Director of Urban Design & Masterplanning

  • Job Reference: 00017244-1
  • Date Posted: 5 November 2019
  • Recruiter: Publica
  • Location: London
  • Salary: On Application
  • Sector: Architect, Business Development, Design, Principal, Town Planning
  • Job Type: Permanent

Job Description

Publica is looking for an ambitious, world-class designer to take on the role of Director of Urban Design and Masterplanning.

About us

Publica is a 35-person London-based public realm and urban design consultancy providing intelligence, advice and design services to Planning Authorities, Great Estates, major landowners, Business Improvement Districts and communities. Publica operates at the heart of the debate about urbanism and cities. Its work is part of an international conversation about how to make cities more efficient, integrated, vibrant, humane and safe, and how to preserve the vitality of urban neighbourhoods in the midst of rapid growth and development. Its work is design-led, value driven and underpinned by thorough research.

Publica was founded by Lucy Musgrave in 2010, at a pivotal moment in society’s thinking about the value of public space in cities, development and planning. Since then, its research-led visions and strategies have been adopted as urban policy and unlocked major public realm projects. As a result, Publica has had the privilege of restoring and creatively reimagining some of London’s most significant streets and civic spaces. Current and recent projects include the transformation of Bond Street and Hanover Square, the Place Strategy and Delivery Plan for Oxford Street District, the Winchester Station Approach public realm strategy, a new vision for Oxford Circus and the Public Realm Strategy for Strand, Trafalgar Square and Northumberland Avenue. We are increasingly being invited to work across the UK and overseas.

The practice enjoys an unrivalled reputation within the development sector and a strong portfolio of current and prospective projects. We are looking for a new Director of Urban Design and Masterplanning to cement our reputation as leaders in the field.
Publica works at, and moves seamlessly between, every scale – from details, juxtapositions and materials within the public realm to strategies for entire urban districts and key urban assets such as the River Thames. The successful candidate must be capable of operating holistically between and across all these scales whilst delivering ambition and quality in each.

The Role

Based in our offices in Broadgate, the Director of Urban Design and Masterplanning will:

•  Articulate and develop Publica’s value-led design ethos to stakeholders, clients, the public and the team
•  Articulate, shape and develop Publica’s approach to spatial masterplanning and the design of architectural interventions within the public realm
•  Develop and cement key relationships with Publica’s existing and prospective clients
•  Build business development opportunities, identify prospects for work and lead client interviews and competitions
•  Work with clients to establish ambitious and deliverable project briefs
•  Ensure that all projects reflect the values and aspirations of both Publica and its clients are delivered to the highest possible standards
•  Protect and champion urban design and technical quality throughout all phases of projects
•  Assume overall responsibility for projects including design, resourcing, programming, design management and communication with clients 11/2019
•  Identify, attract, manage, nurture and retain outstanding design talent
•  Lead solutions to a wide range of circumstances including, regeneration strategies, public or private sector planning and infrastructure projects, brownfield masterplanning and public realm schemes
•  Play a key role in developing Publica’s masterplanning service area and refining the holistic, dynamic and inclusive form of masterplanning Publica has pioneeed.
•  Be willing to travel internationally.

The successful applicant will report to Founding Director Lucy Musgrave and will work closely with Director of Strategy and Research Anna Mansfield and Director of Business & Operations Francis Henderson. As part of the Senior Management Team they will be expected to work closely with the other Directors to:

•  Identify opportunities to develop the practice’s influence, profitability and profile
•  Define and develop the practice’s corporate ethos and culture

Person specification

The successful applicant will have:

•  Outstanding design skills
•  Hold a recognised professional qualification, such as Architect, or Landscape Architect with extensive senior level experience of designing urban design and public realm projects
•  The ability to think strategically and to incorporate social, cultural and political agendas into successful design proposals
•  Strong communication skills and an ability to develop close, on-going relationships with partners, stakeholders and clients at the highest level
•  An ability to navigate complex client groups and multiple agendas
•  A thorough understanding of the technical, regulatory, environmental and political issues pertaining to the design and delivery of successful built environment projects
•  Excellent leadership and management skills and a proven ability to build and develop successful design teams
•  An ability to thrive in an entrepreneurial, creative, client-focused environment

This is a fundamental role for our business with excellent prospects for career growth and potential to develop the role.


To apply in confidence to become Director of Urban Design and Masterplanning, please forward your CV together with a 1–2 page supporting statement outlining why you are interested in the opportunity and how your application addresses the requirements for the role and person specification. Please do not supply any reference details on your CV at this stage, these will be requested as required.

If you have any questions on any aspect of the appointment process, need additional information or wish to have an informal discussion, please contact us on +44(0)207 4903986 or and ask to speak to a member of the recruitment team confidentially regarding the position of Director of Urban Design and Masterplanning.

Applications should be made via email to Closing date for applications: 5th December 2019.

First round of interviews to be held on 11th and 12th December 2019