As a child I was always interested in cities; taking up my whole living room to draw the town I grew up in, so I could drive my toy cars, buses and trains around its streets. So 16 years ago, when I then stumbled upon an opportunity to become an Urban Designer, I jumped at the chance.
I enjoy the complexity and wide-ranging aspects of masterplanning. Starting from concepts and frameworks, drawing inspirations from history and context, to imagining the life of a place and how people will use each of the spaces and buildings. These big-picture aspirations are then manifested through the technical details. For example, at Smithfield Birmingham, where I have led the masterplan team since 2019, we collaborated with the design team to tell the story of Smithfield through colours and materiality, finding architectural languages that are rooted in the history and identity of Birmingham. In parallel, we talked to residents, market traders and stakeholders to ensure Smithfield has space for them to grow, providing them with new public spaces to relax and come together while developing strategic and technical responses, including archaeology, flooding and infrastructure.
Throughout my career, I have enjoyed seeing my projects turned into real places, such as Msheireb in Doha, Eddington in Cambridge, and most recently, University College London East in London. It is satisfying to see my imagination become something tangible. It’s even more rewarding when people bring these canvases to life by adding their own colours, and creating meanings, and memories in these places.