Live Project

Live Project | Now Complete – Taff Vale Regeneration, Llys Cadwyn


Since the completion of this project it has won a number of awards including the Cardiff Property Awards 2021. The project was identified as an ‘exemplar’ project and Highly Commended in the 2021 British Construction Industry Awards, was Highly Commended in the CLAW Project of the Year Awards 2021, and won the Ystadau Cymru 2021 Award for ‘Creating Economic Growth’. 

The Judges said for the Winners of Winners category win “Completely transformed the centre of Pontypridd and has been a social catalyst for positive change, delivering over 3,900 weeks of training and employment opportunities and over 8 million social value return on investment. A masterclass in property usage.”  For the Transformation category the Cardiff Property awards judges commented Clever transformation from a derelict shopping centre into three builds providing hundreds of jobs, office space for thousands and unrivalled views of the river. A decline restored into eye-catching area with new purpose.”

| Live Project Archive |

The Llys Cadwyn redevelopment is a mixed-use scheme comprising 10,700sqm of offices, 2,400sqm of community facilities and 400sqm of café restaurant space. It is a major element in the regeneration of Pontypridd’s town centre at a site which had been derelict for many years. DB3 were appointed in December 2016 to lead a multidisciplinary design team, acting as Architect and Lead.

We are proud to be the architect and lead consultants for this high profile mixed use £44m regeneration scheme in Pontypridd, Wales, which is now in it’s final stages.

Client: Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council
Location: Pontypridd, Wales
Value: £44 million

Live updates

Live updates


It's a milestone day for us as we have reached the practical completion for the last building and the remaining external works and handed the project over!


The big day for Pontypridd, with the opening of our bridge that connects our Llys Cadwyn development to Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, was reported in this article by the BBC


A project team spin class raising charitable funds is postponed due to Lockdown. The public opening of Building C was originally planned for the start of April.


We have some sneak preview pictures of the Leisure For Life Gym which is being fitted out – it is great seeing the space of Building C being filled now, with the library and café downstairs taking shape too.


The building of our bridge is underway now and will reconnect the town centre to Ynysangharad Park on the opposite bank of the River Taff.


Storm Dennis hits South Wales. Various properties on Taff Street are flooded. Taff Vale basement is incomplete and the flood wall is topped causing some damage and disruption.


Handover of Building C to Client, a valentine’s gift to the town. The first event in the Building (a careers fair) is planned for 26/02.


Transport for Wales sign lease to occupy Building A.


A sunny day in Ponty is showing off the timber panelling to Building C. A fine finish with the curves which will be hidden when the zinc cladding is complete.


The project team all pitch in for a contractor’s legacy project to spruce up the local bowls pavilion in Ynysangharad Park. A couple of days painting in the sun in the park.


It may be April Fool’s day but it’s no joke that the Building looks like it is covered in a big white plastic bag.


St. David’s day in Wales and 3 skeletal steel frames stand tall and proud in the town. Building C is taking shape with the first timber cassette panels starting to be installed.


Shuttering for the street level deck starts to go in and Building C stair core starts to take shape. Completion of the brise soleil and the majority of the external works.



The Llys Cadwyn site is surrounded by Conservation Areas but is not within one. Nevertheless, any development proposed upon it needed to carefully consider the impact on the Conservation Areas and listed buildings that surround it. Choosing an appropriate response to that was the challenge.

The entire development is to meet BREEAM Excellent environmental sustainability criteria. There is also an aim to meet the best Inclusive Design principles. The focus is to seek an economic, long term proposal for the site that offers well -designed and effective new buildings.

In detail

In detail

The Brief

This is a genuine mixed-use scheme. The project comprises three buildings, two new landscaped pedestrian streets and a new riverside walkway above a basement area housing car parking and plant rooms.

  • Three new buildings to be provided on the site (Buildings A, B and C) all linked by a new basement with high quality public space at ground level, linking Taff Street to Ynysangharad Park and the river.
  • Buildings A & B are for office use and capable of sub-division on each floor. Servicing and some limited car park provision in the basement.
  • Building C to comprise a mix of D1 and D2 uses, alongside a small café (A3) and some administration space (B1). Each of the three buildings will operate independently, with freedom of working hours.


Due to the complexity of the scheme from the project outset, a stakeholder consultation plan was established that identified all of the likely stakeholders and when/how they would be consulted. This identified members of the council, identified statutory authorities, National Resources Wales, CADW, members of the public, councillor and access groups etc.

In addition to the compulsory pre-planning application consultation now required by Welsh planning regulations, a public exhibition was held over two days in an RCT office building on Gelliwastad Road, Pontypridd, in close proximity to the development site. The Pre-Planning application documents were also hosted on our website to facilitate consultation.

The build in detail

The zinc clad curved community building provides a focus for the scheme and is designed as a counterpoint to the historic 18th century arched stone bridge adjacent to the site. The office buildings are designed to meet ‘institutionally fundable’ specifications, i.e. based on standard BCO specifications, whilst also being capable of achieving BREEAM Excellent. A new public space adjacent to the riverside is designed to cantilever over the existing flood defence wall and some 3m higher to retain levels with Taff and Bridge Streets, ensuring an unfettered view of the river.

Building A – This is predominantly B1 office use. It has been designed to a density of 1 person / 8m2, so could accommodate up to around 680 staff. An A3 restaurant is also suggested at ground and lower ground floors overlooking the Taff as well as an A3 unit on the Taff Street side.

Building B – This is the second office building. Its density has also been designed on the basis of 1 person / 8m2, so can accommodate up to around 400 staff. Like Building A, it also has an element of A3 (food and drink) on the Taff Street side.

Building C – The D1 use (non-residential institution) includes mainly library space with an area for some of the Council’s further services and public exhibition. This will occupy the ground and half the first floor providing an active frontage facing the Chapel and be operational throughout the day and into the evenings. The D2 use (assembly and leisure) will provide fitness facilities (Gym and Spin) and a multi-function space for hire. A café is provided for the benefit of the building’s patrons. The café is sited within the entrance area close to Taff Street.

Landscape Design

Landscape Design

The aim of the landscape design is to create a traffic free public realm that compliments both the proposed new buildings and the existing public realm within the town centre, using the same palette of paving materials to provide continuity with town centre improvements. The new pedestrian spaces located between the three proposed buildings will include paving referencing the building grids, and soft landscape elements in planters to provide pedestrian scale and spatial definition in order to create an inviting environment for both the buildings occupiers and the general public. Trees positioned within planters and seating will be arranged to encourage people to spend time within these spaces.

Reflection about project from one of our Architects – who is also a local lad

Reflection about project from one of our Architects – who is also a local lad

Growing up in Pontypridd in the 70’s and 80’s, the Taff Vale Shopping Centre (affectionately called the precinct) was a solid part of the town fabric. It housed many shops, a restaurant, club, café, pet store, record store, the post office. The busses stopped outside. I have fond memories of going to the record store and playing on the arcade game at the back of the shop. Going into the pet store to look and the tropical fish. While it wasn’t a glamorous or shiny place it was always vibrant and busy with activity. But during the 80’s the precinct tracked the economic trend in the South Wales valleys. Businesses started to moved out and units become vacant. Elements of the fabric started to fall into disrepair and the 60’s brutalist aesthetic which never sought fine detailed beauty looked more and more drab. Grey became the prominent colour without the shop signs shouting out.

The slow decline of the shops eventually lead to the covered area inside being shut completely leaving just a few street facing shops. And that was the prevailing state for many years. A grand old lady hanging on for grim death.

Promises of development came and went, publicised in the local rag and each optimistically showing boats in the river Taff. A unique idea when the average river depth only ever appeared to be three feet at best.

Needless to say that the initial hope of the locals that the area would be rejuvenated waned.

The image of the building gradually shutting it’s eyes and relinquishing any life it had become the new normal. And in a strange way people were quite precious about it. But the despondency of failed new offerings grew and an increasing feeling that Pontypridd was being left behind.

So when the council announced that it had bought the site and was going to redevelop it was met with little reaction but cynical remarks. We’ll believe it when we see it. It was as if the town had resigned to its decline and just wanted to be left to it.

Artist impression drawings were published and received the same public response as every other planning application. ‘Looks nice but it won’t ever get built, we’ve heard it all before.’

And then the competition arrived in our office to take the scheme from outline planning application to completion. This was actually happening…

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