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 our sector head for education in the north of England, 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.
“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.“
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.
A unique opportunity to transform a redundant city centre building, regenerate a city quarter and create a vibrant, student-focused heart for LJMU.
The response uses a simple efficient building form allowing for greater flexibility to create both transformational and inspirational spaces.
This new academy is conceived as a ribbon, clad in shiny aluminium shingles.
New life for a major heritage site. The aesthetic of the area was preserved while boosting floor space with carefully balanced new infill buildings that varied between two and six storeys.
State-of-the-art school on a restricted site. The design is built around user needs and natural daylight: classrooms face north — ensuring good day lighting without overheating — and play decks face south, with shelter providing protection from the sun.
Sheffield Hallam University has appointed three partner suppliers to form the Hallam Alliance, a ground-breaking new construction industry procurement and delivery model which aims to inspire change in the industry.
Children returning to school may be welcome news to parents but the format and structure of the school and timetable may look very different in the future post the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chair of our education for the north Sue Emms sees the future for university estates as less new build and more rebuild as existing buildings are repurposed.
Sheffield Hallam University has revealed its new campus masterplan which places it at the heart of the city.
As traditional architectural training is increasingly challenged education director Sue Emms describes emerging pathways into the profession and explains that practices have an increasing role to play in ensuring a socially inclusive and dynamic architectural profession for the future.
Responsible for delivering some of our most innovative and award winning schools, Sue Emms leads interdisciplinary teams on a range of projects and is our education sector advisor for northern England.