Andrew Nixon (Powell Dobson), Architect


Established in 1966, Powell Dobson is an architectural practice with offices in Swansea, Cardiff and London, with expertise in a wide range of building types and sectors, from retail, leisure and culture, through to schools, further & higher education, health and all types of residential and mixed use development.

Powell Dobsons’s interest in green roof technologies stems from core commitments to embedding sustainable design principles in all projects from inception.

Our engagement in the CIVIC project has led us to focus on key strategies for sustainability within the immediate city centre. In particular, we are interested in researching practical and sustainable measures for existing, underused flat roofs as part of a holistic regeneration strategy for the city.

Did you know that there are acres of underused spaces above your head as
you walk through the city? Much of Swansea’s rooftop space lies empty and unused. These rooftops offer endless opportunities to revitalise the city centre, by providing new public spaces, gardens, wildlife retreats and food production.

The Swansea city roofs project aims to stimulate discussion about the inclusion of sustainable strategies that can be incorporated into the city centre’s extensive building stock, in an accessible and engaging way.

As a visitor or resident to Swansea city centre, how would you like to see empty and underused flat roofs being used? What sort of practical things could be done on a flat roof? Imagine if there were no boundaries to what could be achieved: what would you propose? Could Swansea’s roofspaces become places to grow fruit and vegetables or start beekeeping? Perhaps they could support garden allotments? Or, perhaps they could be linked together to form a large attraction or destination: an amusement park, sculpture garden, outdoor museum or city beach? Could they help to restore natural habitats for plants and insects, by

providing spaces for wildlife conservation? Perhaps the roofs could combine wind and solar power technologies, helping promote a sustainable future for the city? These are just a few ideas, but to get a full picture of what’s possible, just let your imagination run. Your ideas could help to find new uses for Swansea’s rooftops, helping to provide interesting and innovative solutions and combining exciting and environmentally-friendly ways to promote Swansea’s cultural values and sustainability goals.

The project’s engagement with the public through a number of events will provide an analytical and explorative canvas, considering possibilities for rooftops as imaginative public spaces and urban farms, and investigating conservation measures such as rainwater harvesting and electricity production through small- scale solar and wind farms.

It is hoped that the involvement of members of the public sharing ideas and aspirations will act as a springboard to engagement of developers, landlords, tenants and the City and County of Swansea in exploring practical measures that can be adopted to re-imagine underused flat roofs, offering the city roofscape a new lease of life by providing distinctive, flexible spaces to promote Swansea’s culture, traditions and sustainability targets.