Promoting good design


Our vision is for a Wales that is simply a better place.


As an expert body, the Design Commission for Wales was established by the National Assembly for Wales to promote good design. We work with local planning authorities, investors, developers and commissioning clients to capture the value of high quality design; helping you to deliver better outcomes, a better return on investment and greater public good. We also nurture the design talent and skills necessary for growth and innovation.

With a remit spanning the whole of the built environment in Wales, we are an expert, multi-disciplinary team. We are not a membership organisation or professional body and we do not represent the interests of any single profession.

Our purpose is to:

  • Champion high standards of design and architecture to the public and private sector in Wales by promoting wider understanding of design issues and the importance of good standards in enhancing the built environment across all sectors.
  • Promote design practice that is compatible with the Welsh Assembly Government’s Sustainable Development Scheme, promoting best practice in energy efficiency, waste disposal and public transport.
  • Encourage design practice that is compatible with the highest standards in relation to equal opportunity and promoting social inclusion.
  • Give due regard to promoting excellence in day to day developments, like housing estates and industrial units, as well as promoting excellence in prestige projects.

Interested in finding out more? You can call us on 029 2045 1964 or email

Team & Board

Read more information on our team members and board here.

Gayna Jones BA Hons, FCIH, FRSAChair, Board of Directors

Chair of the Design Commission for Wales Gayna is a graduate of Aberystwyth University, with private, public and voluntary sector experience throughout her career. Starting in human resources in a Unilever company, she went on to work for Women’s Aid, finally settling into a career in housing. After a decade as Chief Executive of a Housing Association, she established her own Housing Consultancy. Gayna has also served as a local authority councillor, was the first independent member appointed to the Regulatory Board for Wales, and was appointed a Commissioner on the Board of the Design Commission for Wales in 2010. Gayna is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing (FCIH) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)

Carole-Anne Davies, BA (Hons), PG Dip. Chief Executive

Carole-Anne was previously Director of Cardiff Bay Arts Trust, a Trustee of Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales and former consultant to the Scottish Government. She is a Trustee of the Architectural Heritage Fund, and founding Chair of Gregynog Trust, the charity that owns the Grade II* Listed Gregynog Hall and Estate in mid-Wales. As the Commission's founding chief executive, she established a co-production business model at DCFW, integrating the expertise of independent, multidisciplinary, private sector professionals with that of the core staff team. An humanities graduate, she is also an alumna of CSCLeaders Commonwealth International Study Conference, of Harvard Kennedy School Executive Programme and the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

Sue Jones, MBA, MSc, Assoc CIPDResources & Finance Manager

Sue manages the Commission’s human and financial resources and joined the Commission in 2003. Responsible for financial controls, HR, Health & Safety, administration systems and team support, Sue also coordinates Design review services, case study and publication research and data management. Sue’s strategic and operational background includes finance, human resources, contract management, policy development, employee welfare and well-being. Sue holds an MBA with Distinction alongside her MSc HRM with Merit and has a strong track record in government funding mechanisms, personnel management and the provision of contracted services. Sue is a member of CIPD.

Jen Heal, BSc (Hons) MA, MRTPIDesign Advisor

An urban designer and planner, Jen joined the Design Commission for Wales in 2014. With significant professional experience in the private sector, Jen studied City & Regional Planning and her MA in Urban Design at Cardiff University. Jen is a fully accredited member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (MRTPI). Jen’s role at the Commission includes developing and promoting DCFW’s design services, training, events and engagement throughout Wales, preparing guidance and leading client support. In her previous roles, Jen led a diverse range of urban design, planning and regeneration projects for public, private and third sector clients. She has delivered design concepts, town centre strategies, environmental improvement schemes and planning applications as well as developing engagement and training programmes. Jen is a Commissioner of the South East Wales Transport Commission, chaired by Lord Burns.

Efa Lois Thomas BA MArchPlace Advisor

Efa studied a BA in Architecture and an M.Arch degree at the University of Liverpool. During her BA degree in 2016, she won the National Eisteddfod Architecture Scholarship, which is sponsored by the Design Commission for Wales. In 2019 Efa joined the Design Commission team as Place Advisor. She also writes about architecture for the Welsh language Cara Magazine and is official illustrator for Tafwyl music festival. Efa was also the recipient of the Urdd Eisteddfod’s Art Scholarship in 2018, the National Urdd Eisteddfod, Natural Resources Wales and Snowdonia National Park Geraint George Scholarship in 2019.

Ian Carter BSc, MA Urban Design, MRTPICommissioner, Board of Directors

Ian is Group Director of Development and Asset Management at Cynon Taf Community Housing Group and leads their asset management, maintenance, planned investment and development functions. Ian is a chartered town planner and qualified urban designer, receiving his Honours degree in City & Regional Planning and Masters in Urban Design from Cardiff University. He worked in the private sector and subsequently in Newport City Council’s Major Applications team as Principal Urban Designer, before joining Newport City Homes and leading their ambitious regeneration programme for the Pillgwenlly area of Newport. Ian has long experience of, and is a passionate advocate for the Commission and its Design Review Service.

Elinor Gray-Williams BA (Hons) BArch RIBA SCACommissioner, Board of Directors

Elinor Gray-Williams is a Chartered Architect and RIBA Specialist Conservation Architect. She joined Donald Insall Associates in 2007 after completing the SPAB Lethaby and Plunket Scholarships. Elinor leads the Conwy office of the firm and is an experienced historic buildings architect with a strong commitment to Wales and its heritage. Elinor enjoys the challenges of designing new buildings and interventions within historic settings, and works creatively to maximise opportunities for sustainability.

Philip JardineCommissioner, Board of Directors

Phil is a partner and Divisional Director of the Built Environment division, Blake Morgan. He has considerable experience of large-scale public and private development work, joint ventures, regeneration projects and property transactions particularly relating to the governmental, health and education sectors.

Ewan Jones, BSc (Hons), BArch (Hons), RIBACommissioner, Board of Directors

Ewan Jones is a partner at Grimshaw extensively involved in their transport and civil engineering work, masterplanning and commercial projects.

Ewan led Grimshaw’s successful bids to join frameworks with BAA and TfL, working on masterplans and strategic studies for both clients. He was project architect for the Stirling Prize shortlisted Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA station and for works at Paddington station. Ewan designed the award winning Newport City footbridge and leads Grimshaw’s bridge design work.
He works closely with major developers and leads the practice’s London office building projects. Following completion of 25 Gresham Street, now Lloyds-TSB’s head office, he gained planning consent for redevelopment of the former London Stock Exchange site and led design of The St. Botolph Building for Minerva. His team are now preparing proposals for a major commercial development alongside Paddington station.

Ewan’s work includes architectural component design for London’s Crossrail scheme and he is Director of Architecture for Sydney’s North West Rail Link. Ewan is also a co-Chair of DCFW's Design Review panel. He was born and grew up in Wales.

Fiona NixonCommissioner, Board of Directors

Fiona is Head of Estates Projects at Swansea University. After graduating from the Welsh School of Architecture, she spent several years in private practice in Glasgow working primarily on research facilities for the HE Sector. She joined Swansea University in 1994. In her current role, she manages a complex programme of projects across the University estate. Fiona is a strong advocate of collaborative working across the construction industry, and has extensive experience of procuring and managing consultant and contractor frameworks.

Design Review Panel
Toby AdamArchitecture, Urban Design, Gaunt Francis Architects
Jonathan AdamsArchitecture, JA & Partners
Maria AsenjoArchitecture, Procurement, Project Management, MACE
Ashley BatesonBuilding Services Engineering, Sustainability, Hoare Lea
Jamie Brewster - Co-ChairArchitecture
Simon CarneArchitecture, Urban Design, Consultant
Kedrick Davies - Co-ChairPlanning, Urban Design, Consultant
Magda FabisiakEngineering Highways Infrastructure, Jacobs
Mike Gwyther-JonesArchitecture, Hammersmith & City
Mark HallettArchitecture, Property, Regeneration, Igloo
Jonathan HinesArchitecture, Decarbonisation, Architype
Jun HuangArchitecture, Commercial & Property Development, Wei Yang & Partners
Chris JeffordArchitecture, Planning, Gaunt Francis Architects
Ewan Jones - Co-ChairArchitecture, Infrastructure, Grimshaw Global
Helen KaneAccess, Inclusion, Consultant
Martin KnightStructures Architecture, Infrastructure, Knight Architects
Alister KrattLandscape Architecture, Masterplanning, LDA
Cora Kwiatkowski - Co-ChairArchitecture, Infrastructure , Stride Treglown
Andrew Linfoot - Co-ChairLandscape Architecture, Infrastucture, Jacobs
John LoydEngineering - Building Services, Sustainability, Hoare Lea
Wendy MadenUrban Design, Planning, City of Bath
Simon PowerEcology, Engineering, Planning, Infrastructure, Mott MacDonald
Simon RichardsLandsacpe Architecture, Land Studio
Elfed RobertsUrban Design, Residential Development, Pobl
Phil RobertsArchitecture, Surveying, Sustainability, Consultant
Ben SibertBridges, Structures Civil Engineering, Arup
Steve SmithUrban Design, Planning, Swansea Council
Steven SmithArchitecture, Urban Narrative
Amanda SpenceArchitecture, Research. Alt Architecture
Lynne Sullivan OBEArchitecture, Sustainable By Design
Matt ThomasTransport Planning, Vectos
Jonathan Vernon Smith - Co-ChairUrban Design, Architecture, Urban Design Box
Angela WilliamsArchitecture, Consultant
Neil WilliamsonLandscape Architecture, NWAssociates
Richard WoodsArchitecture, Urban Fabric Architects
Jamie YeomanArchitecture, Rio Architects