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Design Approach

Haysom Ward Miller Architects is a Cambridge based RIBA Award winning practice. Our work includes a wide range of projects from private one-off houses, to housing developments, educational, ecclesiastic and other building types.

HWM do not promote a singular architectural style or brand. Instead we seek to develop an architectural language which is strongly rooted in the surrounding context. We aim to design buildings and spaces which are responsive, dynamic and integrated. Our concern is not principally with the designed object as much as how that object informs and influences the surrounding environment. The design process is one of translation and interpretation, which begins with a mapping and reading of the surrounding context and ends with a built form which we hope will enhance and reinforce pre-existing positive aspects of its surroundings whilst healing the negatives.


Consideration of the effect of our buildings on our environment has always been at the root of our projects.  This remains a primary concern with continuing clear evidence of Climate Change and the need to develop a more sustainable way of designing, building and living.


All projects begin with a brief that summarises the needs of the client, the characteristics of the site and the priorities that will guide the design.   Sustainability must be given high priority in defining this brief.


The RIBA has joined the global declaration of an environment and climate emergency.  The UK government has passed a law requiring the UK to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.  We as Architects are in an influential position as we are guided by this in all our designs.


These are the aims that the RIBA has set out that will make a demonstrable change in the progress of climate change:


Reduce operational energy by 75% (before UK offsetting)

We can achieve this through effective insulation reducing heat loss, building air tightness and careful building design that takes account of solar gain and avoids overheating.  Low carbon heating using heat pumps also contributes to this.


Reduce embodied carbon by at least 50 - 70% (before UK offsetting)

Reuse and adaption of existing buildings and materials is a key approach.

We also consider to the embodied energy in all materials we use, minimising high embodied energy materials like metal and prioritising low energy and natural materials like timber. 


Reduce potable water use by at least 40%

We carefully specify low water use fittings and consider the storage and reuse of rainwater where appropriate


Achieve all core health and wellbeing targets

These include the avoidance of overheating, good daylighting levels, low carbon dioxide through ventilation, low VOCs and formaldehydes from finishes and fittings.





Patrick trained at Cambridge University completing his Diploma in 1983. He worked with several Cambridge practices before setting up Patrick Ward - Chartered Architects in 1992.  He has taught at Cambridge University and the Kent Institute of Art and Design and has exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Patrick won an RIBA Regional Award for his bird hide at RSPB Titchwell; more recent projects include the refurbishment and sensitive upgrading of the Grade 1 listed Rose Castle in Cumbria.


Tom read architecture at Cambridge University. He qualified in 1996 while working for David Lea Architects in North Wales, a practice that specialised in combining low energy design and materials with a humane modernism in the Scandinavian tradition. Tom continues to stay up to date with the latest thinking on sustainable construction priorities such as low embodied energy, superinsulation, the reduction of indoor pollutants and breathability. Tom applies this knowledge to achieve very high levels of energy efficiency in his designs as a matter of course, often without recourse to obvious “bolt-on” technologies. In particular, he has used this approach in the design of a number of successful private house and education projects to achieve low energy costs and excellent indoor environment while meeting tight budgets and programmes.

Tom enjoys using texturally rich, long-lived, low energy (and often traditional) materials in a modern way, often informed by an excellent knowledge of historic construction techniques and details gained through work on various university, ecclesiastical and other historic building projects. He has taught Construction to students of the University of Cambridge School of Architecture and acted as a student mentor for the School.


In recent years Tom’s projects have been recognised with local, regional and national prizes including the Cambridge Design and Construction Awards Best Large Building (2013) and Best Small Building (2019) and RIBA Awards at the Regional (2020) and National levels (2018 and 2022).


Rowan has been practising architecture in Cambridge for over 20 years with extensive experience working on Cambridge colleges and housing. He has designed and delivered many housing developments around Cambridgeshire. Most of these have been on complex brownfield sites which have demanded a sensitive tailored solution in response to the constraints and opportunities of the surrounding setting. These are buildings which sit comfortably within the surrounding built context and are also contemporary, fresh and of our time.

Rowan has an active role in delivering community-led development. He has worked with local communities and organisations at a strategic level and on individual projects to enable local groups to become actively involved in defining how their towns and villages should grow and evolve. He has been part of an emerging trend which sees planning and development as a collective enterprise, a participatory act of community building. He has worked with Community Land Trusts, Parish and District Councils and charities to facilitate this process. Rowan is currently working on a CLT-led village extension of 100 houses in Stretham and with East Cambridgeshire District Council on a CLT led Garden Village development in the district.


Liz studied and qualified as an Architect in Cambridge and has since amassed a breadth of experience, having worked on larger historic buildings in London and Cambridge. She has competed a number of Health Centre projects, working on improving the patient experience within the necessarily strict regulatory framework. 


Liz was architect for extensive upgrade work to the accommodation and public rooms at the Grade 2 listed Jockey Club in Newmarket and continues to enjoy the challenge of co-ordinating an effective project team. She has a strong interest in educating the public in changes they can make to combat climate change.


Hannah chose architecture as a profession with sustainability at the core of that decision, choosing to study architecture at the University of Virginia in the US under William McDonagh, a global leader in sustainable design and early developer of Cradle to Cradle design and the circular economy. There she led classes on his ‘Sustainable Choices’ course, a university-wide multi-disciplinary elective on the concept of sustainability, and won a travelling scholarship to carry out thesis research in Durban, South Africa.


Hannah has since worked as an architect for fifteen years in Dublin, Sydney, London and Cambridge working on a broad range of old and new build housing types, private to social, with varying briefs, budgets, locations, and construction methods.



T. 01223 578 545


First Floor

20 Bridge Street



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Design Approach
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