Design Group: supportive statements

Published: 6 May 2019



A view over the Severn Bridge

Supportive statements in favour of the Commission’s new Design Group:

“Louise’s appointment to the group is testament to her expertise and why we were so pleased she was able to come and work for the West Midlands Combined Authority. Our regional economy continues to grow at pace and billions of pounds of infrastructure including new rail stations, tram routes and housing and commercial schemes are being constructed. But it’s crucial we incorporate top quality design into those projects not just for aesthetic reasons but to help build a lasting legacy with strong, thriving communities.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands

“The appointment of several eminent designers and experts demonstrates the crucial importance of experience and commitment to the principles of good design. These are values Design Council has supported and upheld for many years. They were also clearly demonstrated in our 2018 Design Economy research which recognised the significant contribution good design makes to the UK’s economic success. The group will have a critical task in ensuring that major infrastructure projects are successfully developed and delivered. This is a role the members are eminently qualified to do and we are delighted to see design so firmly at the heart of the Commission’s thinking.”

Sarah Weir OBE, CEO, Design Council

“The Royal Town Planning Institute warmly welcomes this initiative by the NIC. A recent survey of our members shows that 87% of planners would like to have more positive input to ensure better design quality for our infrastructure and built environment. The National Infrastructure Design Group will help planners to access the best advice on design quality at every stage of infrastructure planning to benefit communities.”

Victoria Hills MRTPI, FICE, CEO, Royal Town Planning Institute

The role of good design in the built environment is well understood and this commission will ensure it extends to our nation’s all important infrastructure. Involving design champions at every stage of the process will position good design as a criteria for success in some of our most significant engineering feats.” 

Emma Cariaga, Head of Operations – Canada Water, British Land

“Distinction of place is fundamental, it gives the character that allows people to feel truly enthused and engaged with their environment. This is a crucial debate of the 21st century – the growth of urbanization. With city living taking over the way in which we inhabit the planet, the approach to define, understand and create places of meaning is a major contribution we can provide for the next generation. To provide valid, cohesive and conscious infrastructure for the future you need to widen the group of invested experts and work with a multi-faceted approach, so we can do more than just what is needed.”

Sir David Adjaye OBE, Founder and Principal, Adjaye Associates

As our population grows and increasing pressure is put on space, where and how we live and the quality of the design of our infrastructure becomes ever more important. That is why I have been so proud to be part of developing the Design Group initiative, which wants to see the people who use infrastructure at the heart of how national projects are planned and delivered. We need to achieve more with less and we can only do that with the integrated approach that design brings, drawing upon multidisciplinary talents, expertise and creativity.

Kay Hughes, Director, Khaa Architects

Good design lies at the heart of all successful projects.  As the centre of expertise for project delivery across central government the IPA is keen to see design quality embedded into all the projects and programmes that we engage with, from housing, transport and other infrastructure and into schools, hospitals and other public service buildings.  Good design is not just about aesthetics, it is about building something that works for the people that use it and maximises the benefit they get from it. The government will respond to the NIC’s National Infrastructure Assessment, including the recommendations on design, in the National Infrastructure Strategy later this year.”

Stephen Dance, Head of Infrastructure Delivery, Infrastructrue and Projects Authority

“At Tideway, we are committed to delivering great design for our underground assets and the three acres of new public space located along the foreshore of the River Thames – our visible legacy. Since the inception of the project our engineering and technical approach has been subject to independent peer review, to ensure the most effective designs have been adopted for aspects such as system performance, future operation and maintenance, long-term durability and the lasting quality of the architecture and landscaping. Ongoing technical reviews will continue throughout construction, through our independent Tideway Alliance Expert Panel. We fully support the NIC Design Group’s aims and agree that great design is essential for the successful delivery of UK infrastructure.”

Roger Bailey, Chief Technical Officer, Thames Tideway

“The idea of a National Infrastructure Design Group makes perfect sense. We all intuitively understand the difference between good and bad design in the streets, stations and buildings we use every day. Elegance and beauty in public places should be an easier thing to choose. As the country builds new railways, roads, houses and even power stations, attention to design should become an essential pre-requisite of permission to build.”

Professor Tony Travers, Director of LSE London 

“The fact that the National Infrastructure Commission recognise the central importance of design in infrastructure delivery is highly encouraging, and the announcement of the new National Infrastructure Design Group is a very welcome step. We know that neglecting design quality in the built environment creates long term problems that need further investment later down the road. We hope the Panel will play a crucial role in bringing people together, sharing knowledge and improving understanding of good practice and raising design standards for current and future infrastructure projects.”

Ben Derbyshire, President, Royal Institute of British Architects

“As a longstanding advocate for the role of design in delivering social and environmental outcomes through infrastructure delivery, I am delighted to have been appointed to the NIC Design Group. I believe that if we can communicate the benefits of design for people, we can also build public support for infrastructure projects and I look forward to furthering the Commission’s work in these areas.”

Judith Sykes, Member of the National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Group

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