Design Research Unit Wales(DRUw)

The Design Research Unit Wales (DRUw) was established in 2001 with the aim of founding the creative activities of the design studio on a sound research-based approach.

Although a relatively young organisation, DRUw has attracted a number of commissions in which research-based design is married to notions of sustainability, tectonics, material innovation, environmental and functional performance, and economy.

Working mainly in Wales, projects require a carefully considered response to the sensitive landscapes or industrial and urban contexts which are typical of this region. Schemes are often pursued through collective and collaborative endeavour in partnership with others.

As part of the evidence-based design process, DRUw continues to value and practise hand drawing, the making and testing of physical models and proto-typing combined with works in digital media.

Alongside design projects, DRUw is undertakes orthodox research in the various fields, publishing its research interests in journals and at international conferences. DRUw organises annual design symposium and conferences as well as contributing to teaching at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University.

Through this practice in this particular context a number of common themes have emerged in the work of the Design Research Unit :-

Sustainable Design

DRUw’s design approach is ethically driven in terms of global responsibility and therefore passive strategies are considered from the outset of each project to limit the expenditure of funds, resources energy and land.

Design in Sensitive landscapes

The country within which we practice and study is endowed with a variety of challenging settings for building. The Unit has an emerging portfolio of projects that are concerned with the successful integration of architecture and landscape.

Tectonics and material innovation

Combining interests in traditional craft and tectonic innovation, DRUw has been involved in various projects that explore and develop material properties and construction systems.


DRUw validates and tests designs through the use of the School’s environmental laboratory where daylight design, solar and wind studies are conducted using physical models. As well as the use of the environmental laboratory another key resource is the Architecture Library of the Welsh School of Architecture. This is the most comprehensive architectural and planning library in the region and contains historical and theoretical texts on architecture, urbanism and landscape, plus an extensive collection of monographs on national and international practice
About Us
Design Research Unit w
Bute Building
King Edward VII Ave
Tel: 02920 874430
Email: dru@cf.ac.uk
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