.

Thousands of spectators are expected to watch Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain as it finishes on Royal Avenue, below the iconic Royal Crescent, on Thursday September 8.

Businesses will be displaying red, white and blue bikes outside or inside their premises for three weeks from Thursday 18

A bicycle trail map showing the locations of all the bicycles is available, encouraging residents and visitors to explore the city. You can download the trail map here: (we’re no.18, don’t forget to give us a wave!)

The trail has been organised by Bath & North East Somerset Council, working with local voluntary groups and businesses. Julian House, the Princes Trust and Bath Rugby Foundation provided volunteers to help paint 40 bikes with paint supplied by Rabart – Davies of Bath.

Enter, Stranger! 

The other afternoon I was stationed at the front desk and answered the front door to a chap I didn’t know from a bar of soap. He had a large oil painting with him and was reluctant to leave without palming it off on somebody. Your correspondent’s explanation that there is another business at The Malthouse, albeit down stairs from us and through a different front door, was drawn out and painful. The rest of the DKA crowd listened with mild amusement as I slowly reasoned that yes, this was the right building…but no, he wouldn’t find the lady in... READ MORE

DKA Presents | by Alex Bell

Every fortnight at DKA we take it in turns to present something design based to the whole team and we’re calling it DKA presents. Presenting to our peers means we get the opportunity to practice our presenting skills and share our passions with our colleagues. We get anonymous feedback from the audience to help us develop our presenting style and everyone gets to eat pizza! So all in all, everyone looks forward to every other Wednesday lunchtime! We asked Alex to tell us about his recent presentation for the blog: I decided to use my interest in astronomy and astrophotography... READ MORE

National Don't Step On A Bee Day

For us honeybees, six not three is the magic number. It’s the amount of sides each of our cells in the hive have. Having six sides creates the best shape for honey production because they require less wax and can hold more honey, and we all know, the honey makes the money! The hexagonal cells are used to house larvae, as well as store honey, nectar and pollen. How about that George Clarke? I think that’s a pretty ‘amazing space’. When beekeepers extract our hard earnt honey from our hives, the comb is easily left intact, though beekeepers sell honey comb... READ MORE

Travel to Work Study Take II

The team at DKA were pleased to be asked for the second year to take part in a Travel to Work study organised by Universities of Bath Bristol and Swansea.


The chosen few were asked to wear pedometers and GPS trackers for a week and completed a diary to monitor their travelling habits. The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s Public Health Research Programme.

Dr Who makes surprise appearance at cub camp

Wiltshire West District’s Doctor Who Cub Camp 10-12th of June 2016 The thirteenth regeneration of Dr who made a brief appearance at the Wiltshire West, District cub camp at the weekend, whisking the cubs away in the Tardis to the siege of Mafeking in 1899 where Baden Powel and a thousand or so inhabitants defended the town against 8000 Boers. Dr Who rallied an array of deadly aliens to the cause, all of whom proved to be remarkably incompetent, requiring cub scouts to the save the day, and through an ironic paradox that broke almost every rule in the known,... READ MORE

DKA Presents | The “Desert of England” by Adrian Abbs

Every fortnight at DKA we take it in turns to present something design based to the whole team and we’re calling it DKA presents. Presenting to our peers means we get the opportunity to practice our presenting skills and share our passions with our colleagues. We get anonymous feedback from the audience to help us develop our presenting style and everyone gets to eat pizza! So all in all, everyone looks forward to every other Wednesday lunchtime! We asked Adrian to tell us about his recent presentation for the blog: “Whilst visiting friends on the south coast this February we... READ MORE
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My Work Experience | by Imogen Cartwright

Since I was young I have always wanted to pursue a career in design and architecture or design engineering was ideal due to my love of designing. Enrolling in an architect’s office for work experience would be perfect in acting as a springboard to my career development and would really benefit me in the future. It would also allow me to see what an architect does on a daily basis and would then allow me to see if I would like to pursue a career in it. The reason why I picked DKA is because it would allow me to... READ MORE

DKA Award Winner 2016 - Luke Gordon

DKA is proud to support the RIBA Part I architecture students at the University of Bath. To recognise the students hard work, a small DKA judging panel takes the yearly pilgrimage to the University in search of the best computer generated graphics for the DKA Award.

Based on the graphics exhibited, the panel chose Luke Gordon as this years winner!

Congratulations Luke from all at DKA!

Project description:The story of Chepstow’s adaptation to change is portrayed through its collage of materials spliced between quaint cottages, historic mills and dramatic monoliths.  The conservation policies of CADW, (the Welsh Government’s historic environment service) sees historical buildings as “heritage assets” to be preserved with an “anxious care” typically of Ruskin’s influence.  This design project questions the sometimes stifling platform upon which Wales’ conservation policies rest and proposes extracting an alternative approach with a Ruskinian touch, to allow Chepstow’s historic buildings to flow with their users’ changing needs.

This project investigates the role of an architectural intervention to act as stimuli for the regeneration of Piercefield House, a long neglected manor designed by Sir John Soane.  The facility’s workshops for alternative conservation, restoration and training through the creative use of timber will see form demoted and supplanted by narrative, use and material to allow Chepstow’s historic buildings to be “re-appropriated” for modern life.

The scheme proposes a series of tectonic strategies that utilise honest, locally sourced materials to create an architecture that revitalises existing fabric, compliments landscape and has a valued agenda within the community.

Exercise is bad for you.

True to my Welsh origins I like my rugby. Whilst enjoying the proper contact stuff I considered touch rugby, supposedly the gentler cousin of the full contact game, a safer and more responsible alternative. I’ve played at our local club regularly for about the past 8 years thinking it was out of harm’s way. A run out once a week, a bit of banter and some social time afterwards. A good form of exercise and a weekly antidote to the stresses and strains of life that had until now served its purpose. As a big man it was nice not... READ MORE

Constructing Excellence South West Conference

I guess every industry has its acronyms. At the Bristol Marriott on Friday 21st May the delegates got a goody bag full as the various conference speakers imparted knowledge and wisdom about their selected topic for this year’s Constructing Excellence South West Conference. We were instructed to keep our phones ON, set to stun, and to tweet furiously throughout. OMG1 I thought, YOLO2 The day didn’t start well IMHO3. Incumbent Bristol Mayor George Ferguson was AWOL4 and unable to deliver a key note address as he was stuck on an international visit. Having heard George speak many times, I would... READ MORE


If you’ve been following us on twitter, you may have noticed we’ve jumped aboard the #mondaymotivation band wagon…. …and why not?! Motivation at work is such an advantage. We spend approximately one third of our lives at work, so it goes without saying we should feel motivated when carrying out our day job. So what is ‘Motivation Mapping’? Motivational mapping is a tool to help us discover what our individual motivators are and therefore enable us to get the absolute best from our team by understanding what’s important to each of us. Motivational maps start with a simple on-line questionnaire... READ MORE

The world really is their oyster

Avid readers of my blog (thanks mum) may remember I was asked to conduct some mock interviews at St Gregory’s school in Bath at the start of the year. I was pretty pleased with myself when the school emailed me to ask if I would come back in March to help with their Career Insights day for their year 10 pupils. The first thing I had to do was work out how old year 10s were. It’s been a few years since I was at school, 26 years in fact. It appears that year 10s are 14-15 years old, that... READ MORE

Ecobuild 2016

I am becoming something of an Ecobuild veteran having made the journey to Excel over the past four or five years. It is often a barometer for the industry or trends – remember when PV suppliers took up half of the south hall? The most apparent difference in 2016 is the size – only one of the halls was used. Perhaps this was a desire for quality rather than quantity or simply to make the visitor experience more manageable. Getting around that much area in one day became practically impossible for the average desk jockey. I needed to visit a... READ MORE

Insert Inspiring Quote Here

Instagram. They love an inspiring quote over there don’t they. My favourites are the completely nonsensical ones which are so profound – here’s one for you – But the ones I think are downright depressing are the pretty pink and rose gold ‘motivators’, for example – Naughty of them, I think, suggesting that if you aren’t doing it full on with passion, you’re doing it wrong. Honestly? I love my job at DKA. I love my colleagues, I love our beautiful office and I love being the frantic swan legs under the surface of the pond which is our smooth... READ MORE

Barton Hill School Handover

The Barton Hill Primary School extension was successfully handed over by Skanska to Bristol City Council on Friday and the kids have already moved in to their new space.

As a recent modern development, the need was for expansion rather than modernisation. The scope of the project brief was outlined by Bristol City Council to expand the existing 2 form entry primary school to a 3 form entry primary school as well as improving toilet allocation and to improve the current dining arrangement.

The environmental strategy for the extension utilises natural ventilation, daylight, efficient systems, low energy equipment, and renewable energy. The new building will include the provision of renewable technology to meet the current Bristol City Council planning policy.

As an integrated extension the challenges for the team were working within a working school environment.

Keep on ‘in keeping’ on

‘But is it in keeping?’ Ask any architect – their most hated phrase is probably ‘in keeping’. Two horrid little words customarily trotted out as a reaction to anything new. It implies, why spoil what is here with THAT? To the designer it is an illogical rejection, inferring that whatever has gone before has reached such a zenith of design and social engineering that nothing in our wildest imaginations could hope to improve the local environment other than more of exactly the bloody same. If we tell a child that each drawing must be ‘in keeping’ with their last then... READ MORE
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The future is bright

The first crisp January morning of 2016 saw me nervously approaching reception at St Gregory’s School in Bath not knowing what to expect. I may have left school 25 years ago but there was a familiarity as soon as I walked through the front doors. As the bell/siren/klaxon sounded the corridors filled with swarms of students, (not sure if that’s the collective noun but it seemed to fit) all with somewhere to be, followed closely by efficient teachers with lesson plans and bags of marked homework (were they teachers or upper sixth students?) I’m suddenly feeling very old. The smell... READ MORE

Merry Christmas!

It’s been a really busy year at DKA and 2016 promises to bring more of the same with lots of exciting projects already underway and plenty of events to look forward to.

We haven’t sent Christmas cards, instead DKA makes a charitable donation and this year our chosen charity is Macmillan Cancer Support.

The team also made a decision to help others this Christmas so instead of the usual Secret Santa we all donated £5 and submitted the name of a charity close to our hearts. We called this #dkaitforward

The charity was drawn at random at our Christmas lunch; Maggie just so happened to draw out her own nomination Cancer Research. Who will receive our group donation.

We would like wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Crispin School 'Block D' handover

On Monday 7th December, Crispin School ‘Block D’ is to be handed over.

Block D offers additional teaching laboratory spaces which improves the existing Science Block considerably.

The plan was developed and adapted to provide an efficient layout, utilising an economic form whilst still creating a building with a prominent identity. The light and airy accommodation provides the school with modern science laboratories to meet the demands of the teaching curriculum. The block has also been designed so that it links directly to potential future phases without compromising future access.

Read more about the project HERE


It’s only 36 sleeps ’till Christmas (add a few more if you enjoy the occasional nap) and we’re starting to get excited about Christmas here at DKA!

Online shopping has started arriving at the studio and our lunch menu choices have been made for Zazu’s Kitchen

We’ve also been thinking about those less fortunate than us and this year have decided to put a twist on the usual tradition of Secret Santa.

Instead of buying each other a gift, every member of the DKA team will submit the name of a charity close to their heart along with the amount they would normally spend on a Secret Santa present.

At our Christmas lunch on the 18 December we will draw one charity from all those submitted who will receive all of our donations.

We’re calling this… wait for it… DKA IT FORWARD

Use the hashtag #dkaitforward for updates

Work starts on site!

We are pleased to see work has commenced on site for our new 47 Unit Extra Care Home in Devizes for Wiltshire Council.

The contractors, Mi-Space, have completed demolition of the existing Southfields House which was on the site and are about to commence excavating the footings for the new building.

The new Extra Care Home will comprise 39 two bedroom and 8 one bedroom apartments with communal and support facilities for residents and members of the local community. The building will provide two north-south wings of apartments, linked together by the communal accommodation to form a courtyard open on the south side to gardens and mature trees.

View Devizes Extra Care Centre project page

New team members

It’s October, it’s looking beautifully autumnal outside the studio, and it’s not looking half bad in the studio too, we’ve got not one, but two new faces smiling back at us every day!

A big welcome to Maggie Ewert and Sam Perry

Sam qualified as an architect in 2013 from Plymouth University and currently lives in Bath, just down the road in fact from the studio. Sam has a broad knowledge in education, residential and commercial sectors.

Maggie has joined us from the University of the West of England after studying Architecture and Planning, she enjoys all aspects of design and is an aspiring architectural technician.

The DKA lunchtime runners have already dragged Sam out on a lunchtime run, hopefully they didn’t put him off!


BBC Three Counties - Tales of the unexpected

When we first met with the Editor of BBC Three Counties Radio we were given our brief in two parts. The first was the technical brief, driven largely by BBC Standards similar across all similar local radio stations. Compliance with this part of the brief would be relatively simple; provide this number of rooms at these sizes with a given technical performance. The second part of the brief was less easily defined;  it required the building to embody the values of the station, reach out to the listeners and create an environment to get the best out of the station... READ MORE


Wise words indeed from Grace Jones in her 1985 world-wide hit “Slave to the Rhythm” The funny thing is, if you’ve got an A’ level in Computer Science (luckily I have), or a child aged 3 or above (sadly I don’t) you can sync your iTunes library to your Fitbit activity tracker and low and behold on your Wednesday lunchtime run, (DKA gives us two hours so we have time to shower and eat too!) everything fits into place when Ms Jones pipes up with this little belter from back in the day. A smirk appeared as I pounded the... READ MORE

Welcome, to the DKA blog

Firstly, welcome to DKA’s Blog! It is a great pleasure to welcome you, and be one of the first people to write a post on our shiny new blog. I can’t remember precisely when we decided to add a blog feature to our website, but someone mentioned it in a meeting and I snuck off to do some research and design, then pitched my ideas to the team. I got excited at the prospect of blogging, probably because I knew it had the potential to be a real success. Not only are our team a collection of very talented architects,... READ MORE


We’ve had some really positive feedback from you all regarding our website stories and our newsletters, which is what has inspired us to take a step further and start blogging.

We’re lifting the lid on The Malt House to let you get a full picture of the team, how we work and what gets us excited both in and out of the studio.

You can reach our blog directly from our website where you’ll find personal stories, accounts and comment from members of the team, you can also sign up to our newsletter here where we will be sure to keep you updated about all the goings on at The Malt House.

We really hope you enjoy reading our blogs as much as we’re enjoying this new creative process, drop us an email or tweet and let us know what you think



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Acceptable in the 80's

On the occasion of DKA’s inaugural blog posting, I can’t help but reflect on some of the changes to the office and working practices that have happened since we set ourselves up in 1993. Without a doubt digital technology has had the biggest single impact on the way we work. I can remember the first fax machine being brought into an office where I worked in the 1980’s; we all panicked at the thought of no longer being able to use the excuse ‘the drawing’s in the post’; little did we know that soon enough the very idea of printing... READ MORE

Midfield Dynamo - Advice for recent graduates

Creative people have good ideas, but it takes a team of creative people to achieve great things. Neil Armstrong didn’t get to the Moon on his own, and Damien Hirst doesn’t always pickle his own cows. For some people, recognition is their reward. For others it is enough knowing they were there and getting their hands dirty. For most, I imagine, the design process is where they find enjoyment, solving problems elegantly and learning new things. Within a creative team everyone can flourish. Together the team is greater than the sum of its parts with each person bringing different skills,... READ MORE

Pivot, filter, step ball-change

When I first started work in a dusty old accounts office way back in 1992, there was an odd mix of carbon paper, manual ledgers and tiny green screened monitors attached to terminals that allowed us access to either the Purchase Ledger or the Sales Ledger but not both and only the people down the hall knew anything about the Nominal Ledger or a budget. However, there was one other thing in that dusty attic room of the rather stately mansion house that I worked in, the computer that had Lotus 123 installed on it (and probably not much else).... READ MORE

Designing to make a difference

A quarter of UK hospital patients have dementia. The recent, and heart-breaking, BBC2 programme ‘Nowhere to Go’ told the story of Evelyn, a patient with advanced dementia. She found the hospital disorientating and was becoming aggressive, at one point being restrained by security guards. Visiting hospital can be stressful for any of us, but patients with dementia can find the experience so unsettling that it impacts their recovery. A well-designed environment can help to reduce falls, length of stay, and challenging behaviour whilst increasing staff productivity. To offer the best outcomes to its patients, Bridgwater Community Hospital facilitates social engagement... READ MORE

Designing for Special Needs

Special needs is a subject with bucket loads of emotion for all involved; frustration, triumph, loneliness, friendship, anger, appreciation, pride and respect; but for me the emotion is joy. I am privileged to design schools for pupils with special needs, and there are many reasons I should be happy about it. For a start I am designing for people who are passionate about what they do, and care about what I can do for them. Secondly the brief is developed through close consultation, gradually getting to understand the school’s vision, the approach to teaching and learning; welfare and socialisation; safety... READ MORE

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Coupat

On 10th August Fabien Coupat married Rachel Charlton at Charlton House in Somerset. The rain cleared in time for the ceremony allowing all to enjoy their special day.

Fabien and Rachel thank DKA for their hedge trimmer. This wedding gift will come in very handy in keeping their new garden under control. Fabien is now contemplating taking a topiary course!

BBC Three Counties go live!

BBC Three Counties are now broadcasting from their new radio studios in Dunstable designed by DKA.

DKA provided architectural, interior design and graphical design services to create the exciting and dynamic environment for the radio studios and newsroom. Given a clear vision by the end users, DKA produced an integrated concept including furniture, carpet patterns, wall graphics and acoustic ceiling features.

The team tell us they loved the way we thought up an innovative solution to the brief, placing the studios at the heart of the station. This acts as a constant focus, a reminder of the BBC values and includes images from the local area.

If you’re passing, give them a wave – they promise to wave back!


Workplace Wellbeing Charter award

We’ve recently reported that we have been awarded the Workplace Health and Wellbeing Charter.

Our commitment to the charter and our team’s wellbeing was rewarded yesterday when Louise Lees from Sirona Health and Councillor Vic Pritchard visited our studio to find out more about DKA and to present the award to our directors Simon Lawrence and David Kent.

Councillor Pritchard was impressed with our commitment to the charter as well as the architectural solutions we produce from our studio. We really enjoyed showing him around, sharing our sporting achievements and our plans for continuing to improve the wellbeing of our talented team

Welcome Caroline

Caroline has joined us as a Part II Architectural Assistant after recently graduating from the University of Bath.

Caroline has an interest in sustainable architecture. During her Part II Masters she won the Dissertation Prize with an essay exploring the environmental costs of protecting listed buildings in Bath.

We’re looking forward to working with Caroline and utilising her knowledge of sustainable design in our exciting up and coming projects. We’re also pleased to welcome another Bath Alumni to our growing team!

Caroline has let slip she has a passion for making cupcakes. We’re looking forward to seeing the product of this passion… *hint hint*!


DKA Directors David Kent and Simon Lawrence are very pleased to announce that James Bastable, Alex Bell and Fabien Coupat have been promoted to Associate Directors at DKA on 1 July.

Their new positions reflect the effort and commitment that they have made to the practice over the past 10 or more years, and it’s an important step towards securing the long term success and future of the practice.

David Kent says: ‘succession planning is an important aspect of all businesses, and is something that Simon and I have been considering for some time. We feel that this is now the right time to promote James, Alex and Fabien so that we can work together with them over the next few years as part of a long term strategy to ensure that the practice grows in a direction that suits us all.’

The promotions are set against an expanding order book; recent successes in the precision engineering and education sectors mean that DKA is enjoying a welcome period of expansion and is currently recruiting.

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Universities 'Travel to Work' Study

DKA are proud to support the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Swansea by being involved with an important research study about travelling to work.

The study monitors how some of our team travel to and from work and also measures their physical activity during the day. Some of the team have been given GPS trackers and Accelerometers to measure their activity over the course of the week.

This is the first stage process and we will post updates as the study progresses. We hope the statistics are useful for the study and also help us improve our Green Travel Plan.

Welcome Ben and Chris

A gentle breeze passes through the office, the sound of birds in the trees and ducks on the canal is now more lucid. Wait… the windows are open…

This can only mean one thing. It’s summer!

There are two things you can guarantee at The Malt House in the summer – the windows get cracked open and we welcome some enthusiastic students here to develop their knowledge while helping us out.

This year, we welcome back Ben, now more qualified and au fait with the DKA way than ever before.

And we also welcome Chris who is currently studying the MArchD course at Oxford Brookes University. Chris is also a talented artist and sportsman in his spare time.

We hope the guys enjoy their 3 months with us, and we’ll *try* to not overwhelm them with too much work!

Mendip Free School gets planning permission!

A major milestone for the Mendip Free School has been reached with the granting of planning permission for the new building, which will be located on a 2 hectare green field site at the northern end of the Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet.

It will form the first phase of a masterplan for a mixed development of parts of the Showground which is being jointly developed by the Royal Bath and West of England Society and their Regeneration Partner London & Wharfedale Limited. 

Mendip Free School is a new special school serving 120 students aged from 4 to 19 with autism, language and social communications needs. There is currently no facility in Somerset to provide for the needs of this group of students, who are often sent out of the County to schools in other areas, which themselves are over-subscribed with limited spaces available. Mendip Free School will address this pressing need to provide a bespoke facility within Somerset to improve the educational outcomes for this vulnerable group of students.

It will be designed and constructed to the latest Education Funding Agency standards and will be around 2790sqm in area, single-storey, with a range of external games and play areas.


DKA Award 2015 Winner – Sam Shortland

The 2015 DKA Award has been presented to Sam Shortland from the University of Bath. The prize recognises excellence in the use of 3D graphics and presentation in the RIBA Part 1 course. Sam’s scheme was brought to life through her interior and exterior renders produced in a variety of 3D packages. As usual, the standard was very high, but the attention to detail in Sam’s images impressed the judging panel. I’m sure you’ll agree her images show great skill and lifelike representation.

Congratulations to Sam Shortland from all at DKA!

Project description:

Digital Nature

Digital nature is a digital retreat where recent graduates can found their own web or software based company. The scheme forms an incubator allowing these start-up businesses to be nurtured and grown.

The scheme strives to create a canvas to allow for collaborative social interaction, the sharing of ideas being key to the success of the scheme. A range of social spaces creates many different opportunities for social interactions.

The scheme also explores the inspirational quality of nature and the juxtaposition between permanence and transience


DKA proudly sponsor local production of Les Miserables

For one week in April Prior Park was Paris 1832, they were manning the barricades hand in hand with the students fighting for Liberté, égalité and fraternité. This wasn’t the triumph of the French Revolution, that was long past, the monarchy was reestablished, and the poor were poorer than ever. This was the heroic failure of the student revolution when Paris turned its back and left its revolutionaries to die in the streets. This was Les Miserables.

DKA were sponsors of this years production of Les Miserables at Curtain-Up Theatre. DKA believe in supporting young people, and as a designer of schools, DKA benefit from association with creative, educational activities

The show was a great success and the audience enjoyed every minute, but what about the students, what do they get from these productions? Our education associate Andy Batty asked one student who said:

‘It’s interesting.You learn about the creators of the play, the history and the philosophy of the time by living it. You see life from different perspectives. You learn about yourself and others. It builds self confidence. You learn to deal with pressure and solve problems fast, especially costume malfunctions. You develop the ability to express yourself…’

When the going gets tough, the tough get muddy

Ballet, horse riding, roller skating, Taekwon-do, skiing and snowboarding are just a few of the pursuits Becky has given a go through the years.

In March, she trained and completed the Bath Half with her fellow DKA runners and last weekend she became DKA’s 2nd Tough Mudder!

With the Get Fit in Bath team, she plunged into an ice filled shipping container, army crawled through tear gas, scrambled over ridiculously high walls, got electrocuted… and of course as the name suggests, got very muddy on the way.

‘I was so nervous before doing Tough Mudder but I had no reason to be. The atmosphere was amazing and the Get Fit in Bath team were great; everyone helps everyone else and it was a surprisingly fun challenge (despite being electrocuted at the end!) I will be rounding up some DKA recruits for Tough Mudder 2016… so watch out guys!’ – Becky

Watch a video from the day itself here!


DKA are the first company in the region to be awarded with the 'Workplace Wellbeing Charter'

We’ve been working hard along with a representative from Sirona Care and Health towards ensuring that DKA is a fit and healthy environment for its team and we are thrilled to be able to report that we have now been awarded the Workplace Wellbeing Charter, National Award for England. 

We are the first company in our region to receive this award which recognises our commitment to the health and well-being of our team and covers everything from mental health to promoting healthy eating and exercise.

The positive impact that employment can have on health and wellbeing is now well documented. There is also strong evidence to show how having a healthy workforce can boost productivity. This is good for DKA, the team and the wider economy. It also sits perfectly into our philosophy as an Investors in People accredited company and with our business vision.

For more information on how you can be involved go to

DKA accredited by Faithful + Gould

We are delighted to announce that DKA have been successful in their accreditation as a sub-consultant supply chain partner on Faithful + Gould’s Asset Management, Surveying and Design Services Framework on the Scape National Framework.

We are looking forward to developing a mutually beneficial working relationship between our two companies.

DR Peter Carter visits Bridgwater Hospital

Here at DKA we were interested to note that recent news from Somerset Partnership (NHS Foundation Trust) covers a visit from Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, to the new Bridgwater Community Hospital, completed last spring.

DKA were not only responsible for designing this 5,400m² new community hospital but our appointment was extended to include leading the interior design and art strategies for the building. Both aspects were supported by the Dementia Strategy written by Rebecca Furse, our Designer and Environmental Psychologist, which has since been adopted throughout Somerset Partnership.

On his tour around the new community hospital Dr Carter, who grew up in Bridgwater, spotted himself as a child in one of the archive photographs on display in the Inpatient Dining Room, depicting the Furlongs Avenue Coronation Street Party in 1953.

This is one of a collection of photographs, provided by the Blake Museum, that aim to comfort patients living with dementia by encouraging social interaction triggered by reminiscence. The orange colour of the background wall was specifically chosen to stimulate the appetite of patients and provide a warming glow.

DKA team complete Bath Half 2015

Nervous side glancing, nail biting, encouraging shoulder hugging, and the odd outburst of “ARGH! We’re doing this!” ricocheted around the group.

It was the 1st March and six of the DKA team were about to run the 2015 Bath Half, raising money for Alzheimer’s Society.

The atmosphere was like nothing they had ever experienced, literally thousands had come to watch their friends, family and (especially in their case) colleagues run the 13 miles around the beautiful city. After some minutes, they gained on the start line, there was one final shout of “GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!” and they were off…

This was the first time most had run any type of race, they had trained hard, they had suffered injuries but most of all they were enthusiastic and later every one finished the race with a beaming smile.

They achieved an average finishing time of 137 minutes and 30 seconds, collectively burning approximately 10,000 calories, and raising £917.50 (and counting) for The Alzheimer’s Society.

We’re so proud that the whole DKA running team finished the race, the office has been buzzing ever since and they’ve not stopped talking about their amazing feat.

Congratulations to Adrian Abbs, Becky Cook, Jo Griffin, David Munday, David Robinson and David Yeates.

You’ve done yourselves, your charity, the city and all of us very proud.


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Bath Life Awards 2015

The preparations had been made, deadlines met, and with work done for the day, a final resolute click of the mouse sounded out like a pistol at the start line. It was time for David and Becky to put on their finest clobber, clamber into the nearest carriage and attend ‘The’ awards ceremony in Bath – The Bath Life Awards at The Assembly Rooms.

DKA were a finalist in the category for ‘Professional Services’. Unfortunately, we didn’t win. However, table 32 didn’t go home empty handed. We were like proud parents when Fran from Ustinov Studios won for the Arts category!

Congratulations to all the winners, everyone was very worthy of their awards.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening, the food and company was simply fabulous.

Until next year…


850,000 people live with dementia in the UK. If we don’t take action, this number is predicted to rise to over 2 million by 2051.

61% of sufferers felt depressed or anxious recently
53% do not feel they get enough support from the government
43% of carers do not receive enough support.
40% felt lonely recently
34% do not feel part of their community
32% of DKA will be running the Bath Half on Sunday in support of Alzheimer’s Society.

It’s not too late to make a difference. Should you feel inclined, we would be extremely grateful if you would sponsor one (or more!) of our wonderful team, click on a runner’s name to take you to their sponsor page.

Becky Cook

David Munday

David Robinson

Adrian Abbs 

Extra Care Home gets Planning Approval

DKA are pleased to announce Planning Approval has been awarded for a new Extra Care Home on Victoria Road, Devizes. This follows a unanimous vote in support of the application at the Planning Committee meeting on 29th January.

The proposed building will provide 47 one and two bedroom affordable apartments. They are purpose-designed to the latest standards for use by older people, each with access to their own outdoor space.

Extra Care housing aims to provide ‘a home for life’ allowing residents live independently in their own apartments, however care and support facilities will be available on site 24 hours a day as required.

The building will become an asset to the local community as the communal areas of: lounge, dining room, activities rooms, and health and well-being facilities, will be available to both residents and local older people. These will all be set within attractive landscaped communal gardens, with a car park and drop-off space, for ambulances, taxis and minibuses near the main entrance.

What makes us tick?

…well, we’re all about to find out!

We’ve always known our team are DKA’s best asset and we are about to find out just what makes us all tick as we embark on a course of motivational mapping.

We will be working closely with our business development coach Lynne Bell of Motivational Leadership

Motivation Maps which start with a simple on-line questionnaire and culminate with a half day of coaching from Lynne for the whole team will enable us to discover all about our own motivators and to get the absolute best from everyone by understanding what’s important to them.  It will also provide us with the tools to inform how we set up our design teams which along with our excellent design and problem-solving skills will ensure our clients get the absolute best from DKA.

Official opening of the Construction Skills & Innovation Centre

The official opening of the Construction Skills & Innovation Centre took place today at Cannington.
The centre was opened by Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Business, Innovation & Skills.

The centre provides both classroom based and practical training for large mechanised construction plant. The first group of apprentices have recently graduated from the new Steel Fixing Course. Bridgwater College principal Mike Robbins stated that the centre provides a legacy for the area and gives the best opportunity for local people to gain the skills to work on the new EDF Hinkley C.


We’re delighted to be finalists for the 2015 Bath Life Awards for the category of  Professional Services.

It’s great to be recognised for our hard work as a professional services provider in our home city, it’s been a busy year both in terms of working on some really exciting design projects and also giving over some of our time to be involved in the community.

Being a finalist for a Bath Life award has been the icing on the cake and it is a great honour.

We can’t wait to get dressed up and join everyone for the awards ceremony on the 26th February!

BREEAM ‘Excellent’ for Student Accommodation

DKA designed Dartmoor Hall at Bridgwater College’s Cannington campus has achieved BREEAM ‘Excellent’ with a score of 75%.

The building contains 25 en-suite bedrooms over two stories on the site of a former sports hall. The building uses a large PV array on the roof in conjunction with a very well insulated and air tight fabric.

This new building provides much needed modern accommodation on the Cannington site suitable for student use during term time and for conference delegates at other times.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from the team at DKA

It’s been a fantastic year at DKA and 2015 promises to bring more of the same with lots of exciting projects underway and plenty of events to look forward to throughout the year.

At DKA we don’t send out Christmas cards, instead we like to make a charitable donation and this year our chosen charity is the Alzheimer’s Society. We’re even continuing our support for the charity throughout the New Year as 6 of us will be running the Bath Half in March in support of the Alzheimer’s Society. We hope you’ll agree this is a great cause to support.

We would like wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous and Happy New Year.


Promotions at DKA

We are very pleased to announce that James Bastable has been promoted to Associate and Adrian Abbs has been promoted to the position of Lead Architect.

James has been successfully demonstrating his business development skills over the past few months in the precision engineering sector and with it already undertaking the responsibilities of an associate, so his promotion seemed natural.

Adrian has similarly been actively promoting our healthcare experience and helping win new opportunities, an area of expertise that we want to develop further next year.

Both these promotions strengthen the ‘core skills’ in the management group and will make us even stronger in 2015!

Congratulations to both of them and we wish them well in their new positions.

Welcome to the DKA team...

Nina Nymoen

We are pleased to announce that Nina Nymoen has joined DKA as an architectural assistant for the next 9 months.

Nina is from Oslo in Norway where she has taken a break from attending The Oslo school of Architecture and Design to get some hands on experience in our studio. She has also studied for a year in the Netherlands at Delft University of Technology.

We were very impressed by Nina’s technical and visualisation skills and she is already proving to be a great addition to our team.


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DKA in training for Bath Half!

Its official! 5 keen DKA runners have signed up for Bath half marathon 2015.

We can’t think of a better way to show our support for the city we cherish, the profession we love and the charity we sponsor than by entering a team into the Bath Half marathon to raise awareness and much needed funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

When we design a care home facility its residents are our boss. #RUNFORTHEBOSS 

Keep an eye out for our enthusiastic team training in their lunch break around the city in preparation for the event, and be sure to look out for us on the big day itself.
We will keep you updated with our training progress on twitter @DKA_architects and will be back soon with details of how you can donate!

Until then… we’re off to stretch

Prize Giving!

The part that we’ve all been looking forward to after the drawing competition finally arrived… The Prize Giving!

After our exhibition at Bath Central Library, judging took place. The winners were shortly announced and we had two carefully wrapped boxes ready to present!

We first went to Moorlands Federation where Becky, David and Andy arrived at the start of assembly to present the winning and runner up entries. The year 6 children took part in our workshop at The Children’s Literature Festival and supplied us with the most entries which were all so creative and imaginative; the judges had a hard time picking a winner!

We then went to The Paragon School to present Rio with her prize at their Friday assembly. Becky and David were treated to an energetic assembly about courage and visited Rio’s classroom afterwards where she opened her prize with her classmates who were all excited to use their new art supplies!

We hope both classes enjoy their prizes and thanks to Moorlands Federation and The Paragon School for making the team from DKA feel so welcome.


Devizes Extra Care Centre

We have recently submitted a planning application for a 47 apartment Extra Care Centre on Victoria Road, Devizes. This £9 million scheme will replace the current Southfield House care home, which is being re-provided elsewhere in the town.

The scheme will enable local older residents to live independently for longer in their own homes. In addition to the 47 1 & 2 bedroomed apartments, the building will also provide extensive facilities and services to benefit residents and the wider community – including a restaurant, a health and wellbeing suite, gardens and overnight guest accommodation.

If planning consent is granted, building work should start in early 2015 with completion by late 2016.


In celebration of our commitment to nurture young creative talent, DKA were not only a sponsor of this year’s The Telegraph Children’s Bath Literature Festival, we also held an exciting drawing competition for children from the ages of 2 to 11. The entries have been displayed in Bath Central Library all week and will be up this weekend. The judging panel, selected the winners today. All the entries caused a huge buzz in the studio at DKA and we found it so hard to pick out a winner, we had to award two entries with ‘Runner up’!

Taking the prize for the 6-11 age group was Jenny from Moorlands Federation. Rio Hambury Young from The Paragon school won for the 2-5 age group.

We thought Jenny’s design of her dream classroom was creative and practical. Her design included all manner of things from a tree house, learning centre, cinema and animal zone. The design even included toilet facilities and a drop off/pick up area away from the playground!

Maddy from Moorlands Federation was our first runner up. Her ideas were original and fun, her classroom included an explosion room and body guards, but our favourite bit about Maddy’s design was the all you can eat buffet! The 2nd runner up entry was from Abi and Charlotte, also from Moorlands Federation. They designed their dream classroom together, we loved their joint effort.

Rio from Paragon School was our youngest winner and her design caught our eye straight away, her dream school is represented by three castles!

Thank you everyone who participated and well done to Jenny and Rio!

Click here to view the winners entries in full

DKA 'Highly Commended' at BBH Awards

As part of the Integrated Health Projects team, DKA were pleased to be Highly Commended for the Innovations in ProCure 21+ award for Bridgwater Community Hospital at yesterday’s Building Better Healthcare Awards at the Brewery in London.

The judges’ described the scheme as being “a well-thought-out, comprehensive facility that enhances the patient experience”

Bridgwater Hospital has been an exciting project for our Healthcare team, they were really pleased with the result from the award ceremony and the recognition from the judges’, as an enhanced patient experience was one of the main objectives that drove the design.



Building better Healthcare Awards are held each year to celebrate innovation and improvement in the built environment, medical devices and people working in the healthcare industry.


We’ve loved being involved in the Breast Cancer Campaign’s #wearitpink day.

Friday is just that bit better when you can eat cake, wear pink and collect money for such a worthy cause.

We’ve also really enjoyed seeing everyone’s pink efforts on Twitter and Facebook and every pound raised goes to help fund innovative world-class breast cancer research that saves lives.


To find out more visit or @BCCampaign #wearitpink


In addition to the range of educational projects currently underway, the design team have also been busy on projects in the industrial sector.

In the world of Precision Engineering, a highly technical project that DKA have designed for Ricardo UK has just started on site at Shoreham Technical Centre in Sussex.

Working alongside Hydrock, CCM and Interserve, DKA have planned an extension to Ricardo’s existing engine assembly facility.

The project has an approximate construction value of £2m and is due for completion in March 2015. This represents a continuation in our partnership with Ricardo UK as DKA also designed the original engine assembly facility.

A Little Goes A long Way

Having completed a number of high profile Healthcare projects across the South West, the team here at DKA pride ourselves on keeping up with the latest developments across our core sectors.

Our in-house environmental psychologist, Rebecca Furse, is a source of real insight into best practice approaches for providing positive care for those living with dementia. Rebecca led the interior design and dementia strategy for the fit-out of the recently completed Bridgwater Hospital and in this month’s Building Better Healthcare, she outlines her approach to designing positive, dementia-friendly environments.

Rebecca is heavily involved in a number of DKA’s healthcare projects and also leads the interior design strategy for our supported living and care home portfolio.

Click here to read Rebecca’s full article


That’s the question we recently asked Guest Artistic Director of this year’s The Telegraph Children’s Bath Literature Festival, David Almond at our studio here in Bath. David’s views on creative learning for children are widely known and extremely inspiring to many, which is why we were keen to get his views on the most inspirational spaces for children to learn. This is what he told us… “We need to give children freedom to learn and to create. Freedom to be spontaneous, working individually and together. Children need to be trusted to use their imagination to create…The young people of today are going to create a much better world than us. They are much fairer, caring, optimistic and socially conscious than our generation and their teaching environments need to reflect and encourage that”


With over 21 years’ experience of designing schools for all age groups, DKA has developed a really robust approach to ensuring we deliver a design that meets our clients’ needs and expectations. We were recently asked to write about the approach we take to designing schools for The Bath Magazine and the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association. Here’s a preview of one of the articles…


DKA feature in this weeks' Bath Chronicle W magazine!

DKA have the pleasure of featuring in this weeks’ Bath Chronicle’s W Magazine. The pitch of the piece is to get to know the people behind some of the city’s most successful brands.

Not only does the article feature some of our creative team but it also features our dedicated support staff. Becky Cook, David Robinson, Sarah Sempala-Ntege, Jo Griffin and David Munday grinned enthusiastically for photos and answered questions about their jobs and interests.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of this week’s Bath Chronicle to find out a bit more about us and put a face to a name.


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DKA-designed Monkton Park shortlisted for a South West Business Insider Property Award

DKA is delighted that the recently refurbished Wiltshire Council offices at Monkton Park in Chippenham have been shortlisted for a South West Business Insider Property Award in the Commercial Workplace category. This project forms a key part of Wiltshire Council’s Transformation Project to streamline their services and premises across the county. The refurbishment of the existing Monkton Park offices hub has been designed to optimise levels of accommodation and provide a modern, flexible workspace. Desk capacity has been increased from 340 to 540. Works have included link bridges across the existing atrium to improve connectivity between office floor plates, new IT installation throughout the building, upgrades to service cores and refreshment areas and renewed interiors and furniture.

The awards will be announced on 16th October – we’ll keep you posted!

DKA's Adobe Certified Associate

Congratulations to Becky Cook who passed her ACA (Adobe Certified Associate) exam in Adobe InDesign. The exam is designed to test the knowledge of InDesign as a programme but also the knowledge of design terminology, structure, copyright issues and design theories.

Later this year, Becky is undergoing more training and will take her ACE (Adobe Certified Expert) exam. She plans to continue her training across the Adobe Creative Suite platform making Becky a helpful asset to the design team here at DKA.

DKA hosts 'BIM in Healthcare' event with Women in Property

On a sunny evening at our canal-side studio in Bath, DKA welcomed Women in Property guests to a presentation about the use of BIM in healthcare design. Representatives from architectural, engineering and design businesses from the South West enjoyed a chance to network before informative talks by project architect Adrian Abbs and BIM Coordinator Joe Oksien explaining how DKA used BIM to enable smooth design and delivery of the recently opened Bridgwater Hospital.

DKA were also appointed to coordinate the interior design which led to writing a dementia strategy for Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Designer and Environmental Psychologist Rebecca Furse explained the process DKA took with the team to develop this strategy, and how the 3D computer model was an essential tool for describing the interior design to the clinical staff.

The presentation was followed by a lively discussion about the current use and ongoing development of BIM in architectural design and delivery.

For more details on the presentation and DKA’s expertise in BIM across our range of projects, please email or call 01225 465701



In celebration of our commitment to nurture young creative talent, DKA are not only a sponsor of this year’s The Telegraph Children’s Bath Literature Festival but we’re also holding an exciting drawing competition for children from the ages of 2 to 16.

Enter DKA’s drawing competition for your chance to win fantastic art supplies for your class, to see your design exhibited at Bath Central Library and published in the Bath Chronicle. Simply draw a design of your dream school and send it to us here at DKA!

DKA have been designing schools for over 21 years and we actively encourage creativity to produce the most inspiring and engaging environments for children to learn in. We understand that children are the major stakeholders in many of the school environments that we create which is why we’re giving school children in and around Bath the chance to share their dreams and visions of the perfect school.

We don’t want to limit any creativity or inspiration by setting lots of rules – the more imaginative the designs the better. However we have supplied some guidelines along with terms & conditions and an entry form for the competition in a downloadable PDF. Please see link below.

CLICK HERE to view DKA’s competition details, T&C’s and entry form

DKA's Tough Mudder!

On Saturday 16th August our intrepid adventurer James Bastable completed a ‘Tough Mudder’ event in Cirencester Park to raise money for Help for Heroes.

James and his friends completed the course in just under 3 hours. A few cuts and bruises, but no broken bones. He’s off later to have a relaxing spa day and rub down!


To support our ongoing commitment to nurture young creative talent, DKA has signed up to sponsor the 2014 The Telegraph Children’s Bath Literature Festival, set to take place in Bath from 26 September – 5th October. We’re excited to be sponsoring a full day of events during the schools programme as well as a Young Curator’s workshop where school pupils will be asked to design their dream school.

During our 21 years of designing exemplar facilities for schools, we have always considered the school children to be the major stakeholders in any school design project, so we’re really excited to see how they bring their visions for their dream school to life through their sketches and drawings.

DKA Receives Investor in People Accreditation for Ninth Year Running!

Here at DKA in Bath, we’re delighted to announce that we have achieved Investors in People (IiP) accreditation until 2017, an award we have held since 2005.

The recognition is further testament to the importance placed on the value of the team here at DKA – our people are our strongest asset and we continually strive to invest in and develop the highly talented individuals here at DKA, so as a team we are always performing to the best of our abilities. We strive for the IiP standard because it provides a framework that helps us to improve performance and realise objectives through the effective management and development of our greatest asset; our team!

The standard is important as it provides a framework to encourage:

  • A good working environment
  • Recognition and Development
  • Pride in being part of a successful organisation
  • Good quality training and Improved job satisfaction
  • Better Communication
  • Increased responsibility and involvement

Collectively we work hard to ensure the measurable development of our team and it’s great to have this achievement formally recognised once again.

DKA celebrates 21st Birthday with a perfect summer’s evening in Bath

Last night, DKA celebrated our 21st Birthday with a wonderful gathering of clients and colleagues at our canal-side studio here in Bath. The sun shone, the wine flowed and the jazz trickled out into the garden where guests enjoyed a chance to mingle and take trips on a narrow-boat down the Kennet and Avon Canal. For everyone here at DKA, our birthday was a chance to celebrate the fantastic array of projects that the team have delivered over the last 21 years, from community hospitals to care homes and primary schools to precision engineering sites. Over 1330 projects delivered from our buzzy canal-side base here in Bath. Cheers and on to the next 21 years!

Our thanks go to Relish Catering for putting on an amazing spread, Heritage Wines for keeping our guests’ thirst at bay and Myrtle Mee for our beautiful flower displays which still smell amazing this morning.

What is Architecture?

Our very own Ray Tyner here at DKA has written a fantastic article (if we say so ourselves!) for The Bath Magazine looking at the impacts of architecture on our everyday lives.

Regardless of the type of life we lead, we generally lead our lives within or between a series of buildings. So which of these buildings do we actually enjoy? And perhaps more importantly why do we enjoy them? It comes as no surprise to architects that we ought to treasure the quality of these varying spaces and the context in which they sit. The opportunity for architects to improve the world around us is something we are proud to engage with on a daily basis. Here at DKA we start by listening to the client to gain an understanding of what their ideal environment might be. What makes people tick? If you had the chance to live and work in an inspiring space, be that internal or external, why wouldn’t you engage with someone that can bring this aspiration to a reality?

To read the full article, pick up your copy of The Bath Magazine, out on 27th June.

DKA designing school expansion

DKA have worked with Skanska and Bristol LEP to create a new annex for Ashton Gate Primary School, converting the Imperial Tobacco offices on Upton Road, Bristol. The project has now been submitted for planning. The conversion will create 16 new junior classrooms over three floors arranged in year group clusters, doubling the school intake to 4 Form Entry. Infants remain at the existing school a short walk away. New spaces are to modern sizes and standards, well lit and naturally ventilated. A new lift improves access and car parks will become new playgrounds.

The building has been occupied by Imperial Tobacco for 100 years, originally as factory space and more recently as office space. It is one of only two surviving buildings from the historic tobacco estate. The original envelope is retained with few external modifications. The building has a fine brickwork frontage and high ceilings making it ideal for conversion.

Mayor George Ferguson said “This former factory site in Upton Road makes good common sense for Ashton Gate Primary School. Sites like this which meet our requirements are at a premium in the City and we need to move quickly if we are to meet the predicted shortfall in places over the next few years.”

Here at DKA we’re proud to be respectfully transforming a historical landmark into a lasting community asset.

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DKA-designed Bridgwater Community Hospital given the Royal Seal of Approval!

DKA-designed Bridgwater Community Hospital was officially opened and honoured with a visit by Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex today (9th June 2014). The Royal couple were given a tour of the state-of-the art facilities and met the teams involved in designing and building the new hospital.

Upon meeting DKA Director David Kent, the Earl of Wessex was keen to find out about the history of the site, the challenges posed by designing a brand new healthcare facility and was impressed at how quickly the 5000sqm hospital had been delivered. A plaque was revealed to commemorate the official opening.

DKA Award 2014 Winner - Sophie Beagles

For the 10th year running, DKA is proud to support the RIBA Part I architecture students at the University of Bath.

In recognition of their hard work, a small DKA judging panel (this year, composed of four University of Bath alumni) takes the yearly pilgrimage to 6East in search of the best computer generated graphics for the DKA Award. Based purely on the graphics exhibited, our eyes were unanimously drawn to a proposed orchard and community cidery project in Stroud.

Congratulations to Sophie Beagles from all at DKA!

Project description:

The Apple Exchange will act as a central hub to the Stroud Town Apple Project. The scheme will be focused around a cidery, collecting apples from existing and newly proposed community orchards. The residents of Stroud will also be able to donate home-grown apples, in exchange for a share of the cider or apple juice produced. The produce will be sold directly on site, through the bar, restaurant or shop. Visitors may view the cider production process, through a working exhibition space. The proposed community orchard will also be open to the public, offering orchard tours and workshops.


To celebrate 21 years of business, we’re launching our first ever marketing campaign. The objective behind the campaign is to bring to life the ethos of DKA and the value we put on our customers, placing them at the heart of everything we do. As a result, you won’t see buildings in our adverts, you’ll see the people that get to use them once they’re designed and delivered – ultimately the boss in any team we’ve ever work in.

Media has been negotiated by local PR consultancy Bud Communications. The adverts have been designed by Bristol-based creative agency, The Group of Seven, and are reflective of DKA’s architectural design ethos of putting our clients front and centre of everything we do.

The campaign will be delivered across multiple media including editorial, advertising, social media, events and sponsorship.




At DKA we don’t  ever need an excuse to have cake but on the 28th May DKA’s number 1 Kylie fan, David Munday bought everyone cake to celebrate the pop stars’ birthday.

Also; never at a loss for a social media moment, DM Tweeted the star to let her know.

Kylie Minogue promptly replied and DM’s twitter account got over 200 Retweets and Favourites as well as a raft of like-minded Cake loving Minogue Followers.

It may have just been two “emoticons” and a “yay” but he was smiling all afternoon.

Madonna’s birthday is in August….fingers crossed Munday!


Following more than two years of developing designs and conducting public consultation, the design team here at DKA in Bath are delighted that Melksham Campus has been granted planning approval. This marks an important milestone to providing locally tailored and wide ranging community facilities within the town centre and is an exciting project that brings together a wealth of DKA’s architectural experience, including leisure, healthcare and interior design.

The Melksham House site will provide a four badminton court sports hall, a six lane 25m swimming pool with spectator seating, a secondary pool, six rink indoor bowls hall, a climbing wall, as well as a fitness suite and dance studio. The project also includes a library, multi-purpose activity rooms, flexible office space and health provision for Wiltshire Council’s partners. Historical elements Melksham House (Grade II listed) and an Edwardian bathing pool will be refurbished and integral to the project.

Melksham Campus is part of Wiltshire Council’s community campus programme. Community campuses are developed with input from local people to ensure each one is as individual as the community it serves. In addition, this project is to be part-funded through Sport England’s Iconic Facilities programme, which is aimed at turning a small number of key local community facilities into some of the best in the country in order to help people play sport.

Bridgwater Community Hospital Now Open!

We’re delighted to announce that DKA’s recently designed Bridgwater Community Hospital opens its doors to the public today. The new hospital will offer state of the art healthcare to the local community, and situated between Junction 24 and 23 of the M5, offers easy access from the existing road network and free car parking.

The hospital enjoys good views to the Quantock Hills to the West and the Polden Hills to the East and the extensive use of glazing ensures that opportunities to bring natural light and ventilation into the building are maximised, creating a light and welcoming atmosphere for patients and staff alike. The interior has been informed by DKA’s dementia care strategy, which provides a focus on creating dementia-friendly environments.

Easton Primary School Extension

Here at DKA in Bath, we’re excited that work has started on the new 9 classroom extension block at Easton C of E Primary School in Bristol. DKA will be working with Skanska to deliver the extension as part of Bristol City Council’s Primary Capital Programme.The total project cost is £2.2m and is due for completion in December 2014.

Apparently the pupils at the school were disappointed when they were told the big hole (soak-away) wasn’t going to be a swimming pool!

Watch out for more news coming from site as this exciting education project progresses.

DKA designs 5000m² hospital in Bridgwater

Here at DKA in Bath, we have over 20 years’ experience of designing state-of-the-art hospitals and we’re extremely proud of the latest addition to our portfolio, Bridgwater Community Hospital which opens to the public on 28th April 2014.

The key design principles in planning the site were to provide easy access from the existing road network, maximise views out to the surrounding countryside, minimise noise from the adjacent motorway, provide adequate car parking and allow for future expansion. Planned around an internal courtyard and with generous areas of glazing, the opportunities to bring natural light and ventilation into the building are maximised. Combined with the subtle internal colour scheme which was informed by DKA’s dementia strategy, the internal environment has a pleasant and calming atmosphere which is appreciated by patients, visitors and staff alike.

The hospital opened its doors to give the public a preview on Saturday 5th April and the response was fantastic. Over 1000 people visited the new hospital and left some wonderful comments:

“Beautifully designed, light and airy building with thought given to both patients’ comfort and staff efficiency.”

“How lucky Bridgwater is to have such a modern, forward-thinking hospital. It embraces the new technology on offer.”

DKA go mobile

As architects and designers here at DKA, attention to detail and good durable design is our bread and butter, so when we decided it was time to update our website, we couldn’t help but get our hands dirty and design it ‘in-house’.

The same went for our responsive mobile site which is now available to view on smartphones and tablets.

We wanted to keep the fresh, stripped back feel of the website and incorporate an easy-to-navigate drop down menu, all the while keeping the slideshow function for images.

We’re very pleased with our new responsive mobile website and hope you are too! Feel free to drop us an email with any feedback.

DKA and DesignBase

DKA is always on the lookout for opportunities to network and strengthen local connections. With this is mind, we recently invited in Bath-based surveying and architecture outfit DesignBase to give a lunchtime CPD presentation about the latest developments in 3D laser scanning. We were impressed by their capabilities and agreed that they would return to undertake a full digital survey of the interior of the Malt House as a training exercise for their surveyors.

The result – viewable through the online SCENE LT platform – is a point cloud survey, together with a full 3D photographic model. DesignBase used this data to create a Scan-to-Revit® model of the Malt House, which we will be using initially to investigate refurbishment works. Longer term we intend to develop the model to showcase our BIM capabilities.

3D surveys are definitely the future!


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DKA Sport Relief Bake Off

Nothing says Sport Relief like cake, so here at DKA we limbered up, donned our aprons and baked to do our bit to raise money for the Sport Relief charities. The theme was ‘design’ and it’s fair to say there was more than a healthy dose of competition across the 4 teams, each vying to win the highly coveted prize of… cake.

All the entries demonstrated a very high standard of technical ability, creative flair and were absolutely delicious – it was as if Mary Berry had been there with us!

The victorious team, Mary’s Angels, stole the show with their reinterpretation of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Much cake was baked and enjoyed but none was wasted – anything that was not eaten during judging was donated to a good cause.

Industry Day

Ever dreamed of being a hot shot Architect designing the next iconic building to shape the skyline of London, Paris, New York or Dubai?

At Sheldon School in Chippenham, Architects of the future are doing just that, crafting models of their proposals with assistance from Andrew Batty, Education Associate at DKA.

During the course of the School’s Industry Day workshop, DKA introduce 180 pupils to what Architects do, the range of buildings they design, how you become one, and then they get a taster for designing buildings for themselves.

Work Experience in our Bath office

Rob and Sharai, 6th Form students from Beechen Cliff School in Bath, joined us for work experience over February half term. Here is their account of their week:

‘The start of work experience laid the foundation for what we were taught the rest of the week. Firstly we met the DKA team and we discussed their roles and specialities within the practice, which led on to us learning about the processes behind designing a building. These processes were applied to making a ‘human size’ structure out of timber called the ‘Creativity Capsule.

We then learned how architects translate 2D plans into 3D buildings, through the use of plasticene. This linked directly to our next project: to design and produce a model of a beach hut. The project involved drawing 2D plans and elevations, transferring them on to the computer and using these as the basis of our 3D model. One of our designs was an oval shaped beach hut which would hang from the trees and the other was a hexagonal tower made of sustainable materials.

We enjoyed the week and found the practical skills very intriguing. We would recommend this work experience to any aspiring architect.’


Following a recent county-wide public consultation, DKA has submitted planning and listed building consent applications for the new Melksham Campus (ref 14/00726/FUL).

The Campus will house a wide variety of sports facilities, including a six lane 25m swimming pool with spectator seating, a secondary pool, a four badminton court sports hall, six rink indoor bowls hall and climbing wall, as well as a fitness suite and dance studio.

The project includes a library, flexible office space and healthcare provision together with the refurbishment of the existing historic Melksham House and adjacent Edwardian bathing pool. All facilities will be accessed through a single main entrance and linked by a light and airy glazed concourse.

Melksham Campus is part of Wiltshire Council’s community campus programme which is in the process of delivering over a dozen such projects across the county. Community campuses are developed with input from local people to ensure each one is as individual as the community it serves.

Bridgwater College Academy Masterplan planning application submitted

A planning application has been made for the first phase of the masterplan to create a single integrated campus for Bridgwater College Academy.  The proposals are an essential part of the college’s objective of becoming a fully integrated ‘all-through’ school for pupils aged 3 to 16.

The first phase includes the diversion of existing public footpaths currently dividing the site, remodelling the car parking, restricting vehicular access into the site and the creation of a new ‘Green Heartland’.

DKA have worked with landscape architects MacGregor Smith to design this landscaped focus to the integrated campus with spaces for outdoor teaching and performance that can be accessed by pupils of all ages.

DKA, Women in Property and Herman Miller

When the South West Branch of Women in Property sent out a flyer for a site visit to Herman Miller, (International HQ: VillageGreen) our interiors team were excited at the opportunity to admire the lovely furniture; to tempt them further, there was a chance to win a Herman Miller chair!

VillageGreen boasts the latest in environmental design and has been awarded not only BREEAM  ‘Excellent’ but also a ‘Gold’ LEED award. VillageGreen features the latest in sustainable design such as natural ventilation, recycled locally sourced aggregate materials, energy- efficient lamps and reduced water use… the sustainable design list has all its boxes ticked. The interiors are just as impressive as the architecture, yet there is a quality that goes beyond the sustainable design credits and the aesthetically pleasing designs. It’s the Herman Miller ethos. Staff are encouraged to work where they feel comfortable and collaboration is encouraged. The atmosphere is relaxed, light and inviting. 75% of spaces have natural daylight and 95% of the spaces have views. Work environments are laced with vibrant colours, comfortable seating areas are placed throughout and they are used as comfy work spaces as well as meeting/presentation areas.

The trip left Rebecca and Becky both enthused and inspired. And congratulations to Becky for being the lucky winner of a Herman Miller ‘Sayl’ chair!

Planning application for Steel Fixing Platforms

DKA have become one of the key partners for delivering Nuclear Skills Training in Sedgemoor.  Supporting future nuclear expansion at Hinkley Point C, DKA have delivered three key buildings to date, with a fourth in development. A Planning Application has been submitted to expand the facilities at Cannington’s Construction Skills & Innovation Centre for the UK’s first bespoke Steel Fixing course in collaboration with EDF, BYLoR and Bridgwater College.

Steel fixing will be one of the largest Tier 1 contracts at Hinkley C, requiring a highly skilled workforce. Basing the centre at Cannington will ensure the greatest opportunities for local people, creating a legacy for future generations. Each training zone will teach trainees the skills for erecting steel cages for beams, suspended slabs, columns and wall types. DKA bring their expertise and experience to design the new training areas on large platforms in the landscape, screened by landscaped bunds

As Sedgemoor becomes a key location for Europe’s Nuclear Industry, with Bridgwater College as its training provider, DKA are proud to support them both with inspiring educational facilities.


The new Bridgwater Community Hospital achieved Practical Completion and was handed over to the client, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, on Monday 3rd February on programme and within budget.

DKA are pleased to see this milestone reached having been working with the NHS on designs for this 5000m² Community Hospital since 2011.  We were subsequently employed by successful Procure 21+ contractors, Integrated Health Projects, to see the project through its completion.

With a 30 bed Inpatient Ward, Midwife led Birthing Unit, Therapies, Outpatients and X-ray departments along with a Minor Injuries Unit, this will replace the current outdated hospital in the town centre with new facilities providing 21st century healthcare standards.

The new hospital will become operational from 28th April, however for those of you interested in a tour round the building beforehand there is a public open-day on Saturday 5th April.

DKA achieve BREEAM Excellent

Sustainability is a key driver at DKA which is reflected in all the buildings we design. Our brief for Ashley Down Primary School (Brunel Field) was to achieve a ‘Very Good’ BREEAM rating by Bristol City Council, however the design team set itself the target to get an ‘Excellent’ rating. This was achieved by specifying the correct construction materials for thermal performance, and utilising the orientation and layout to maximise daylight, rather than solely depending on renewables.

Congratulations to all involved for a another great achievement!

A new face at DKA

We are pleased to welcome Sarah Sempala-Ntege to DKA who joins us to build and implement our first ever marketing and communications strategy. Sarah has over 10 years’ experience of marketing, managing the full marketing mix from advertising, events and promotions to strategic brand planning and visual identity design and development.  She has worked with some of the UK’s leading travel brands and is now keen to turn her hand from marketing high speed trains to high tech building solutions.

Sarah relocated with her family from London to Bath in 2012 and when she is not renovating her Grade II listed home in Larkhall, she is yomping through the beautiful Somerset countryside with her 2 daughters, husband and trusty black Labrador.

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Merry Christmas from the team

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all round the office

Not a creature was stirring not even our dormice

The architects nestled all snug in their beds

As visions of balustrades danced in their heads…

The above is an example of why architects rarely do poetry but you might be able to tell how much we are all looking forward to Christmas. The food…the festivities…the food…It’s been a great year at DKA and 2014 promises to bring more of the same, with lots of exciting projects underway and our 21st anniversary to look forward to in the summer. We would like wish every one of our clients, collaborators and friends a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous 2014, what a bunch of crackers you are!

DKA's Christmas Donation

Every year everybody at DKA has the opportunity to nominate a charity to be the recipient of our Christmas donation, which we make on behalf of all our friends in the construction industry and beyond. We know you will be pleased to hear that this year our donation is going to Macmillan Cancer Support, who provide practical, medical and financial support and push for better cancer care.

From all at DKA, may your mulled wine glass never be empty, may your tree never drop its needles and may your reindeers’ nose be the reddest of all. Best wishes for a very happy Christmas and a safe, healthy and prosperous 2014.

New successes in Autodesk® Revit® Architecture!

DKA are proud to announce that for the second year running 4 members of our team have become Autodesk® Certified Professionals in Revit® Architecture.

On 15 November Rebecca Furse, Tom Hillier, Joe Oksien, and David Yeates made the journey to Southampton to take the 2 hour exam. They all passed with flying colours and join an elite group of only 25 Autodesk® Certified Professionals in Revit® Architecture 2014 in the UK at the time of reporting.

This certification gives industry recognition to their computer drawing and modelling skills and demonstrates DKA’s on-going commitment to training and quality in the tools we use every day.

Well done to them all!

Melksham Campus Development moves forward

DKA has recently participated in a county-wide public consultation to hear peoples’ views on the proposed design for the new Melksham Campus Development. The new Campus will house a wide variety of sports facilities, including a six lane 25m swimming pool with spectator seating, a secondary pool, a four badminton court sports hall, six rink indoor bowls hall and climbing wall, as well as a fitness suite and dance studio.

The project includes the refurbishment of the existing historic Melksham House and adjacent Edwardian bathing pool, a library, flexible office space and some healthcare provision. All facilities will be accessed through a single main entrance and linked by a light and airy glazed concourse. Melksham Campus is part of Wiltshire Council’s community campus programme delivering over a dozen such projects across the county. Community campuses are developed with input from local people to ensure each one is as individual as the community it serves. We will be submitting a planning application in early 2014.


Welcome to our new cyber home!

As you can see, we’ve had a makeover for our 21st year in practice and the place still smells of virtual fresh paint and polish. We’ve unpacked all the boxes and we would love to hear what you think.

If you have any feedback or queries on anything that you have found on the website do get in touch with us at

As a practice, we are devoted to listening and working with the client so we look forward to our new website offering another channel of communication – an accessible, informative way to let you know what we are up to. Don’t forget to follow us on twitter for even more updates on what we are up to.

We look forward to hearing from you in this exciting time for the practice.

Thank you!

Our sincere thanks go to our principal photographer Andy Short of Andy Short Photography, website designer Robin Worrall of Rednine Design and Brand Consultants, Alex Bovey of Alex Bovey Consultancy Ltd and many others who have helped us make this website. It has taken a lot of hard work!

Ruth Fraser joins the team

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ruth Fraser to our team, she blew into the office on the day of the big storm and we’re really pleased she did!

Ruth is a chartered architectural technologist with a wealth of experience of working on commercial projects, large scale residential and mixed-use developments. Her strengths lie in her strong detailing skills and her ability to manage all aspects of a project on site.

She has already found the kettle and is sharing our passion for biscuits…this can only go well!

DKA and Women in Property

Women in Property is an organisation that seeks to enhance the profile of women in property. With many networking and learning opportunities, our DKA ladies are always keen to attend a WiP event.

In September, Becky Cook joined fellow female construction and property professionals at Cotswold Life networking event at the Manor by the Lake in Cheltenham with RICS president elect and Keynote speaker Louise Brooke-Smith. She tells us the event was inspiring and she met with a lot of interesting like-minded women (we think she went for the free breakfast!).

More recently, Becky attended a careers evening organised by Women in Property at her old school, Katherine Lady Berkeley in Gloucestershire.

Becky was part of a team of women who helped explain possible careers in the built-environment to a keen mix of students and their parents. It was a great evening all round and we hope to see some of the inspired students in the studio for work experience soon.

To read her thoughts on the evening follow the link to Women in Property.

Friday Talks

As an opportunity to share with our colleagues our favourite buildings and show off our presentation skills our Friday lunchtime talks continue to be a huge success.

Each presentation is an inspiring trip around one of our favourite buildings, and often discusses the architect, its history, its purpose and why it’s successful and a favourite of one of the team.

A pizza delivery signifies kick-off as we gather in our newly appointed crit-space to fill our minds and stomachs.

Incorporating freehand drawing, videos, models, slide carousels and the more usual Powerpoint,  the style of presentation is often more revealing than the chosen building.

So far our architectural tour has taken us to the Great Court at the British Museum, London, The Seagram Building, New York City, The Primary Schools of Hampshire, and The Burrell Collection Museum, Glasgow, amongst others … all from an Airstream caravan whilst contemplating the parallels of Architecture and Fashion.

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Summer students

At DKA we love the summer, not only does David Kent buy us ice-cream in the afternoon but we also look forward to seeing some new faces in the design studio.

This summer we welcome back Ben Norrish and two new faces Hannah Watkins and Akshara Pulpa. Hannah has been studying at the University of Lincoln and will be with us for just under a year. Akshara and Ben both return to the University of Bath at the end of the summer but as we’re en-route we hope they come in and see us often.

Happy Birthday DKA!

On July 7th the practice turned 20 and we celebrated by downing pens and mouses (mice?) and taking to the garden for an afternoon barbeque. The weather was magnificent and we made light work of the mountain of food and raised a few glasses of bubbly as founding practice members David Kent and Jon Allman regaled their younger colleagues with tales of the olden days when apparently architects used something called drawing boards. It was unanimously agreed that while methods have changed, the practice’s devotion to design and the needs of our clients have not. And neither has our devotion to burgers and beer.

Roll on the next 20 years!

Project Verc Ground breaking

DKA as part of the core project team constructing a new Vehicle Engine Research Centre (VERC) were invited to a special ground-breaking ceremony at the Ricardo UK Ltd building in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. The construction, project-managed by HORIBA UK Limited, based in Northampton, will include two emissions chassis test cells as well as a full climatic facility from -30°C to +55°C. The project creating this state-of-the-art low carbon, low emissions vehicle research and development facility is supported by the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) as jobs will be created and protected in this important area of clean technology.

Other contractors present included CCM, Hydrock and Mansell Balfour Beatty, who together form the full HORIBA Turnkey team.  Mr. Horiba, President of HORIBA Limited made a special visit to the UK in order to take part in a traditionally ‘Japanese’ ground-breaking ceremony.