£60,000 post created as part of ministers’ focus on beauty in built environment

Andy von Bradksy

Andy von Bradsky

Andy von Bradsky has been named the government’s head of architecture.

The former PRP chairman is a respected housing architect who has been advising the Ministry of Housing as an external contractor for some time.

A ministry insider described him as being taken “in house” in a role with a £60,000 salary.

The long-anticipated announcement was made this morning by chief planner Steve Quartermain, at a government housing conference.

The middle ranking grade 6 job was announced in November, the same month that housing secretary James Brokenshire established the controversial Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission (BBBBC) under the chairmanship of Roger Scruton. His fellow commissioners were announced yesterday and he is attending today’s conference in Birmingham.

The commission will take it own evidence and have its own assistants, but one of von Bradsky’s tasks will be to look at its recommendations - expected in about a year - and advise ministers on how these might best be implemented.

A qualified architect and former RIBA housing group chairman, von Bradsky will work alongside Jenny Thomas, the government’s head of built environment who was appointed about a year ago to champion good design.

Together they sit in Quartermain’s wider Ministry of Housing design team which was formed around the government’s priority of ”beauty” and its role in convincing communities to accept more housing developments.

A chief architect was one of the recommendations of the Farrell Review in 2014.

>> Also read: Architects cheer as Ministry of Housing recruits head of architecture

>> Also read: Scruton names his ‘Building Beautiful’ commissioners


Last year’s job ad says: “A critical element of this role will be to establish the department as a centre of knowledge and advice on design matters to ensure that across government programmes the importance of design outcomes is recognised and implemented.”

Key responsibilities include: giving architectural advice on design to different departments; helping produce an action plan to raise awareness of the importance of good design standards in new housing; and helping draft policy to improve housing design quality and better engagement with communities.

The successful architect will also be expected to advise other teams around the country engaged in estate regeneration and the provision of new settlements, including approaches to masterplanning.

The skills requirements include being a qualified architect with a proven track record of delivering quality housing schemes, experience of working with communities and “strong political awareness and a proven ability to work with a range of stakeholders”.