Annette Desouza

Urban Designer

Having grown up across four different cities, coming to urban design and masterplanning after a more traditional architectural background felt like the missing puzzle piece. The leap in scale was freeing — opening up possibilities and introducing an unending stream of complexities. Although our sites are often cleanly defined by a red line, the cities we work in are messy, layered and evolving organisms, serving growing populations with diverse needs and backgrounds.

Since joining the practice following my MArch in 2022, I have predominantly worked on masterplan projects in large UK cities such as the Euston OSD and Smithfield Birmingham. I have relished the challenge of finding solutions that aim to address the overlapping socio-cultural, financial and spatial considerations present within each brief. However, in negotiating these, I have recognised that ultimately, our primary responsibility as practitioners is to the communities we design for.

Working within large, integrated design teams on these projects has further accelerated my learning and prioritising clear communication and organisation has allowed us to seamlessly tackle design development and documentation in parallel. On a day-to-day basis, our rigorous, iterative design process drives me, and whether the task involves diagramming street activation, drafting a Design Code or crunching numbers in a spreadsheet, I believe that honing a lateral range of skills is crucial to my role as an Urban Designer.

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