Big vision and great design key to UK infrastructure future, says Sadie Morgan

National Infrastructure Commission must deliver efficient infrastructure but also “create places that we truly deserve and love being in”, says HS2 design panel chair and NIC commissioner.

Sadie Morgan, HS2 Design Panel Chair

UK design expertise must lead the way to help UK infrastructure catch up with the best from across the world with a bold vision to “take control of our future”, according to leading designer Sadie Morgan as she joins the new National Infrastructure Commission.

“Let Britain lead the way, let’s take control of our future. Let’s not dither- let’s get cracking!” Sadie Morgan

Morgan drew on her recent work at HS2 as the chair of the Independent Design Panel which she said had demonstrated clearly that there is the “hunger and passion” in the UK to make big projects happen. 

“My mission is to ensure we don’t just create efficient infrastructure, we create places that we truly deserve and love being in,” she said at the launch of the new independent commission last Friday by Chancellor George Osborne at the National Railway Museum in York.

“I care deeply about this,” she added. “In order to look to the future you need a vision, and in order to create that vision you people who can think and imagine the future. We need to think big, to connect those big ideas by connecting the people who have them.”

Morgan is a founding partner of architecture practice DrMM and was named alongside six others from across infrastructure, economics and politics to serve under Lord Andrew Adonis on the new National Infrastructure Commission. 

The commission will produce a report at the start of each five-year Parliament, offering recommendations for priority infrastructure projects. Its initial focus will be on northern connectivity, London’s transport system and the UK’s energy supply.

The commissioners to sever under Lord Adonis are:

  1. Lord Heseltine – the former deputy prime minister who has long championed the regeneration of Britain’s inner cities through infrastructure investment
  2. Sir John Armitt – the former chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and next year’s President of the Institute of Civil Engineers
  3. Professor Tim Besley – a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee and the LSE’s Growth Commission, which recommended an independent infrastructure body
  4. Demis Hassabis – artificial intelligence researcher, neuroscientist and head of DeepMind Technologies
  5. Sadie Morgan – a founding director of dRMM Architects and Design Panel Chair of HS2
  6. Bridget Rosewell – a senior adviser at Volterra and former Chief Economist and Chief Economic Adviser to the Greater London Authority
  7. Sir Paul Ruddock – chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the University of Oxford Endowment

Speaking alongside Osborne at the Commission’s launch, Morgan highlighted that countries around the world were already embracing a new vision for modern infrastructure and, she added, using British design talent to make that vision a reality.  

“The experience of our buildings and places speaks to our national identity, they say something about who we are what we are good at,” said Morgan highlighting that Britain had great design talent.

“The value of design cannot be underestimated, but we need to get it right from start to finish from procurement to delivery,” she added. “Let Britain lead the way, let’s take control of our future. Let’s not dither- let’s get cracking!”

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