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Sue Emms

Sue Emms

Principal Architect, Global Head of Education Manchester/Liverpool
+44 [0]161 828 2200

Sue was appointed Chair for our North Region in 2019 and is responsible for guiding the strategy for our Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, and Liverpool studios. She is also Global Head for Education, having designed and delivered some of our most innovative and award winning education projects.

Sue is an active champion of good design and an holistic, sustainable approach to building, epitomised in her studio’s acclaimed St John Bosco Arts College and Enterprise South Liverpool Academy. She specialises in leading university masterplans and has recently prepared masterplans for Warwick, Coventry, Sheffield Hallam, Keele and Manchester universities. Sue has also designed and delivered several higher education buildings including three new academic buildings - a business school, a social sciences building and a central student hub for Sheffield Hallam University and the Smart Innovation Centre at Keele University, which is the first innovation centre in the UK to bring together a university management school and incubation space for innovative new and developing businesses. Whilst Sue actively leads numerous education projects, she also participates in sector reviews across all studios ensuring that experience obtained from around the world informs the design of BDP’s education projects.

Sue is passionate about EDI and leads our BDPBelonging network which represents all areas of diversity and is steered by a group of employee representatives from across the practice, defining and driving forward BDP’s equity, inclusion and diversity agenda. Sue’s leadership is crucial in creating an organisation where everyone has a sense of belonging, with diverse teams at all levels reflecting the communities they design for, enhancing social mobility and creating spaces that promote wellbeing and participation within the built environment.

In addition to her work at BDP, Sue is a visiting practice professor at the University of Sheffield, an external examiner at Manchester School of Architecture and also a visiting tutor at University of Central Lancashire. She has been part of the trailblazer group of practices that have established the new level 6 & 7 degree apprenticeship programmes in architecture.

What has been the most exciting innovation in architecture?

“The ‘fat felt-tip pen’ - the origin of all good design! While advances in technology should be embraced, good design cannot exist without continual sketching and testing of ideas.“

Enterprise South Liverpool Academy and LJMU's Copperas Hill development

Project director Sue Emms talks about the design of Enterprise South Liverpool Academy, BDP's Building of the year. Hear what users have to say about their fantastic new building.


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