The Group exists to inspire, promote and champion design excellence in all nationally significant projects.
The National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Group was established in 2019 to inspire renewed ambition for the quality of the UK’s infrastructure.
The Design Group’s mission is to inspire, promote and champion design excellence in all nationally significant infrastructure projects. This approach produces infrastructure which has social value and responds creatively to the needs of people, places and the environment.
We believe design processes help convene and engage people, to ensure new infrastructure improves quality of life across our communities and enhances the UK’s natural and built environment.
Having diverse professionals in the Design Group means we see and experience the world differently, though we are united by our shared belief in the transformative power of great design.
Design Group members
A team of creative and technical design leaders, with experience spanning architecture, landscape, engineering and transport.
Professor Sadie Morgan OBE
Design Group Chair; Founding Partner of dRMM Architects
This is a biography for Professor Sadie Morgan OBE
Sadie Morgan is a founding director of leading architectural practice dRMM, alongside Alex de Rijke and Philip Marsh. The studio is recognised for creating innovative, high quality and socially useful architecture. dRMM’s recent high-profile projects include Hastings Pier, Trafalgar Place at Elephant & Castle, Maggie’s Oldham and Faraday House at the Battersea Power Station.
As well as being a Commissioner, Sadie chairs the Independent Design Panel for High Speed Two. Sadie was appointed a Mayor’s design advocate for the Greater London Authority and non-executive director of the Major Project Association in 2017. In 2019 she was appointed to the board of Homes England.
Sadie regularly lectures internationally on the work of dRMM and the importance of infrastructure which connects back to people and place. In 2013 she became the youngest president of the Architectural Association, and in 2016 she was appointed professor at the University of Westminster and awarded an honorary doctorate from London South Bank University. In 2017 she was named New Londoner of the Year at the New London Awards for her work championing the importance of design at the highest political level. In 2020 she was awarded an OBE in the new years honours list and was awarded a fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Civil Engineer – Professional Head, Buildings and Architecture at Network Rail
This is a biography for Anthony Dewar
As Professional Head, Buildings and Architecture, Anthony is responsible for Network Rail’s (NR’s) national standards, policies and international benchmarking for all Network Rail’s built environment assets. Since his appointment, he has led on elevating the importance of design within rail infrastructure and his notable achievements include forming the Network Rail (NR) independent design panel, development of NR design principles and reinvigorating the NR design approach via design competitions with RIBA and RSA Student Design.
Prior to his appointment as Professional Head he led a team responsible for the maintenance and renewal of all railway built environment assets into London Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street Station with a budget responsibility of £230m.
An experienced Civil Engineer and design professional, Anthony has almost 20 years of industry experience and has spent his career in a number of private sector bodies including working as a consultant for Jacobs Babtie, Louis Berger Inc and Railtrack; as well as a number of public sector bodies including Network Rail and Network Rail (High Speed) where he was the Head of Civil Engineering and Environment on High Speed 1.
Anthony is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Royal Society of Arts.
Architect – Director at Fereday Pollard Architects
This is a biography for Clare Donnelly
Clare Donnelly is a Director at Fereday Pollard Architects and leads their work on large scale, nationally significant transport and infrastructure schemes. With over 15 years’ experience working at all stages of project development from pre-planning to delivery Clare has been embedded within project teams to develop sophisticated cross-discipline working relationships to deliver world-class projects from Crossrail to Tideway.
Clare is currently Lead Architect and Client Design Advisor for London’s ‘Super Sewer’ – the Thames Tideway, the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the UK water industry and has championed high quality design and excellence on all architectural and landscape elements from initial design concepts, through the DCO stage and to delivery.
Clare also leads the architecture and landscape architecture team working for Highways England to deliver Lower Thames Crossing, the largest road project since the M25 and what will be the UK’s longest road tunnel linking Kent to Essex.
Landscape Architect – Founder and Director of Grant Associates
This is a biography for Andrew Grant
Andrew is a Landscape Architect whose work explores the connection between people and nature. He started his company, Grant Associates, in 1997 which has grown into an international design studio with offices in Bath and Singapore. In 2012 he was awarded the title of RSA Royal Designer for Industry in recognition of his pioneering global work in landscape architecture such as the multi award winning Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield, and an Honorary Fellow of RIBA. Based in the city of Bath he is Chair of the Bathscape Landscape Partnership and a member of the Bath World Heritage Site Advisory Board.
Professor Hanif Kara
Structural Engineer – Co-founder and Design Director of AKT II
This is a biography for Professor Hanif Kara
Professor Hanif Kara is co-founder and Design Director of AKT II, a design-led structural and civil engineering firm based in London. Hanif has gained international standing in the field of the built environment, through practice, pioneering research and education in interdisciplinary design. His work is widely published and currently he is Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at Harvard GSD. He was also Professor of Architectural Technology at KTH Stockholm 2008 to 2012.
Hanif has led the practice in being associated with the most innovative construction projects winning over 350 design awards over the last two decades, including the Stirling Prize on three occasions, most recently in 2018 for Bloomberg’s new London headquarters, which was recognised as the UK’s best new building – a project also accredited as the most sustainable office building in the world. His globally recognised projects include Masdar Institute (Abu Dhabi), the Francis Crick Institute (London), numerous projects at the King’s Cross development, the Olympic Park (London), Heydar Aliyev Centre (Baku) and a number of residential towers including One Park Drive in London’s iconic Canary Wharf.
Hanif was the first structural engineer to be appointed Commissioner for CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), the first engineer to be appointed to the steering committee for the highly regarded international AKAA (Aga Khan Award for Architecture) since 2015, as well as being appointed as the international engineering ambassador for ACE (Association of Consulting Engineers) in 2011. He was formerly a member of the National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Task Force and Expert Advisory Group and is a member of the HS2 design review panel; raising the profile of design in both the construction industry and the wider community.
Hanif’s particular ‘design-led’ approach and interest in innovative forms, historical structures and material uses, prefabrication, sustainable construction and complex analysis methods, have allowed him to work at the forefront of the many challenges faced by the built environment and he is widely recognised in the industry. He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Institution of Civil and Structural Engineers and an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects.
Director – Unscene Architecture
This is a biography for Madeleine Kessler
Madeleine is a chartered architect and founding Director at Unscene Architecture. Trained as both an architect and structural engineer, she is experienced in working with complex urban sites, placing community, craft and placemaking at the heart of design. She is the co-curator of the British Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale where she is exploring how to better open up privatised public space. Previously Madeleine worked at Haworth Tompkins, HHF Architekten, Studio Weave and Haptic Architects, where she was an Associate, on projects ranging from temporary pavilions and theatres to infrastructure and urban design, including Oslo Airport City, Kings Cross W3, Watering Poles and Battersea Arts Centre.
Passionate about promoting a creative understanding of the city, Madeleine served on the inaugural cohort of the National Infrastructure Commission’s Young Professionals Panel. She teaches and lectures at universities that have included the London School of Architecture, Architectural Association and the University of London. In 2020 she was named in the Architects’ Journal 40 under 40, and she was awarded the 2019 RIBA Rising Star Award.
Lucy Musgrave OBE
Urban Designer – Founding Director of Publica
This is a biography for Lucy Musgrave OBE
Lucy Musgrave is the founding director of Publica, a London-based practice that specialises in strategies and design for public space, urban design and masterplanning, integrating social, spatial and cultural values within urban change.
Lucy is a Mayor’s Design Advocate, sits on the Sounding Board for the Mayor’s Public London Charter and previously sat on the Mayor’s Night Time Commission. Lucy also sits on the board of the social enterprise Public Practice and is a member of both the Barbican Centre Board and the National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Group and Expert Advisory Group.
Among many previous advisory and board roles, she has been a member of the UK government’s Urban Sounding Board; the Greater London Authority’s Public Realm Advisory Group; the Mies van der Rohe European Prize for Public Space; the Architect of the Year Awards; and the European Jury of the Holcim Sustainability Awards. In 2001, she was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Civil Engineer – Director at Expedition Engineering
This is a biography for Judith Sykes
Judith is a highly experienced civil engineer with a background in major infrastructure projects including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Heathrow Terminal 5, and the London 2012 Olympic Park.
Judith is a Director at Expedition Engineering where she is responsible for the practice infrastructure and sustainability planning projects. She is currently leading the delivery of infrastructure strategies for a number of mixed use regeneration projects including Southall Waterside and establishing a community energy company as part of Hackney’s regeneration of Woodberry Down.
As a past Commissioner for Milton Keynes 2050, Judith championed a vision for sustainable and inclusive growth. She is part of the winning VeloCity team for the NIC Oxford to Cambridge Ideas Competition and author of the NIC report on the Value of Design in Infrastructure. A fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Judith is currently leading research into how the infrastructure sector is delivering on its social value commitments.
Chartered Surveyor and Landscape Architect – Design Lead for the West Midlands Combined Authority
This is a biography for Louise Wyman
A Chartered Surveyor and Landscape Architect, Louise is experienced at working with the public and private sector to deliver award winning projects that promote design excellence in the built environment. Louise champions diversity, inclusion and skills building in the construction sector. She is an Ambassador for Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design supporting the exchange of planning, design and development innovation between academia and industry.
Louise lectures internationally on urban development and the importance of optimising ecological systems in the delivery of major infrastructure projects. She’s represented the Department for International Trade in South America and Europe and works with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and UN Habitat on the Global Future Cities Programme.
Louise is a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Homes England, the government agency responsible for increasing the supply of well-designed homes in great places across England. In 2017 she co-founded the agency’s Strategy Performance and Delivery Unit and established Homes England’s market engagement and strategic growth functions. Louise is a strong advocate for the importance of design, creativity and community engagement in the delivery of built environment projects. She is currently Strategic Director for Manchester City Council, having previously served as the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Design Lead working to establish a Design Charter for the West Midlands.
As a Planning Committee Member for London Legacy Development Corporation and a former Executive Director of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Louise is skilled at building teams that deliver projects of national significance. She set up the Garden Towns & Villages programme across Government in 2016 and oversees delivery of the Oxford Cambridge Arc. Two national initiatives with the potential to transform the delivery of infrastructure integrated with environmental and digital systems, academic institutions, employment opportunities, innovative housing, health and sports facilities.
Guidance for embedding good design at every stage of infrastructure projects.
In February 2020, the Design Group published its Design Principles for National Infrastructure. This followed a recommendation made in the National Infrastructure Assessment.
These four principles – climate, people, places and value – aim to guide the planning and delivery of future major infrastructure projects in the UK.
The principles build on the work of the Design Task Force established in the run up to the first National Infrastructure Assessment, which commissioned research on how such principles might be developed, sector attitudes to design, and a portfolio of examples demonstrating the value of design.
In the four videos below, members of the Design Group and contributors involved in infrastructure design discuss four case study projects, each of which exemplifies one of the four National Infrastructure Design Principles.
Commission response to government’s National Infrastructure Strategy
Alongside today’s Spending Review, the government has published a National Infrastructure Strategy and a detailed response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s landmark Assessment published in 2018. Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “Publication of the UK’s first ever National Infrastructure Strategy is an important moment, given the vital role infrastructure can...
Infrastructure should “celebrate our nation’s ambition,” says Stirling Prize winner as she throws down new design challenge for the industry
Professor Sadie Morgan, Chair of the National Infrastructure Design Group, has today thrown down a challenge to everyone involved in major projects to embrace new principles to enhance the quality of the nation’s infrastructure. The UK’s first ever Design Principles for National Infrastructure, developed by the expert Design Group, seek to embed four key considerations...
Excellent design will be at the “beating heart” of all new UK infrastructure, vows Stirling Prize winner as she announces members of influential new Design Group
Professor Sadie Morgan, a National Infrastructure Commissioner and Stirling Prize winner, today hails a “pivotal moment” for the future of UK infrastructure, as the ten members of a new Design Group are revealed. The Design Group will be champions for design excellence in all new national infrastructure. They will lobby to ensure that design is...