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Leonard Design partners with University of Nottingham to launch new team

L-R: Jess Tyson, John Morgan and Laura Cushnie

Global architectural practice Leonard Design Architects has announced a new partnership with the University of Nottingham (UoN) to improve research and development in the architectural sector.

The first of its kind implemented in practice by any university across the country, the new initiative allows students at the UoN school of architecture to work directly with local firms to produce cutting edge industry-based research.   

Students Jessica Tyson and Laura Cushnie will be employed by Leonard Design Architects over the next year to produce a piece of critical research that will aid the development of the business and its clients, as part of the Collaborative Practice Part 2 course at the University of Nottingham.

The research that both students explore will influence live industry projects – this could include anything from the impact of temporary spaces such as pop up shops and street food on public realm to the growth of the retail experience and how retailers are merging online and offline. 

John Morgan, director of Leonard Design Architects, said: “We are extremely excited to launch our very own research team at Leonard Design. This is a long-term relationship that we see only strengthening over the years as students at the University of Nottingham will be able to undertake practice-based research that benefits both Leonard Design and the wider sector. By working directly with our clients. Laura and Jess will have the opportunity to produce innovative industry-led research as demand for more R&D in the sector grows.

“Laura and Jess have been working with us both as architect assistants after recently graduating and will now be separately based out of our Nottingham and London offices linking with the University of Nottingham’s London hub. The scope for this partnership is vast as our team work on exciting projects all over the world, regardless of where they’re based. The university also has a Malaysian campus, which is another part of the globe where we have a presence and many clients.”  

Graeme Barker, collaborative practice co-ordinator at the University of Nottingham’s Department of Architecture and the Built Environment, said:

“This is a unique proposition for our architectural students and one that ensures they can get the best possible and richest educational experience. Students that undertake the Collaborative Practice Part 2 course will be directly supported by university research staff when embarking on their practice-based research with firms such as Leonard Design.

“It is the first of its kind in the country and responds to demands from the Royal Institute of British Architects to improve academic research and R&D in the sector. As a university, we’re focused on building strong practice relationships with high-quality firms such as Leonard Design. Many of the senior team at Leonard Design are also alumni of the university so it’s a fantastic fit for us. This is a long-term project where we hope to attract even more students to embark on such research that not only helps create resource for local businesses but aids in retaining and developing talent locally.”       

Jess Tyson, currently an architect assistant at Leonard Design Architects and University of Nottingham student, said:

“I cannot wait to get started in September. I have been working as an architect assistant with Leonard Design since graduating last summer from the University of Nottingham’s undergraduate architecture degree and I’ve enjoyed every minute. This is an exciting opportunity to continue working with an award-winning global architectural practice. I will work out of the Nottingham office for two and a half days per week for the first year of the two-year course allowing me to gain hands-on experience and produce a piece of independent research for the company that will count towards university credits.”

Laura Cushnie, also an architect assistant at Leonard Design Architects who graduated from the University of Newcastle but will be undertaking the Collaborative Practice Part 2 course at the University of Nottingham student, added:

“This is a completely new route into industry. Jess and I hope to make a real difference to the business and wider sector with our research and this new way of studying will allow us to continue working on-site and directly with clients gaining valuable experience. It really helps that the senior management team at Leonard Design are forward-thinking and extremely supportive.” 

For further information visit: www.leonarddesignarchitects.com or follow @leonard_design on Twitter.