Danny enjoys the diversity of working across the education sector and designing well-informed buildings through collaboration with the end users.
Danny is Head of Schools and leads education projects across the UK. His expertise lies in stakeholder engagement and design with a focus on researching and designing for the exact needs of the end user.
What are the key challenges that affect your sector, or are likely to in the next five years?
The Schools and Higher Education sectors are seeing an increased emphasis on the refurbishment of existing building stock, which will open up new possibilities for creative re-use. However, due to the nature of how they are funded and procured, both sectors are facing their own distinct challenges at present.
We are seeing a big emphasis on speed and value-for-money in schools, to ensure there is no shortfall in pupil places. Going forward, modular off-site construction will be very important to meet this need.
Whilst in the HE sector, we need to ensure business cases are fully supported with all manner of design options and scenarios explored. In the current context of higher tuition fees, the student experience of our buildings is paramount. We must ensure ‘design quality’ is a core part of the briefing conversation in the earlier design stages.
What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on to date?
I spent over two years working full-time alongside the estates department and senior academics at the University of Reading to develop their new Health and Life Sciences building. This was definitely the biggest challenge I have faced, and one I am most proud of. I am lucky to have been challenged with the huge responsibility of being project architect on a project of this size so early in my career. This building is a significant investment for the University as they aim to co-locate activities from four science buildings into one fit-for-purpose facility.
I have had to come to terms with a new set of requirements for designing high containment laboratory buildings, in a design process which demands a much greater level of collaboration with engineering disciplines. The building has many exciting aspects including one of the largest teaching laboratories in the UK and the Cole Museum of Zoology, which will be open to the public in early 2020.
Best building in your city?
The Bush Building (now Arnofini Art Gallery) at Bristol Harbourside. The heft and weightiness of it reminds me of the palazzos I love in Florence – Pitti, Medici and Vecchio. Going for a run around the harbourside is one of my favourite things to do in Bristol because you see all of the best industrial buildings; Underfall Yard, Brandon Yard, M Shed, the Robinson’s warehouse in Bathurst Basin and the Granary on Welsh Back.
If you weren’t in this career, what would you be?
A chef. I love to cook for other people. I try to explore different cuisines from around the world. Bristol has a very good offering for food and drink. There is constant inspiration from some of the start-up restaurants and microbreweries, especially in places like Cargo. I find excuses to try them out before we attempt to make our own versions of the food.
Best book you’ve read?
I have a bit of an obsession with books, although I only seem to go between monographs of architects and cookbooks of chefs that I am inspired by. My current favourites are architect Peter Aldington’s ‘Houses’ and chef Enrique Olvera’s ‘Mexico from the Inside Out’. I always look forward to my monthly Icon Magazine subscription arriving in the post too.
- Academy of Urbanism
- G4C South West Future Leader, Winner