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Andy von Bradsky named as government’s architecture adviser

Andy von Bradsky
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Former PRP chairman Andy von Bradsky has been named as the government’s new architecture adviser

Von Bradsky, who has led the cross-sector Housing Forum alongside running his own consultancy for the past three years, was appointed to his latest role by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The department launched a hunt late last year for someone with ‘a proven track record of delivering quality housing schemes’ to ‘establish the department as a centre of knowledge and advice on design matters’ and ensure ‘importance of design outcomes is recognised and implemented’ across government.

The role comes with a salary of £61,000, and von Bradsky will report directly to the government’s chief planner.

Outlining the reasons for the position last year, the government said: ‘[The] quality of design of new housing developments can often be perceived as a barrier to achieving planning permissions or public support for the new housing we need.

‘We recognise the need to create great places to live but we also recognise the need to reassure communities that the new developments will be of a high standard.

’[The successful candidate] will champion the importance of good design outcomes to the construction industry, architectural practices, house builders and planning departments, to raise the design standards of new housing schemes, thereby influencing communities’ attitudes to new development.’

Von Bradsky was chairman of PRP for almost nine years until October 2015. He has been director of von Bradsky Enterprises, a consultancy specialising in housing, place and regeneration, since early 2016.

Key responsibilities of head of architecture role

  • To give architectural advice on design to the housing department and other government departments in line with the agreed objectives of ministers.
  • To work with and advise the design team on delivering an action plan to raise awareness of the importance of good design standards in new housing developments;
  • To bring commercial and/or consultancy experience to assist in the formulation of policy and guidance, with a view to delivering on the government’s commitment to improve the design quality of housing with better engagement with communities
  • To meet with and advise other teams engaged in estates regeneration and the provision of new settlements, including approaches to masterplanning. This will involve meeting a range of stakeholders, travelling to regions and speaking at events and workshops. 

Comments when the role was announced

Teresa Borsuk, senior partner at Pollard Thomas Edwards
Yes, design matters! Design quality is at last being brought centre stage in the housing agenda. Or so we hope.

The job description notes that the quality of design of new housing developments can often be perceived as a barrier to achieving planning permissions or public support for the housing we need and that communities need to be reassured that new developments will be of a high standard.

The post is for a qualified architect with a proven track record of delivering quality housing schemes, who will report directly to the chief planner. That in itself could be challenging.

It’s not clear where this role sits with Roger Scruton’s recent appointment as chair of the government’s new Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission. So the question of how quality is defined and determined and, in particular, how it relates to style, inevitably comes to mind.

We wait with interest to see who the successful candidate will be.

Chris Roche, director of 11.04 Architects
Finally the government has woken up to the importance of an architect’s strategic overview in solving the housing crisis. Every metropolitan local authority should have a chief architect.



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