The Building - The Architect
Renowned Welsh architects Powell Dobson had the thrilling task of transforming the structure of Browns Hotel. Their expertise, creativity and dynamism would be crucial as the iconic building was thrust into a bright new era. Working on a high-profile location dating back around 260 years - along with its substantial extensions and adjoining premises - they maximised the property's original Georgian elegance to create a beautiful home for our boutique hotel.
The firm, with offices in Swansea and Cardiff, was asked to create an innovative space with 14 rooms, a conference centre, coffee lounge and public bar. The bar was to stay where it has always been. Opposite was the Reading Room, a contrasting area for teas and coffees. The rooms would be created in four areas – the original 1750s house, its second floor enlargement, part of the adjoining Clarence House and the Ballroom extension to the main building's rear.
Due to its protected status as one of the UK's listed buildings, The Browns restoration had to be carried out with great care and attention. Powell Dobson was up to the task.
The Practice's first involvement came in December 2007 when initial sketches were produced. A survey followed then more detailed sketches and consultation with planning officers and conservation officers. Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent were granted in August 2009. Construction work began in May 2011.
Swansea-born project architect Joanna Morgan said the main challenge had been working with the constraints of the Listed Building and particularly the building's varying floor levels.
Upgrading the structural elements had to be carried out carefully in conjunction with official recommendations and those which needed to be replaced were done so on a like-for-like basis.
She said: "It was important to retain as much of the original structure as possible; the most important physical characteristics were the Georgian façade, with its timber sliding sash windows and the portico entrance. It was also a major challenge to install the new mechanical and electrical services necessary to create modern, comfortable rooms throughout the building, without detrimentally affecting the character of the building."