As principal of the practice, I am an architect, mostly having focussed on projects involving heritage. My early career was as assistant architect on works to Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace. Prior to setting up Citydesigner in 1997, I was Deputy Secretary of the Royal Fine Art Commission (precursor of CABE) for 13 years where I developed unique skills in architecture, urban design and conservation, giving me the ability to provide objective and informed judgments on design matters and a balanced judgement about change to the urban environment. Through over 30 years of analysing existing historic contexts and architectural designs proposed for them, I have gained a depth of knowledge about achieving and assessing sensitive and enhancing designs in relation to the historic environment, through the application of objective criteria in an area of analysis all too often considered to be subjective.
I was appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office in 2002 to be part of a working group tasked with rewriting PPG15 and PPG16. The current NPPF embodies a number of refinements I introduced at that time, first included in the now superseded PPS5, i.e. contribution/harm categorised on a scale.
I was also appointed as a consultant to Miller Hare in 2005 for Mayor Livingstone to assist with the draft for the 2006 (first draft, but not the originally adopted) version of the Supplementary Planning Guidance for consultation on the London View Management Framework (LVMF), for the management of views across London as outlined in Section 4 of the then London Plan. Working originally with John Hare, I resigned helped produce the draft guidance, as the Mayor was unwilling to accept compelling advice arising from the public consultation. Miller Hare was subsequently reappointed by Mayor Johnson to review the LVMF on his behalf, again with our assistance, which enabled adjustments to be made; the revised version was published in July 2010.
I hold a number of honorary advisory roles at organisations including: The Architecture Club, Built Environment Media Ltd and Brighton West Pier Trust. I have advised two Surveyors of the Fabric of St Paul’s Cathedral and CABE, the latter as design panel member for London and Oxford. I have lectured in the UK, Europe, the USA and the Philippines. I co-founded World Architecture News, the first internet only architectural journal.
I have endeavoured in my work to encourage the highest level of design thinking to ensure an appropriate level of harmony between the old and the new. A clear assessment of existing environments and their history, and of imagined environments and their future, lies at the heart of understanding these matters and finding appropriate solutions. I believe passionately in the potential for heritage environments to have the capacity to accept change, to suit contemporary needs, so long as their design quality adds through enhancement.