11. Richard McCarthy

Job Director general, sustainable communities group, DCLG
Power base Government

A civil servant within the new Department for Communities & Local Government — successor to the ODPM — McCarthy may lack profile but his importance to architects is considerable.

He was formerly chief executive of the Peabody Trust, chair of the National Housing Federation and a member of the Egan Skills Review.

While there are numerous people establishing the government’s policy on cities within the department, all report to McCarthy. With the DCLG attempting to move closer to the architectural and property worlds, McCarthy is someone who should be on architects’ radar.

12. Tom Bloxham

Job Chairman, Urban Splash
Power base Property

Manchester-based property dev-elopment company Urban Splash has steadily built a reputation as a launching pad for young architects, with schemes such as Fat’s housing in Manchester’s New Islington and Querkraft’s Great George Street housing project in Liverpool.

It frequently uses competitions to find new talent.

As the company’s iconoclastic chairman, Bloxham spreads himself widely, sitting on the boards of the Arts Council, Liverpool Capital of Culture and Manchester’s new arts festival, which launches in 2007. He chairs the Institute for Public Policy Research’s Centre for Cities steering group and is a familiar voice on the conference circuit. The company’s success is a lesson to other developers that using cutting edge architects makes sound financial sense.

13. Jon Rouse

Job Chief executive of the Housing Corporation
Power base Policy

While architects will have heard less from him in his current job — he was previously chief executive of Cabe — Rouse is widely acknowledged to be a tough cookie with a sharp but straight “no bullshit” approach.

The one thing everyone mentions when asked about Rouse is his intelligence — and his career is testament to it.

At the tender age of 38, he is in the possibly unique position of having held senior roles at the Housing Corporation, Cabe, English Partnerships and what was then the Department for the Environment.

That experience will stand him in good stead over the next month or so as the government considers what to do with the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships. Jockeying for position has already begun, with rumours that John Calcutt is to go, leaving Rouse with a new challenge heading up a merged EP and HC, a job that would make him one of the most powerful players on the regeneration and housing circuit.

14. Rem Koolhaas

Job Partner, OMA
Power base Architecture

Polemicist as much as practitioner, Koolhaas has earned guru status. His ideas are helping to shape the debate about urbanism so when he criticised Tony Blair’s “respect” agenda last year people took notice.

His architectural ideas, although radical, are also broadly applicable, giving him a wide influence among architects.

His presence in the UK is on the rise following his creation of the 2006 Serpentine summer pavilion. There’s a new HQ for banker Rothschild planned, and his masterplan for White City is also on the way.

15. Peter Bishop

Job Design for London director, GLA
Power base Local government

The recently appointed director of Design for London, Peter Bishop was previously the director of culture and environment services at the London Borough of Camden. There he led negotiations on the King’s Cross railway development — one of the capital’s largest development sites, which was granted full planning permission at the end of last year.

He was also responsible for kick-starting an urban realm study on Bloomsbury, King’s Cross and Euston Road.

But it is his new role at Design for London that has pushed him into the spotlight. With more resources than the AUU, a staff of 25 and a remit to work across architecture, planning, transport, and even signage, Design for London has the potential to make a big impact. As the head of that body, Bishop’s role will be key in promoting and delivering quality architecture and sustainable design to the capital.

16. Nicholas Serota

Job Tate director
Power base Culture

Serota is one of the country’s best known cultural figures, with a reputation as a supreme operator.

As director of the Tate, he famously led the development of Tate Modern. He will be looking to repeat the trick with Tate 2, the remarkable Herzog & de Meuron-designed extension to the museum.

His influence is spreading with a number of advisory roles. He is “Mr Culture” on the Olympics Delivery Authority Board, sits on Liverpool’s City of Culture board and is a Cabe commissioner.

17. Ray O’Rourke

Job Chairman and chief executive Laing O’Rourke
Power base Construction

As part of the consortium chosen to deliver the Olympics and the firm building the lion’s share of PFI and Lift-funded health buildings, Laing O’Rourke is the country’s most significant contractor for architects in terms of its hiring and firing power.

The company is also building developer Hammerson’s Paradise Street scheme in Liverpool, Heathrow Terminal 5 and the St Pancras Channel Tunnel Rail Link. For the sheer scale of its operation, its chairman and chief executive, the reclusive Ray O’Rourke is the contractor you need to know.

18. Peter Rees

Job City of London planning officer
Power base Planning

Peter Rees, the City of London’s planning officer for the last two decades, has been the driving force behind the transformation of the City office market. Over the years Rees has become an increasingly vocal advocate of quality architecture and an enthusiastic supporter of tall buildings. Under his guidance, developers have been forced to raise their aspirations leading to recent office schemes from the likes of Jean Nouvel and Rafael Viñoly. Rees shows no signs of letting up as he continues to strengthen the City’s hand against competition from Canary Wharf .

19. Stuart Lipton

Job Deputy chair, Chelsfield Partners
Power base Property

Despite stepping down from Cabe after serving as founding chairman from 1999-2004, Lipton’s influence remains considerable. At his former development company Stanhope, Lipton earned a reputation for commissioning quality architects, with schemes such as Richard Rogers’ Chiswick Park, and Ian Ritchie, Eric Parry and Arup’s Stockley Park, winning his company more than 60 design and construction awards along the way.

As deputy chair of Chelsfield, Lipton is now driving the strategically crucial Stratford Town development, while collaborating with First Base, the specialist housing developer established by his son Elliot. And with his considerable architectural connections, Lipton is someone other developers still call for advice on which practices to hire.

20. Cecil Balmond

Job Deputy chairman Arup
Power base Engineering

Before Cecil Balmond arrived at Arup, it was just another engineering firm. Under his influence it has become the major creative force it is today, with a reputation for experimentation and innovation. As well as helping realise the visions of international figures such as Daniel Libeskind, he also has a special collaboration with Rem Koolhaas on projects such as the music hall in Porto and the CCTV building in Beijing.

Through his support and championing of the Serpentine Pavilion programme he has been instrumental in pioneering the work of stars such as Toyo Ito and Oscar Neimeyer in the UK.


We’re keen to hear if you think we’ve got it right. Send us your comments on our ranking via the link at the top of each section, or by email to zblackler@cmpi.biz.