Partnership Unlocks Brightest Talent

A FAST-GROWING architects and engineering practice has struck up an innovative partnership, drawing on the brightest new talent and latest innovation to shape designs for its clients.

North East headquartered Building Design Northern (BDN) has partnered with Northumbria University to establish a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) that will enable the business to apply the latest insight and research to its work, producing innovative designs that will address the future needs of developers of both commercial and residential schemes.

BDN has added Architectural Designer and KTP Associate Dr Faye Sedgewick to its growing team, bringing a wealth of new ideas and expertise, having recently graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture (PhD) at Northumbria University.

Faye will work on a number of significant projects for BDN, including the design of a residential scheme being delivered by Sunderland City Council that will be specifically designed for older residents and those with additional needs. Faye’s doctorate explored supportive living environments for ageing, meaning her experience and research perfectly align to the brief. As well as Faye’s appointment, the KTP – which is funded by UK Research and Innovation, to connect forward-thinking businesses with the UK’s universities – will see BDN work closely with Northumbria University to ensure its designs are informed by the very latest research and insight.

Faye said: “I am thrilled to be joining the team at BDN and to start working on their age-related projects in collaboration with Northumbria University.

“The KTP provides a unique opportunity to embed contemporary research into architectural design to further enhance innovation and impact within the ageing sector. I am excited to be starting my role as both architectural designer and KTP Associate to support evidence-based solutions to designing environments for older people.”

Faye joins the team with more than seven years’ experience of working in architectural practices in London and freelance across the UK, in both residential and commercial sectors. She has won national and international architectural design awards and has been featured at the London Design Festival, the Royal Society of Arts and the Association of Project Safety.

“The KTP provides a unique opportunity to embed contemporary research into architectural design to further enhance innovation and impact within the ageing sector. I am excited to be starting my role as both architectural designer and KTP Associate to support evidence-based solutions to designing environments for older people.”

Faye Sedgewick
Architectural Designer and KTP Associate
Filip Young (Architect) and Faye Sedgewick (KTP Associate)

Richard Marsden, managing director of BDN, said: “We’re delighted to have formed a partnership with Northumbria University that we know will deliver incredible outcomes for our clients, drawing on the latest thinking to ensure our designs are at the absolute cutting-edge. It’s fantastic to add Faye to our team.

“As a Sunderland business, I am particularly pleased that we’ll be able to apply the skill, expertise and insight of Faye – with the backing of the academic team Northumbria University – to ensure that the homes we design for Sunderland’s older residents will be trailblazing in their design.”

BDN was appointed to Sunderland City Council’s professional services framework in 2021 and its first commission will see it develop a new design guide for care and domestic environments for older people in Sunderland, with the aim of delivering high-quality affordable homes that are future-proofed for residents’ needs in forthcoming years. BDN is currently working with the council to develop concept proposals for a large scheme in the north of the city, carrying out massing studies and design development as well as bringing together stakeholders for a series of co-design workshops to develop an exemplarily research-led design response.

Professor Paul Jones, from Northumbria University, said, “Northumbria University and BDN have collaborated on several award-winning projects in recent years and this KTP is an opportunity to further build our relationship to undertake and deliver outstanding architecture projects. The focus of the partnership, around ageing, is one of the Government’s Grand Challenges and this work, we hope, will lead to the Sunderland being seen as an exemplar in how it designs environments for older people.”

Councillor Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member at Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re determined that the schemes we bring forward in Sunderland raise the bar for our residents, and in working with BDN, who are absolutely bringing the brightest talent to the table, and the latest academic insight, we’re confident of achieving just that. Added to the fact they’re a Sunderland based firm, it’s brilliant to be engaging their support on this important project.”

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