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1. Introduction to Cardiff Draconians FC

Cardiff Draconians are a local football club who play out of their grounds in Lydstep Park in North Cardiff. The club supports 5 teams in total: a 1st XI, 2nd XI, a Youth Team, and Under 14 and Under 13 sides. The club’s 1st XI secured promotion to Tier 3 in 2019, allowing them to compete in the Ardal Leagues. This was a huge success for the club and their profile, however it also required urgent improvements to their grounds if they were to continue to qualify for Tier 3. Thanks to the generous support of the local community, local elected officials, local businesses and sponsors and a dedicated volunteer team, the club was able to design and construct a small 150 seat grandstand and fence in the pitch within just 6 weeks!


The Draconians are not a wealthy club, and they rely heavily on the generosity of their fans and local businesses to continue to thrive. They are an important part of the community of North Cardiff, as well as being a feeder team into other Welsh squads. They also provide an important recreational activity for the young people of Cardiff.


As their campaign in Tier 3 has continued, they have played host to much larger clubs. As a result they recognise a need to upgrade their changing and ancillary facilities, for the benefit of their own teams, visitors, and their own supporters. The first stage in the process will be to secure external funding, but in order to have a good chance of succeeding here they need to demonstrate they have an innovative project ready to be developed further.


2. Aim of the Net-Zero (Carbon) Changing Facilities Design Competition

Cardiff Draconians approached Design Circle to help them launch and administer a design ideas competition to source a concept design for their new changing facilities building. They are looking for novel design approaches that would help the project stand out if it is to be submitted alongside other community engagement schemes for centralised funding packages. However it is vital that the building is also realistic and deliverable, as well as being fit for purpose. It must be capable of being constructed by local trades for a modest budget. Design quality should still be evident, and it is expected that the winning entry will demonstrate innovation by reconciling various site and budget constraints against the brief. 


As part of a desire to deliver a unique project, the Cardiff Draconians would like entrants to explore ways to make their proposed schemes net-zero in terms of operational carbon (in accordance with the UK Green Building Council’s definition from May 2019). The team is very committed to the wellbeing of future generations, and this should be evident in any new project the organisation commits to. Possible routes to achieve this may be the incorporation of low-carbon M&E installations or on-site renewable energy generation; and entrants are encouraged to use the whole of the Draconians’ grounds to their full potential. Entrants may also want to explore ways to reduce the embodied carbon in their schemes. The competition entry requirements are not expecting entrants to provide energy calculations for their proposals to back up their ‘net-zero’ status.


The new building will unify both changing facilities for the home and away team (as well as match officials) with new refreshment conveniences in one structure. The building will replace the existing changing facilities structure (former public toilets) to the North-East end of the field. A link to a google map of the existing grounds can be found here.

The use of the new building will vary throughout the year. The changing rooms will be used for limited periods (Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings) in the months September through March. In addition during August, April and May there would be one evening use each week. In June and July the facility would be used for up to three evening training sessions each week. Entrants may want to consider how the building will handle the different environmental conditions through the seasons, and should also bear in mind the building must be secured when not in use.


Vandalism is a current and historic issue in the local area around the Draconians’ grounds and any proposed design needs to be cognisant of this. Windows may need to be at a high level and protected, and external doors would need to be as secure as possible. Entrants should try and find innovative ways of addressing these concerns without making the structure look ‘closed-off’ at all times. 

3. Building Requirements

The below requirements have been provided directly by the Cardiff Draconians, along with a guideline construction budget of £200,000. Please bear in mind that this figure is for reference only. All proposals should conform to local construction standards including the guidance contained within the Approved Documents (published by Welsh Government). The building must also be accessible to a range of users. The building itself has many mandatory points of external egress listed in the brief, which are required for proper functionality during a match. However it is suggested that entrants may want to consider how the required spaces listed are connected internally.


Required spaces are as follows:

Home Team Dressing Rooms

2 No. Separate securable changing rooms with integral showers and toilet facilities. Each changing room shall accommodate a maximum of twenty players. Both rooms to be accessible from a corridor with a single external entrance. (Entrance 1)


Away Team Dressing Rooms

2 No. Separate securable changing rooms with integral showers and toilet facilities. Each changing room shall accommodate a maximum of twenty players. Both rooms to be accessible from a corridor with a single external entrance. (Entrance 2)


Match Officials Dressing Room

1 No. Separate securable changing room with integral shower and toilet facilities to accommodate a maximum of 8 persons. This room shall have its own external entrance separate from Entrance 1 and Entrance 2. (Entrance 3)


Kitchen/Canteen Facility

This facility will be used for teas/coffees and limited hot food preparation e.g. hamburgers, hot dogs etc. A counter shall be provided to allow service to a seating area for a maximum of 32 people ( 8 tables of four) Access to the canteen will be via a separate entrance. (Entrance 4)


Male and Female Toilets

Separate male and female facilities shall be provided and may be accessible from the canteen area before and after each match and during the half time interval. Whilst the game is under way a separate and securable external access to each facility shall be provided. (Entrance(s) 5/6) 


Plant Room

A separate securable room shall be provided to accommodate water storage/fuses/temperature controls etc. Access to this room may be provided via the kitchen/canteen.

Parking & Cycle Storage

The current grounds do not have a dedicated car park; and there is no requirement for the new changing facilities to provide parking for visitors or spectators. However all entrants should consider whether to include some number of enlarged parking spaces to make their proposals accessible to all; and how much bicycle cycle storage they may wish to include in order to promote active travel. There is currently no locked and secured bicycle storage available on site. 


4. Competition and entry details

4.1 Competition process

The competition will be an open competition. All entries must be submitted anonymously. 

Entries must be submitted as a single PDF of no more than two A1 sheets or four A2 sheets.
Format and orientation is up to you however all entries must be submitted via email to 


The Judging Panel will be announced shortly.


The judges’ decision will be final.


By submitting an entry to the competition, all entrants are allowing any of their ideas to be used as part of any final designs for Cardiff Draconians’ new changing facilities. Conversely, the winning design might not be used in full in the final designs for any new changing facilities. There is no guarantee that the winner will be selected by Cardiff Draconians for an appointment for any future work stages. The winner will also grant Cardiff Draconians and Design Circle a royalty-free, non-transferable licence, of unlimited duration to replicate the winning entry, in full or in part, for the purposes of achieving their charitable aims. If any material is used in this way, attribution to the winner will be given.


Should an insufficient number of entries be received (in the opinion of Design Circle) by the deadline for submissions (such that a fair and competitive judging of entries is impossible), Design Circle reserves the right to withdraw the competition and award alternative prizes/or not award prizes at all.


4.2 Timescale

Competition opens: 15 October 2021
Deadline for submissions: 17.00 on 11 March 2022
Judging period completed: w/c 28 March 2022
Winning design announced: 4 April 2022


4.3 Judging criteria

Criteria for judging entries will be:
Meeting the requirements as set out in Section 3, with a key focus on

• Achieving Net-Zero operational energy use through the integration of low-carbon construction methods and technology
• Robustness
• Security including response to vandalism and anti-social behaviour
• Flexibility of space within structure
• Cost efficiency / value for money
• Originality (eye-catching, visibility)
• Accessibility
• Meeting the ethos of Cardiff Draconians and their place in the community


4.4 Eligibility

The competition is open to all, including architects, interior designers, artists, design students, and/or any other disciplines.


4.5 Exceptions

The competition is not open to Cardiff Draconian trustees, employees, team members, or Design Circle honorary officers; or immediate family members of any of the preceding individuals or the competition judges.


4.6 Competition prize

The competition winner will receive a prize of £300.

Two commended runner-ups will receive a prize of £100 each respectively.

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