Cowan Architects Christmas 2018 Newsletter

Cowan Architects Christmas 2018 Newsletter



We have had a very busy year, creating and delivering exciting designs for a large number of clients, within a wide range of sectors, all underpinned with at least one of our core, creative threads of inclusivity, sustainability and heritage. This has culminated in Build Magazine selecting us as Architect of the Year for the South East in 2018, in recognition of our achievements. Some of our highlights are:



We have designed and are completing delivery of a large hospital project, the refurbishment of the General Ward (floor 11) and Maternity Triage (floor 12), at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, with Kier Construction.

Alongside this we are working on a number of projects at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore including the master planning and design of six separate departments; as well as the planning phase of the new, world-class Prosthetic and Orthotics Department, in a purpose-designed 5-storey building overlooking the surrounding green belt.

We have also completed our most recent phase at the Royal Hospital of Neuro-disability, Putney, winning a design award for the new catering facilities within the listed main building.

Additionally, we have delivered the master plan, phased approach for the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead and are currently working with them to realise the first phase. This is especially rewarding as it is our local hospital and such an important part of the local community.

Finally, on the Healthcare front, we have been appointed to the NHS SBS framework, which has enabled our healthcare team to work on a wider range of projects and as a result, we have enlarged the Healthcare Team further with the appointment of Interior Technical Designer, Liz Rubin, joining us from Sheppard Robson.


Care and Assisted Living:

Cowan Architects are currently working on a number of care homes, being responsible for over 100 new beds this year. This includes new build, extensions to listed care homes and existing building refurbishments. This has included all aspects of the RIBA process from feasibility to on-site delivery.

Excitingly, we are also questioning current thinking with a number of like-minded consultants to deliver new concepts for the enhancement of the strategy of innovative care environments including dementia care, branding strategy, interior design and PassivHaus internal environments. These ideas will be showcased and shared with operators and developers at the Dementia Care and Nursing Home Show, in March 2019.


Heritage and Conservation:

Our Heritage and Conservation team, has grown with the appointment of Michael Holland, as a result of our enlarging portfolio of specialist buildings including the nationally significant Grade I listed Worth Church, Isfield Place and Shovelstrode Manor (home to the Queen Mother’s brother).

We have also been appointed as technical advisors to the National Trust, as Inspecting Architects to over 10 churches and appointed to another further diocese in Canterbury.



Educationally we are delivering new facilities for a local Special Education Needs (SEND) School in Croydon, including a hydrotherapy pool and multi-use space, looking at multi-purpose education spaces at St Marks School, Bath and sports facilities at a Surrey based College.

We have also received planning for world-class sports and teaching facilities for Cricket and Golf at Millfield School in Somerset. This extensive scheme has been tendered and will be opening in 2019.


Master Planning:

Cowan Architects have been appointed on a number of master plans, including some 150 units in Barking, nearly 400 units with mixed-use commercial space, 44 acres of industrial land in West Sussex and three further urban edge sites locally to East Grinstead of over 100 units combined.

We have also been appointed to undertake the delivery of a winery that we successfully master planned and received planning permission for earlier this year. We are hopeful that this will come in handy for the Christmas party!



Cowan Architects have now been appointed to design a 150-unit scheme, ranging from 14 to 8 storeys in Barking. Following a successful pre-application with the local authority, it is currently being reviewed by the Greater London Authority. Excitingly, we are also being asked to look at the adjacent site which could bring the landmark development to over 300-units, creating a gateway to the wider area regeneration

We have also delivered a number of prior-approval schemes across the South East, delivering nearly 100-units towards the relevant authorities’ housing targets.

At the other end of the scale, we have created, designed and delivered over 20 individual homes for a number of clients, within urban and rural settings, including purpose-designed extensive Passivhaus homes, new-build contemporary homes and adapting homes for the needs of our clients who have been helped by our Expert Witnesses. These schemes are very exciting as they allow all of our architects at all stages of their architectural careers, some real opportunity for design flair.



This summer Cowan Architects has sponsored 15 year old Toby Whales, a local student who has been selected by the UK and GB teams for his talent in playing Inline Hockey, which is essentially ice hockey using inline roller blades. Having played since he was 10, Toby’s training routine is gruelling and requires total commitment and dedication. Every other weekend is spent with the team in Sheffield or Rotherham with very little downtime. In early July, Toby played with Team GB in Lyon at the European Championships and helped bring back a Bronze Medal, and later on he was with Team UK playing in Missouri, USA against the Americas where he was picked for Team Pride which was the coaches’ and teams’ choice of best players.

“I will work hard and remain committed to a sport that I love that has given me friends around the world and memories I will never forget” says Toby. An inspiration to us all.



On the Heritage front, we are continuing to work at Isfield Place and this year completed the restoration of a pair of Queen Anne-style dormers to the garden façade which were removed in the 1950s.  Through careful archive research and working closely with specialist stonemasons and carpenters, we gained consent for their reinstatement and monitored the work on site. The result is helping to restore the ‘face’ of Isfield Place back to its former glory.



Cowan Architects has been appointed onto the NHS Shared Business Services Framework, enabling us to provide high quality architectural design services to our existing and up-coming NHS clients. We can now bring our specialist healthcare skills, including estate rationalisation, departmental refurbishment and new build extensions to a wider audience of Trusts.



This year, the Expert Witness team has been increasing their work in both Scotland and the Republic of Ireland by giving personal development seminars to solicitors’ practices and regularly attending CPD conferences to keep up to date with these jurisdictions.

The team is now familiar with the differences in the legal systems in both these areas and as a result has been enjoying a rise in appointments as Expert Witnesses.




Our specialism in designing and project managing domestic disabled properties nationally, has seen steady growth this year.

Exciting commissions have included a number of Passivhaus designed properties which have great health advantages for the disabled. These include constant temperatures, a cleaner, more controlled environment, and a minimum 80% reduction in energy costs compared to existing builds and 50% to current building regulations standards. The construction costs when compared against traditional builds, are only marginally more expensive but we believe this is outweighed by both health and running costs benefits.

Some of our current projects sites include Kings Langley and Watford (Herts), Gosport (Hants), East Harling (Norfolk), Croydon (Surrey), Malvern (Worcs) and London.

Beth Bosteels joined the ‘build out’ team earlier this year and is proving a helpful addition offering her skills as both designer and building surveyor.



Earlier this year Cowan Architects again enjoyed hosting a stand at the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) conference in Brighton. As a supporter of the UK Charity for Patient Safety and Justice we enjoyed meeting and having discussions with a number of both familiar and new clinical negligence solicitors, case managers, occupational therapists, health professionals, and most of all, clients.



Recently, Dave Callin, Director of Architecture and Jonathan Cerowski who heads up our Conservation and Heritage team, gave a seminar to a gathering of Land Agents, Estate Agents and Project Managers on the subject of Heritage buildings, along with an update on planning. Jonathan’s detailed knowledge and experience on the most effective methods in gaining planning consents and for sensitive adaptions and extensions to listed buildings made for an informative talk. Dave managed successfully to make the often dry subject of recent changes and updates to both national and local planning law really quite interesting! To see the online seminar notes please contact Georgia Munnery on



Marisa Shek, Cowan’s Healthcare Architect and Expert Witness Director, sits on the Executive Committee for Architects for Health. This year, co-director, Nigel Marcoolyn, joined her for the annual Health Presentation competition at HKS’s London office where contestants gave a 2 minute presentation on a healthcare subject in what has become a fiercely competitive event. Nigel’s salivating, passionate and ‘tongue-in-cheek’ presentation about the crisis the NHS is currently facing from cheese addiction, won the audience over and he scooped 1st place by a clear margin.



We continue to be instructed in property search for clients needing a suitable home to adapt for their specialist needs. We started providing this service as we were receiving so many requests for design adaptations to clearly inappropriate properties that had already been purchased.

Our concise reports are specific and include:

  • A description of our understanding of the Client’s disability
  • The space requirements of the Client and their family or care team
  • A detailed schedule of accommodation requirements
  • Details of location parameters
  • A detailed description of how each property considered may be adapted to suit the Client’s needs
  • Preliminary adaptation costs
  • Property comparison schedule

Over the last year, a number of new solicitors and case managers have also been requesting this service.



Our Conservation Associate Architect, Jonathan Cerowski, has been invited by the National Trust to act as a Specialist Advisor to the organisation, helping the Trust’s properties decide how to develop their buildings and estates.  The role has taken him around the South-East, notably to Mottisfont Abbey, and heritage properties in Oxfordshire, among others, where he has helped with contemporary and historic designs for their heritage buildings and landscapes.



Cowan Architects is now in its twelfth year of sponsoring the South East Region of the Riding for the Disabled and to celebrate David Cowan was able to present the new Cowan Challenge Trophy for Young Volunteer of the Year at the Autumn Regional Conference. It went to Georgia Budden from Quest RDA in Chobham, Surrey.

The conference was the culmination of a number of regional events throughout the spring and summer including a sunny Challenge Day for young riders that featured the Countryside Challenge, a Dressage competition and a Fancy Dress, as well as a Dressage qualifier at Hickstead in torrential rain.

There were also two carriage driving events – a summer show and an indoor qualifier which involves the three disciplines of dressage, driving a course of cones and also obstacles. Aaron Dellaway, from the Architectural Studio, presented the awards and was impressed by the speed and agility needed. “This has been really inspirational to see the skill and dexterity required from these incredible drivers. I’ve been amazed today” he commented.



The fourth annual European Healthcare Congress was held at the Royal College of Physicians in London in June, with the subject of ‘Utopia or Dystopia? Visioning the Future of Health’.

Cowan Architects’ Emma Smyth was invited to present her research paper, ‘Pharmacogenetics and Architecture’, in the Wolfson Theatre, as part of the ‘Architecture and Technology’ congress stream.

Speaking alongside other healthcare team leaders from Stantec and Arup, Emma spoke about pharmacogenetics – the genetic screening of patients to predict their therapeutic and adverse effects to medication, which will be the next disruptive technology in the pursuit of personalised medicine. She identified the changes that need to be made to the architectural design of new and existing healthcare facilities hoping that this knowledge will help inform clinical and operational design decisions made now, so that when the technology becomes widely available, the healthcare system is ready.