In a series celebrating BD’s Architect of the Year Awards finalists, we look at the Employer Architect shortlist

In July BD announced all the architects who made it on to the shortlists for our prestigious annual Architect of the Year Awards.

Now we are shining the spotlight on each category in turn and publishing a selection of the images that impressed the judges.

Today’s shortlist is the Employer Architect of the Year Award.

Butcher Bayley Architects

Screenshot 2022-09-22 at 11.09.05

Source: Butcher Bayley Architects

Butcher Bayley Architects’ submission demonstrates a commitment to fostering an environment where employees feel recognised and encouraged to build and develop their careers, where young architects in training are given a home, and where innovative working practices ensure a positive work/life balance.

The practice has recently secured grant and match funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Huntingdonshire District Council to invest in further training initiatives including the AECB retrofit course and principal designer training through APS.


Screenshot 2022-09-22 at 11.15.50

Source: BPTW

BPTW’s submission shows staff wellbeing to be a priority for the practice. Feedback has enabled the team to monitor staff wellbeing and provide greater flexibility with their hybrid working arrangements and flexible working hours for staff with commitments. 

Their dedication to equality is shown through a healthy gender balance, with 45% of staff being female. They aim to maintain an equal balance through their evolving recruitment process.

Purcell Architecture


Source: Purcell Architecture Ltd

Purcell Architecture’s submission highlights a commitment to providing an inclusive place to work with a consistently applied approach across all of their studios.

The practice has created a blended learning environment, consisting of programmes, platforms and accessible sponsorship, identifying individual needs through a Talent Review Programme, from which individuals are empowered to pursue and access a range of options to meet their needs and aspirations.

tp bennett

tp bennett Employer of the Year 2

tp bennett’s submission highlights their diverse workforce in terms of ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, religion and age. The tp bennett+ groups, a D&I community, is run for staff by staff. These are specialist groups raising awareness, offering support and organising activity programmes across Women in Architecture, Learning & Development, Sports & Social, Guardians, Health & Wellbeing, Race & Ethnicity, Alumni and LGBTQ+.

Over the past 12 months the practice has partnered and collaborated with three social enterprises, providing design services pro-bono to create environments that have a positive impact on local communities.

HTA Design

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Source: HTA Design LLP

HTA Design’s submission demonstrates a commitment to good employment practices and greater investment in the development of their staff. The practice holds weekly design reviews which are open to all staff to encourage creativity and collaboration. Annual output is celebrated in the team’s Winter Exhibition and Yearbook. The practice’s weekly resourcing meetings have also been proven to allocate people more effectively, achieving both personal career goals and meeting project demands.

Overtime monitoring with targeted action helped reduce extra hours worked to below 1%, supported by increased TOIL allowances. The appraisal system evolved from annual reviews to a process of more continuous development throughout the year and a focused training plan that enhances staff learning at every level.

HLM Architects

Screenshot 2022-09-22 at 11.44.27

Source: HLM Architects

As an employee-owned trust, HLM Architects is firmly in the hands of its more than 200 employees. The practice’s submission showcases their shared vision, embedded values and commitment to progress.  

The team has created six strategic objectives and employees are presenting action plans bringing these to life at an EOT-FESTIVAL this month. The nurturing culture provides a framework that empowers individuals, drives sustainable outcomes, creates innovative opportunities for everyone to succeed and has attracted interest from a more diverse talent pool.

TODD Architects

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Source: TODD Architects

Health and Wellbeing Group receiving NI Chest Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Workplace Wellbeing Award

TODD Architects’ submission demonstrates a high quality work environment, with the practice recognising its responsibility to question the status quo within the construction industry and look for ways to lead from the front. 

Staff turnover across the practice reduced from 22% in 2020 to 14% in 2021 and the 2021 staff survey revealed staff satisfaction ratings averaging more than 90%. The team has already been awarded the ‘Gold’ Investors in People Standard and the NI Chest Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Workplace Wellbeing Award 2022.  

Assael Architecture

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Source: Assael Architecture

Assael Architecture’s submission showcases its commitment “to provide an environment that promotes respect, integrity, transparency and collaboration between all staff at all levels, encouraging active involvement in the future direction of the business”. 

The practice’s ethos is “it’s ok to not be ok”. Alongside regular check-ins and “Tea & Talks”, the practice now has two qualified mental health first aiders who are trained to appropriately deal with issues, including looking for early signs of mental health distress. As founders of the Architects’ Mental Wellbeing Forum, the team led the campaign for World Mental Health Day in October.