David’s lifelong interest has been in housing and placemaking and he has designed and delivered virtually every type of building. He is particularly interested in how design is influenced by context – physical, cultural, climactic and economic – to achieve evolution and regeneration in cities, and how people move around in their environments. He is one of the UK’s leading experts on the urban design, planning and architecture of major housing developments and the practice’s recent investigations into the evolution of the Private Rented Sector won the joint first prize in the Wates/RIBA Private Rented Sector ideas competition.
He has worked on some of the UK’s best known new town developments– Milton Keynes, Warrington, Basildon and Cwmbran and more recently on the major expansion of Dublin’s suburban centres such as Ballymun, Leopardstown, Adamstown and Blanchardstown, among others. David has a profound understanding of all scales of housing development and regeneration, and the policy and funding regimes that have shaped Britain’s contemporary built environment. His particular interest is how places can be helped to evolve incrementally and naturally over time and in the process resolve regeneration, renewal and growth issues. The object for him is that the process should bring together many different building types and make distinctive districts.
He led the multi-disciplinary team on the Ballymun Regeneration Project in Dublin which won the Irish Planning Institute’s Planning Achievement Award and provided a framework for the sustainable social and economic regeneration that has transformed the area from the image popularised by author Roddy Doyle. That project, which has transformed the dormitory 1960s estate into a small town, has lead to other planning studies for residential, retail, leisure and transport interchange commissions.
The Jordanian Development Agency invited Metwork to lead the Dead Sea Regional Plan in Jordan, to transform the demilitarised eastern shore to take advantage of demand for 25,000 hotel rooms and improve the region’s tourism facilities while helping preserve the area’s stunning natural beauty. The proposals won the MIPIM/AR Masterplanning Award. Other key projects include leading the design and creation of Durham Millennium Quarter for the City Council, comprising a theatre, visitor centre, library and civic space in this World Heritage city.
He was also responsible for the design and delivery of Cable and Wireless College 5ha £24m campus in Coventry, outright winner of the Royal Fine Art Commission Building of the Year Award and described by one critic as “one of the best buildings in Europe”.
He has been a leading light in the Civic Trust Awards for many years and a judge on many architecture and urban design competitions and awards schemes. He chairs the national panel for the Civic Trust Awards. He has been involved in Diploma year teaching and been an RIBA External Examiner at several universities. David is an academician of the Academy of Urbanism and member of several design panels, notably the Cambridgeshire Quality Panel.