For its fourth annual NextGen Awards ceremony on Wednesday, 12th November 2019 at The Porter Tun in London, the British Council for Offices (BCO) celebrated the achievements and successes of the under 35 young professionals in the commercial property sector.
A part of the BCO’s NextGen programme, the awards set out to mentor and encourage the next generation of professionals to become future leaders in the industry, while providing a platform for new talent to share ideas and overcome the challenges of starting out in architecture and office design. Leading designers, developers, architects and occupiers under the age of 35 attended the prestigious event to celebrate the achievements and successes of the young professionals in the commercial property sector across the UK, and the leaders who have inspired them.
Furthermore, NextGen members have also voted to choose the winner of the BCO NextGen Employer of the Year and for the first time this year, the BCO introduced a new category for the awards, the NextGen PropTech company of the Year, voted by the NextGen membership. Recognising the ever-growing presence of PropTech in the commercial real estate market, the PropTech Company of the Year award celebrates technology innovation in the industry over the past year.
Richard Kauntze, chief executive of the BCO, said: “The NextGen community continue to be a source of pride for us here at the BCO. The future of our industry is very much in their hands which is why we believe it’s so important to recognise and celebrate the impressive work they deliver for us day in, day out. Each of our winners has contributed to their region’s most impressive developments – my congratulations to you all, you should be very proud.”
President of the BCO, Paul Patenall, who recently spoke to OnOffice about how to design workplaces with wellbeing in mind, agreed: “It’s really exciting to me to see such a breadth of young talent across the country. Each and every one of our winners tonight is going above and beyond their day to day roles to enrich their own understanding of the sector, but also – crucially – to support and celebrate others around them. Many thanks to our judges, it is no easy task to select winners from such a strong selection of nominees. Congratulations, all!”
To mark the occasion, OnOffice looks back on the evening to acknowledge the winners of the 2019 BCO NextGen Awards.
Rising star London and South East: Paula Gonzalez, John Robertson Architects
John Robertson Architects’ Paula Gonzalez has made an outstanding contribution to both her firm and the wider industry, through her role as Chair of the City Property Association’s Next Gen and work with the Women in Property Group. The judges agreed her ability run two such enriching programmes while delivering outstanding project work in her day to day is remarkable.
Rising star Scotland: Claire Ann Harkins, McLaughlin and Harvey Workspace
Claire’s fast ascension impressed the judges. In the past three years, she has been responsible for delivering Scottish Power into its new Glasgow HQ and supporting a Fortune 200 company transition to a more flexible working style. She also works tirelessly to support other talent in the industry through the BCO NextGen chapter and the Women in Property Group.
Rising star North: Simon Hill, DLG Architects LLP
Since joining DLG Architects as a Part II Architectural Assistant five years ago, Simon has qualified as an Architect, been promoted to Associate Director, delivered an award-winning workplace refurbishment for a Legal 500 company and become co-president of the Leeds Society of Architects, a branch of RIBA Yorkshire. The judges felt Simon’s progression is a testament to his creativity and rigour, making him a valuable member of the BCO NextGen community and worthy winner of the Rising Star award.
Rising star South West: Lowri Jeffs, Arup
Lowri has delivered some of the most prestigious office developments in Cardiff. The judges felt her collaborative attitude and inspiring leaderships skills shone through her nomination, from her day-to-day client work to her role as an active STEM ambassador.
Rising star Midlands: Roxana Botezatu, Gensler
It was clear to the judges that Roxana is a highly regarded and committed member of Gensler’s Birmingham office, with colleagues praising her thoughtful approach, engaging energy and commitment to go above and beyond client’s visions. The judges were impressed by Roxana’s can-do attitude and felt her passion for the built environment combined with this willingness to constantly challenge herself drives her to create spaces that consistently exceed the need of clients and end users alike.
Graduate of the Year: Bongai Muyambo, chapmanbdsp
As well as excelling in her role as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer, Bongai played a pivotal role in organising chapmanbdsp’s internal mental health awareness events. In addition, she has been a key voice in the firm’s work with Aston University, where she mentors the next generation of female engineers. Her colleagues praised her understanding of engineering and her passion for her work, a combination which the judges agree make her an excellent ambassador for the industry.
Inspirational Leader of the Year : Katrina Kostic Samen, KKS Savills
Former President of the BCO Katrina Kostic Samen was awarded Inspirational Leader of the Year. Her work driving awareness about representation and diversity in the industry has helped to deliver genuine change in the property world. This combined with her passion for design marked her out to the judges as an inspiration for the rising generation, a leader unafraid to challenge the status quo and combine disciplines to create work that goes above and beyond clients’ expectations.
NextGen’s Employer of the Year: chapmanbdsp
Voted for by the BCO’s NextGen membership, the Employer of the Year award recognises organisations that have created a stimulating and supportive work environment that supports and nurtures young talent. This year’s winner is chapmanbdsp, an independent design consultancy specialising in building services engineering and environmental design.
NextGen’s PropTech Company of the Year: Built-ID
Built-ID showcases the projects of today and empowers communities to better shape the projects of tomorrow. The firm’s community engagement tools are being used to influence commercial space, new homes as well as increase in feedback.