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Members of Sadie Morgan’s infrastructure design panel named

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The National Infrastructure Commission has named the design champions on a new panel headed by dRMM founding partner Sadie Morgan

Fereday Pollard Architects director Clare Donnelly and Haptic Architects associate Madeleine Kessler will join Morgan on the 10-strong panel.

Morgan – a National Infrastructure Commissioner – launched a hunt for talent earlier this year, saying the Design Group would help shape how the nation’s infrastructure was planned and delivered.

The panel also includes Lucy Musgrave, who is founding director of urban design practice Publica, and structural engineer Hanif Kara of AKT II, as well as two civil engineers, a chartered surveyor, a landscape architect and a lawyer.

Morgan said: ‘Too often, and at great social cost, design is an afterthought – a tick box exercise tacked on to a project at the 11th hour.

’The establishment of the Design Group marks a pivotal moment for the future of UK infrastructure. Our ambition is to put excellent design at the beating heart of all new projects. These schemes have a lifespan over generations – and it will be design that defines the legacy they leave behind.’

NIC Design Group members

  • Sadie Morgan (chair) architectural designer, National Infrastructure Commissioner and founding partner of dRMM Architects
  • Isabel Dedring lawyer and management consultant, global transport leader at Arup
  • Anthony Dewar civil engineer, professional head, buildings and architecture at Network Rail
  • Clare Donnelly architect, director at Fereday Pollard Architects
  • Andrew Grant landscape architect, founder and director of Grant Associates
  • Hanif Kara structural engineer, co-founder and design director of AKT II
  • Madeleine Kessler architect, associate at Haptic Architects
  • Lucy Musgrave urban designer, founding director at Publica
  • Judith Sykes civil engineer, director at Expedition Engineering
  • Louise Wyman chartered surveyor and landscape architect, design lead for the West Midlands Combined Authority 

The UK’s first National Infrastructure Assessment, published last year by the commission, called for effective design to be embedded into the culture of planning and delivering major aviation, rail, road and energy projects.

A key recommendation in the assessment was that all nationally significant infrastructure projects should have a board-level design champion.

The group’s key responsibilities will be to:

  • champion design quality in the nation’s infrastructure;
  • research and examine the added value design can bring to infrastructure;
  • put in place measures to support the introduction of board level design champions for major projects;
  • develop design principles for publication by the commission; and
  • hold discussions with and publish advice for project design panels

Set up in 2015, the National Infrastructure Commission gives independent advice to the government on the best way to meet the country’s long-term infrastructure needs. Last year’s assessment document outlined a fully costed and ambitious vision looking at a range of sectors as far ahead as 2050.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Industry Professional

    I would suggest that the key problem is not that design is an afterthought in infrastructure projects but that it is the first casualty of operationally focused cost review.

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  • Is Isabel Dedring of sufficient integrity to be a member of this panel, given her performance in the Garden Bridge affair?

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