The practice was founded in St Ives by Joe Poynton, with the restoration of Elizabethan Trewartha Farm shortly followed by the commissioning of the Barbara Hepworth Museum


Mike Bradbury becomes a partner and HRH The Prince of Wales commissions practice to undertake community projects on his Somerset estates.


Cedric Wynter becomes a partner, with the following year seeing the practice win four design awards for the new St Ives Lifeboat Station.


Practice wins competition to design RNLI flagship Lifeboat College which is later opened by HM the Queen in 2004. Phil Cole becomes partner.


The practice is commissioned to design the new £20m flagship ‘Building Schools for the Future’ Penryn College, which later opens in 2004.


The practice sets up an Employee-Owned Trust to become 100% employee owned, laying the foundations for becoming a certified B Corporation in 2024

PBWC through the years

The origins of Poynton Bradbury Architects (formerly Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects) and its subsequent success was heavily influenced by its early community spirited projects.

In January 1973 Joe Poynton, having just returned from a two-year stint working in West Africa, ran out of fuel in Penzance; it turned out that the Good Samaritan who came to his aid just happened to be in need of an architect. This encounter, plus the opportunity to share an attic studio in St Ives, was the unlikely beginning of what was to become one of the South West’s leading architectural practices.

From the outset the new firm sought out the more challenging projects such as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and the ‘keyhole surgery’ conversion of derelict sail lofts into its own offices. Alongside the more regular projects Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects also worked with local amenity groups on community projects. The first of these, Ludgvan Community Centre, was built with unemployed construction workers under the Wilson government’s Job Creation Scheme.

The success of this, and other community projects at a time of deep economic recession caught the attention of HRH The Prince of Wales who went on to commission Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects to design and enable several Community Architecture projects on his Somerset estates.

Practice History

Publication of the firm’s work together with a steady stream of design awards soon started to attract talented young architects to Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects, and this combination of talent and experience enabled the practice to expand and undertake projects far beyond its original West Cornwall base.

During a sustained period of growth over thirty years Joe Poynton was joined by three other Partners, Mike Bradbury, Cedric Wynter and Phil Cole, to become Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects.

Through its commissioning of a large programme of award-winning RNLI Lifeboat Stations around the country, Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects (PBWC Architects) gained a reputation for designing buildings able to withstand the extremes of the marine and coastal environment. This work culminated in PBWC Architects being appointed to design the RLNI Lifeboat College buildings in Poole.

By 2014 the last of the original four partners retired from the practice, and PBWC Architects was being led by a new generation of Directors who brought new ideas and perspectives to the practice. Inspired by the community architecture foundations of the practice, this new new cohort of architects continued to push for socially and environmentally responsible design, working with local communities in Cornwall and beyond to enable and facilitate the realisation of their ideas and aspirations. With the rapid adoption of digital practices and new construction technologies, PBWC Architects continued to grow and adapt to meet global challenges such as rising economic inequalities and climate change. In 2019 as part of a renewed push for social change PBWC Architects transitioned to become 100% employee owned with the formation of an Employee-Owned Trust (EOT).

Capitalising on the success of the new ownership structure and continued growth, it was decided in 2024 that PBWC Architects should expand into Devon and open a new regional office in Exeter. It was felt that this was the right time to change and shorten the name of the practice to Poynton Bradbury Architects, paying homage to the practice’s 50-year legacy whilst at the same time reflecting the firm’s broader focus and future growth.