Jaques - Designing the City

Jaques Doody

Design Manager at HS2 Ltd

BA (Hons) Architecture

Jac wanted to use his creativity to improve the built environment but struggled to find a clear career path. Since then, he has worked on many projects across housing, commercial, transport, arts and the community. He now manages the design development of HS2, a major project in the city’s landscape. His passion for his field has motivated him to lead workshops with students across Birmingham who want to become Architects.

“I’ve always been a creative person, but I wasn’t sure what creative careers were available to me. I think there’s a lack of awareness and education about creative careers and how successful they can be. My uncertainty about which art form I wanted to specialise in led me to undertake a foundation year in Art and Design. It gave me the time and scope to test and finesse my approach to discover a whole side of creative practice that I wasn’t familiar with.

I had originally gone into my foundation year thinking I would pursue graphic design, but my foundation year taught me that art can be used to build the world around us and that’s what I wanted to do. I was attracted to architecture because of the effect it can have on communities and landscapes. I felt that an architecture course would be the perfect mix of creativity, engineering and theoretical knowledge. Plus, architecture offers the possibility of working in different sectors and developing new skills like technical resolution, communication and working with others.

I chose BCU because the university has a focus on the city around it. Being at the centre of the UK’s second city is an exciting opportunity; Birmingham is continuously growing, and I wanted to be a part of that growth. BCU’s connections with industry created many opportunities to collaborate with others to achieve the best outcome, a skill that is essential to my work today.

The Architecture course at BCU was a good foundation for working in the built environment, with a focus on collaboration and live projects. The theoretical knowledge I developed was put into practice and applied to real architectural challenges. The course is full of opportunities for collaboration, both with other students and with external businesses. I had the chance to complete a work placement in second year to understand practice management, architectural job-running and studio working. It was a great opportunity to build a network in industry and I have kept in touch with my practice mentor ever since.

After graduating from BCU, I continued my studies to become a fully qualified architect. I worked alongside this to gain experience in different sectors, including housing, commercial, transport, arts, culture and community schemes. I have worked at architectural practices in London and Birmingham, at a large and small scale which has given me a wide breadth of experience. My experience has helped me understand what a successful design process looks like and how it can be implemented to deliver efficient, joyful and holistically sustainable buildings for people and wildlife to inhabit.

After becoming a qualified architect, I secured a role with HS2. My current role as Design Manager is wide-ranging in its scope to deliver the HS2 Design Vision. I help guide the design development of stations, bridges and viaducts along the HS2 route. I also manage the HS2 Independent Design Panel, which serves as an independent body that reviews the designs, strategy and proposals that come forward for HS2 and provides feedback against the principles of the Design Vision. It is a great opportunity to be part of such a major project that allows me to work with architects from all over the world.

Working at HS2 has taught me the scope and variety of architectural careers and I’m excited to see what I can explore next. I wanted to pursue a creative career that allowed me to have an impact on people and communities, working at HS2 does just that. Every day I consider how designs will impact people and the environment.

When I first began my journey at BCU, I wasn’t aware of the careers available to me and how happy and successful I could become. That’s why I share my passion for architecture with young people across Birmingham by running workshops across the city and Accelerate Days at BCU. In these workshops, young people learn about the built environment and the career possibilities within the sector. It’s a joy to inspire others and put them on the path to a fulfilling career.”