Job includes embedding design quality in housing and placemaking – and overseeing planning deregulation

The government has officially begun its hunt for a new head of architecture to replace former PRP chief Andy von Bradsky who announced his departure last week.

The grade 6 post has been advertised on the civil service website with the location given as either London or Wolverhampton, where the housing ministry is due to open a second headquarters in Glenn Howells’ i9 building. In a first for a departmental centre outside of the capital, it is set to have a “regular ministerial presence” with senior civil servants based in the building.

The head of architecture role comes with a salary of £63,465 for London-based applicants or £57,446 for those who choose to work from the West Midlands. A further £1,000 is available for “exceptional” candidates.

Glenn Howells Architects'  i9 office building in Wolverhampton, which is due to complete this summer

Source: GHA

MHCLG’s second headquarters is to be based on two floors of Glenn Howells Architects’ i9 office building in Wolverhampton

The successful applicant will report directly to the chief planner, Joanna Averley, the former Cabe boss and Olympic design director who took up her new role last year.

The recruitment advertisement places the job firmly in the context of the government’s pledge to “build back better” and housing secretary Robert Jenrick’s commitment to implement much of the Building Better, Building Beautiful report written by the late philosopher Roger Scruton and Nicholas Boys Smith.

The head of architecture will be expected to implement the work begun by von Bradsky on the National Model Design Code and National Design Guide and to “embed design quality in housing and placemaking” – as well as the more controversial reforms to the planning system which critics have said is at odds with ministers’ quality agenda.

The government said it was looking for an experienced, energetic and credible architect to advise the ministry on architectural policy and practice and to develop MHCLG as a centre of knowledge and advice on design matters.

“In addition, you will champion the importance of good design outcomes to the construction industry, architectural practices, housebuilders and planning departments, to raise the design standards of new housing schemes, thereby influencing communities’ attitudes to new development,” it said.

Crop_Joanna Averley Portrait_Credit Joanna Averley

Source: Joanna Averley

Joanna Averley

In line with von Bradsky’s remarks that government has no longer considers architects unexpensive luxury, the job ad also states: “The importance of design quality and the need for architectural expert advice, is woven throughout all aspects of work relating to housing and placemaking.

“This entails work on the design of all aspects of the built environment including the design and function of homes and neighbourhoods, streets, public spaces, public and cultural buildings and commercial and mixed use development. Our work on design takes a holistic approach of urban design, landscape architecture, town and country planning and architecture.”

The job is advertised as a permanent contract as either a full time role or a part time job share.

The deadline for applications is Sunday June 27.