UKCW 2019


George Clarke’s vision for MOBIE - The Ministry of Building, Innovation and Education – has made monumental movement to securing the future of Britain’s housing industry with a series of stellar appointments for the organisation.


The highly respected TV presenter and architect’s educational charity, MOBIE, will spearhead fundamental change to the building industry and promises a focus on raising design standards, build quality and innovation around home building. Its mission is to inspire new generations in to the building profession and transform the way we think, design and construct homes. Essentially, it is about new ways of making homes for new ways of living.

George said: “MOBIE is all about the future of home design in Britain and across the world. There has been a lack of investment in the home construction industry over the last 30 to 40 years and we need to raise the design and build standards. Fundamentally, we are still building homes the way we did hundreds of years ago. Technology corporations, telecommunication companies, and the automotive and aerospace industries are advancing at incredible rates, but the house building industry is stagnant, and it is genuinely time for systematic change.

It was critical to build a powerhouse team to drive instrumental change to an industry that so crucially needs it and I’m privileged to have some of the most influential, esteemed and respected figureheads in their own fields standing alongside me.”

Mark Southgate joined as Chief Executive in November 2018; a chartered town planner with over 30 years’ experience in planning, environment and management roles in local government, non-governmental organisations and central government agencies.

Most recently Mark was Director of Major Casework at The Planning Inspectorate with responsibility for planning inquiries, plan examinations and nationally significant infrastructure planning applications, and lead on workforce planning and customer engagement and experience. He has previously worked in various policy, operational and management roles at Tonbridge and Malling Council in Kent, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Environment Agency.

Mark is a Trustee of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and he has previously been a Trustee of the Royal Town Planning Institute. Mark was a member of the Advisory Group to Kate Barker on her review of land use planning and the Lawton Review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Networks. He is a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellow, following his visit to study New Zealand’s environmental planning system.

Mark Southgate said: “I am thrilled to join MOBIE at such a crucial time for housing and home design. We know we need to build hundreds of thousands more houses per year, but they must be high quality, fit for future generations to live in and last the test of time. Much of our current housing does not pass these tests. It is so important we engage and inspire young people through education to allow them to improve the design of their own homes. To do that we need to create a new advanced and innovative industry, exploring new ways of building and manufacturing homes. That's why MOBIE's mission to attract, inspire and educate the future creators of our Built Environment is so vital. There is no better time to be leading MOBIE to make this difference”

Mark Farmer also joins as a Trustee from November 2018. CEO and co-founder of Cast Consultancy, Mark is a Chartered Surveyor with 30 years’ experience in construction and real estate and has become a recognised international commentator on a variety of industry and policy related issues. Mark is a member of the Mayor of London’s Construction Skills Advisory Group, a board member for the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, a co-chair of Constructing Excellence and an honorary professor at The University of Salford’s School of Built Environment. Mark authored the highly influential 2016 independent government review of the UK’s construction labour model entitled ‘Modernise or Die’ and is currently chairing a UK Government working group promoting Modern Methods of Construction in the residential sector.

Mark Farmer said: "I am absolutely delighted to be joining George and the MOBIE team as a trustee. I have made clear to the construction industry over the last couple of years why we need to modernise. Any transformation has to be fundamentally rooted in a new narrative for what our industry is about and how it delivers. We have to fully embrace design quality and performance led thinking across everything we do, enabled by rapidly changing technology and manufacturing opportunities. If we don't, we will struggle to change an industry record of increasingly poor delivery and negative public perceptions. We will also be unable to attract and enthuse the talent we need to secure our future. We cannot miss the opportunity at such a crucial time to train a new generation of future home designers, manufacturers and integrators and this is what MOBIE is firmly focused on. I am looking forward to helping MOBIE flourish within the existing framework of education, industrial strategy and homebuilding policies but also where appropriate, fill the gaps that exist in the current landscape to accelerate change."

Appointed as ambassadors for MOBIE are Jaguar’s Director of Design, Ian Callum and Board Director of Whittam Cox Architects, Nick Riley.

Ian spent the first 12 years of his career at Ford Design Studios, where he contributed to the creation of the Escort RS Cosworth and the Ghia Via Concept. Later, as Chief Designer of TWR Design, he was responsible for the Aston Martin DB7 and Vanquish.

After joining Jaguar in 1999, Ian continued to manage Aston Martin Design, developing the DB9 as well as directing Jaguar Design where he and his team created, amongst others, the R-Coupe, RD-6 and C-X75 concepts. Heralding an exciting new era for the brand, each car takes the design theme further and continues to reinforce Jaguar as a creator of 'fast, beautiful cars.' The first new model was the XK, followed by the XF and XJ. In September 2012 the much-anticipated F-TYPE was launched, Jaguar’s first 2-seater sports car since the iconic E-Type. This was followed later by the Jaguar XE, which Ian designed for a very competitive segment. A bold statement for Jaguar using Ian's established design philosophy.

In 2015 Ian led his team to launch the second generation XF, followed by the F-PACE, Jaguar’s first SUV. In 2017 the Jaguar E-PACE compact performance SUV was unveiled and March 2018 saw the launch of I-PACE - Jaguar’s first all-electric vehicle and third member of the PACE family.

Ian continues to lead a team of highly talented designers at Jaguar’s design studios in Coventry and has received six honorary doctorates from universities around the world.

Ian Callum said: “Innovation and education must go hand and hand, not only to address the issues of today, but to make sure that the next generations can solve the even greater challenges of tomorrow. It is greatly reassuring to see this being applied in an industry which, in my view, hasn’t kept pace with the advances being made in other sectors.
“I’m delighted to become a MOBIE ambassador and hope I can help inspire young people to see the incredible opportunities in design – in the built environment, and across all areas of manufacturing and industry.”

Nick Riley carved his career in architecture via a technical apprenticeship at the age of sixteen so is wholly invested and aligned in the vision for MOBIE. Nick is already providing opportunities for new generations to achieve academic qualifications as his practice Whittam Cox Architects are involved with various initiatives including the RIBA student mentoring scheme. He also actively promotes and delivers buildings using modern methods of construction and offsite solutions.

Nick Riley said: “I personally understand the importance and value of grass roots education. I fully support the vision of MOBIE from an education perspective and I want to help inspire a new generation into architecture and construction.”

“I also understand the increasing challenges and systemic failures the construction sector faces both now and in the future. Building homes and other buildings through a more manufacturing/assembly led route is eminently logical to me. I don’t see this as a threat to architects or architecture. Quite the opposite, it’s a massive opportunity. Creating beautiful homes for all is achievable if we think and build differently; offsite construction solutions are an imperative, not a choice.”

“I’m genuinely delighted to have been asked by George to be one of the first MOBIE Ambassadors. I believe MOBIE will drive positive and necessary change in our industry.”

Clarke summarised the announcement by saying: “We all need a shelter and our home is the most important piece of architecture in our lives. It needs to be more than just a shelter, it needs to be a place that enhances the quality and experience of our everyday lives and our health and well-being. By harnessing the talents, ideas and energy of the young people of today we can now change the way we build homes.”

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