ARCHITECT Angela Brady OBE – a past president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) – is set to oversee a competition to deliver a standout new neighbourhood in Wolverhampton’s city centre.

She’s been appointed as the architect adviser for the contest, launched by RIBA in collaboration with social impact developers Capital&Centric and City of Wolverhampton Council. 

The award winning architect is co-founder of London based practice Brady Mallalieu Architects. As well as starring in TV series in both the UK and Ireland, she was the second woman to become President of RIBA and has been a passionate advocate for increasing diversity and inclusion in the sector over the years. 

Angela will oversee the competition for the city’s St George’s site and - alongside the other partners - will shortlist 4 practices. Each practice will get 8 weeks to put forward their vision for the site, which includes a Grade II listed church at its heart. Angela said: 

“This is an incredible opportunity for the city to create a community led neighbourhood that fosters new ways of living across the generations. It’s a chance to deliver design that excites and inspires, whilst at the same time weaving in the city’s history, culture and identity. 

“We want to see the practices put their spin on the future of city centre living, with welcoming communal and outdoor spaces that foster community spirit and solid sustainability credentials. We’ll also be looking for a sense of character and playfulness that sets the neighbourhood apart from the rest.” 

The international architectural competition is progressing at pace. A raft of internationally renowned practices have already expressed an interest in taking part, with the shortlisting set to take place in March. 

The Council and Capital&Centric plan to showcase the finalists’ designs at a local event, where the city’s residents will be able to have their say on what grabs their eye. The winning design will form the basis of the St George’s masterplan which is due to set the pace for quality development design in the City.

City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: 

“We want the St George’s scheme to become the design and quality benchmark for future developments in the city. Having someone of Angela’s calibre to oversee this exciting competition means any designs put forward will have to be of the highest standard for this game changing opportunity we are leading on.
“Her enthusiasm matches our ambitions as a council, and she understands how important it is for the architects to incorporate Wolverhampton’s rich diversity and culture in their designs to provide a masterplan that will generate a new city centre neighbourhood with real character and social value.”

Martin Crews, development director at Capital&Centric, said: 

“We’ve been buoyed by the amount of interest so far in the competition, and it’s a real coup to get Angela’s involvement. As a former RIBA president, she’s experienced and passionate about what the contest can deliver for the city. She’s been a long standing champion for diversity, which will be a major factor as we aim to design a neighbourhood that’s inclusive and has real long lasting social impact.”

RIBA’s renowned competitions are aimed at delivering some of the most inspirational and outstanding designs. A key tenet of the brief will be encouraging wellbeing, health and a distinct sense of identity and place. 

Capital&Centric’s appointment for the first phase of the scheme was announced in December by the City of Wolverhampton Council, with the first step to develop a masterplan for the former Sainsbury’s supermarket site, with links to the £61 million City Learning Quarter set to open in 2025.