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Ben Derbyshire

Ben Derbyshire


Chair, HTA Design LLP. President Elect, RIBA


Ben Derbyshire is Chair of HTA Design LLP, a design-based consultancy to the home building industry, specialising in creative collaboration of its multidisciplinary team in the service of placemaking. HTA Design provides project management, masterplanning, urban design, architecture, landscape design, planning, technical design, sustainability advice, graphics, web and app design and other disciplines.
A member of the practice since 1976 and a co-owner since 1986, Ben became a main board director when the practice incorporated in 2000 and was appointed Managing Director in 2005. Ben became Managing Partner in 2013 when HTA Architects Limited became HTA Design LLP and now acts as Chair of the Partnership.
He has built up broad-ranging expertise through involvement in much of HTA’s work in regeneration, masterplanning, housing and mixed use design.
Ben has worked on a many complex large-scale schemes undertaken by the practice over the years. As well as acting as HTA's Chair, Ben is

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Comments (88)

  • Comment on: Half a century of sleepwalking towards climate change

    Ben Derbyshire's comment 16 April, 2019 8:41 am

    I share Bill’s frustration that the clock is ticking towards an irreversible and existential threat, and there are not enough signs that the industry or policy makers are taking the problem seriously enough.

    This is why, later this year, the RIBA will fully embed sustainability into the Plan of Work and provide the way in which teams can target sustainable outcomes in the brief, manage the delivery of them through each stage and undertake meaningful analysis up to 3 years after handover.

    This is not the only action that we are taking. Only last month, RIBA Council approved updates to our Codes of Professional Conduct and Practice requiring members to promote and support the value and benefits of monitoring and reporting on how a building operates and performs in accordance with design intent. The Codes also include a note to say that clients should be informed of the value and benefits of post-occupancy evaluation.

    It's a shame, but we do not think an obligation to do POE is yet possible. In my own experience even professional clients such as Housing Associations fight shy of doing the obvious thing.

    However, I made a commitment during my election campaign that by the time I leave office, there would be a basis upon which any architect and client can agree to undertake post occupancy evaluation of a meaningful kind. Next week, when I meet Kit Malthouse, I shall make the case to that POE should be compulsory on any project involving the use of public money.

    There’s always more that can be done. But, at RIBA, we’re not sleeping on the job.

    Ben Derbyshire PRIBA

  • Comment on: ABK co-founder Richard Burton dies

    Ben Derbyshire's comment 31 January, 2017 12:02 pm

    Such sad news. I well remember Richard's contributions to the RIBA's Community Architecture Group and the Faith in Estates project at The Prince's Trust on which I worked and from which I learned much. He was a towering intellect, kind and generous with a deep understanding of the human condition.
    Ben Derbyshire, Chair - HTA Design LLP
    President Elect - RIBA

  • Comment on: Minister blasts ‘descendants of Brutalism’ and pledges to rebuild Euston Arch

    Ben Derbyshire's comment 5 November, 2016 5:21 pm

    For every person or minister who favours a particular architectural style or building, there is another with a completely different viewpoint or preference.
    It is interesting to see John Hayes so stridently asserting his design preferences, but not everyone is going to agree with him. What we can all agree on is the importance of ensuring that whatever is built in this country makes a positive impact to its locality and community and we are pleased to see another Government minister recognising the vital role of a talented design team in achieving this.
    Our country has a long and proud history of designing transport projects in the UK and around the world. British designers have helped build some of the world’s most celebrated transport projects: from railways stations and airports to entire mass transit systems. Some of these projects are soaring achievements of modern architecture which inspire with technical innovation, matching advances in transportation technologies. Others, use traditional materials, forms and details where context demands.
    RIBA has offrered to show the Minister the best of both and will continue our work with Government and others to ensure the next generation of transport infrastructure is the best it can be.
    Ben Derbyshire
    Chair, HTA Design LLP
    RIBA President Elect.

  • Comment on: The Stirling Prize jury shouldn’t be distracted by politics

    Ben Derbyshire's comment 30 September, 2016 12:44 pm

    A refreshingly clear analysis from Will Hurst, helpfully re-stating the relationship between the design professions and the political context in which we work, and illuminating what I have come to call ethical professionalism.

    It seems to me that the particular issues requiring clarification are our duty to the environment, to act with probity (especially in foreign markets) and not to infringe human rights in the way we design and deliver services. The Edge Commission report on ethics and the public interest argued that we should develop and standardise a national code of conduct/ethics across the built environment professions, building on shared experience in the UK and internationally. The RIBA is responding to this call.

    I have long argued that the Institutes, including the RIBA, would do well to avoid the mistake of attempting to stretch beyond their political legitimacy and reach. The Institute’s outreach message, as a membership organisation, must also fulfil its purpose of serving its members and society, both of which, naturally enough, include the full range of political perspectives.

    We must remember that the RIBA Council chamber is neither the House of Commons, nor the United Nations Assembly. Our purpose there is to act as Trustees to deliver our charter. Whilst many (me included) are concerned that current housing and planning policies do not serve the ambition to create mixed neighbourhoods particularly well, not everyone believes that public money should be used to subsidise families to live in areas they could not otherwise afford to.

    Ben Derbyshire
    Chair, HTA Design LLP.

  • Comment on: Latest Aylesbury plans submitted by Duggan Morris and HTA

    Ben Derbyshire's comment 29 July, 2016 6:44 am

    Anyone interested in where I stand on Estate Regeneration should take a look at 'Altered Estates', available on-line, in which I and my co-authors Andy von Bradsky of PRP, Andrew Beharrel of Pollard Thomas & Edwards and Matthew Goulcher of Levitt Bernstein set out our position.

    In our introduction we say:

    'In one corner are those who believe that housing estates belong to those who live on them and only their views should count in determining the future - and increasingly their preference is to be left alone. In the other corner are those who regard housing estates as public assets, which local authorities have a right and duty to use to meet wider needs - including the growing clamor for more homes, at affordable prices, for middle-income households. The views of both camps deserve respect.

    Part of the reason for this polarisation is obvious to those who have been facilitating successful estate regeneration for decades: it revolves around the concept of ‘balanced communities’. A genuinely balanced community will contain a wide range of housing types and tenures for a wide range of households across the spectrum of age, ethnicity, income, occupation and household size. It will also balance the needs and aspirations of all the stakeholders, including existing tenants and leaseholders, and also ‘outsiders’ who would like to settle in the area and invest in it if only the opportunity was there.

    The perception of many existing residents - and their champions in parts of the media - is that estate regeneration is no longer delivering balance: the proportion of affordable to market homes is dwindling, the definition of affordability is shifting, the cost of market homes is soaring, and the buyers of those homes seem like remote aliens - far removed from being ‘people like us who have a bit more money’. They condemn estate regeneration as ‘social cleansing’ and a ‘war on social housing’.

    In our view it is essential that we are clear about the objective of estate regeneration: is it to improve the lives of those who live on and around existing estates, or is it to make more effective use of public land to help solve the ‘housing crisis’ by creating additional homes and widening access to home ownership? Managing and resolving this tension has been a key objective of community engagement for the past 40 years.

    With care, patience and respect we can and should be able to do both. We have managed it in the past, and there are many examples of successful outcomes in a set of case studies in the back of this publication.'

    Copies of the full document can be downloaded at: http://www.alteredestates.co.uk/

    Ben Derbyshire
    Chair, HTA Design LLP.

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