Our People

Our Team

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Sophia de Sousa
Chief Executive

Sophia joined The Glass-House as Chief Executive in 2005. She is an impassioned champion of design quality and enabler of design practices that empower people and organisations and that help communities thrive. She is also a leader in the field of research on community-led, participatory and co-design practices.  

Sophia plays an active role in designing and delivering our support to communities and practitioners, our events and in co-designing research, innovation and resources. She is also an active spokesperson and enabler for our mission, contributing regularly to external events, panels and advisory groups and to policy responses.

Sophia has lived and worked in the UK, US and Italy. Her background in architecture and urbanism, education, community and voluntary sector work and in multiculturalism, means that she always considers a place and a project from multiple perspectives. She is passionate about finding opportunity in complexity and diversity, and is committed to working collaboratively to find informed and creative solutions. She strives to help others to do the same.

Sophia is fascinated by the connection between design, people and place, and believes that our sensory and emotional connections with the places around us shape how we live, and who we are.

sophia@theglasshouse.org.uk

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Louise Dredge
Head of Creative Engagement

Louise leads on our creative engagement with our audiences through projects, research and events, and on capturing and sharing the learning and impact of our work on people, places and practice.

She is an experienced facilitator and champion of placemaking that connects people with the design of their places and raises the quality of design in neighbourhoods, and shapes our support to a wide range of place-based projects from housing to play and open space design.

Louise has worked extensively on collaborative action research with higher education, exploring design processes that involve and empower communities and developing innovative and inclusive approaches and mechanisms to support projects and groups.

Before joining The Glass-House in 2011, she worked at the Irish Architecture Foundation, co-creating and delivering public engagement programmes on architecture and the built environment. During this time, she completed a Master of Regional and Urban Planning at University College Dublin, to further inform her interest in how we shape our places.

Louise sits on an advisory group to Hackney Council and has a particular interest in design practices that empower and create opportunities for young people.

louise@theglasshouse.org.uk

Board of Trustees

The Glass-House Board of Trustees provide support and guidance to The Glass-House team and oversee the organisation’s strategic development.

They are:

Prue Chiles is an architect with a practice in Sheffield (Chiles, Evans+Care Architects – CE+CA) and is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Newcastle.

Prue has a long association with The Glass-House, as a collaborator on developing design training courses for communities, including ‘Buildings by Design’. Prue has worked extensively in neighbourhood and urban design, the design of schools, as well as in private commissions transforming people’s living environments, building houses and developing creative methods of participation and communication between clients, architects and builders.

Prue’s personal aim is to merge her research with practice with teaching: “in all my projects I try to use the skills of the design process to work with people and communities creatively and collaboratively, whether in community-led projects, council-funded research or in practice.”

Robert Johnson has over 30 years experience working in the Housing and Regeneration field and has led projects involving masterplanning, procurement, decanting and rehousing, housing management, governance issues, stock and land transfers, as well as resident empowerment and capacity building.

As Project Director in the Regeneration & Growth Department of Brent Council for many years, Robert dealt with all the major regeneration projects in the borough including South Kilburn, Stonebridge, Chalkhill and Church End.

Robert is now Business Development Manager for Brent Community Transport and Vice Chair of ARHAG, and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Housing.

Alex Sainsbury began working on non-profit art exhibitions in 1995, founding the arts charity Peer in 1997, the project gallery 38 Langham Street in 2001, before opening Raven Row, an exhibition centre for visual art in Spitalfields, London, in 2009, where he is the director.

Alex established the grant-making charity Glass-House Trust in 1993, initiating various projects, including A Space, a support service for young people in Hackney, Families Children and Childcare (FCCC), a longitudinal study of the effects of childcare on childrens’ development, The Glass-House Community Led Design, and MayDay Rooms, a safe house for vulnerable archives and historical material linked to social movements and experimental culture.

Jonathan is a dedicated Development Manager working in the heart of Citu Developments in Leeds. Underpinned by a successful education in architecture, Jonathan has developed a realistic vision for regeneration, design and innovative architecture and building projects providing, real projects in the real world for real people.

Jonathan’s methodology has been developed in the creative hands of a third sector based development trust which encouraged him to put in to practice original ideas, working with multidisciplinary projects and designs.

This unique role has qualified Jonathan to join Citu, a unique organisation which also shares a deep and boundless passion for provocative progression in business and project development with a prerequisite and hunger to integrate sophisticated and refined architecture throughout.

Glass-House Enablers

Glass-House Enablers are a multi-disciplinary group of creative professionals who support our work by providing independent specialist support and guidance to our projects. Enablers provide a spectrum of skills and expertise in architecture, landscape design, urban design, planning, art, heritage and engagement, and share a commitment to our mission.

Enabler spotlight:

Leo is an architect, university teacher and researcher who is currently director of the MArch course at the University of Sheffield, and co-director of Live Works, the first university-led urban room in the UK. Leo was a founding member of Bureau – Design +Research [BDR] set up in 2003, specialising in creative engagement strategies and visioning processes. Leo is also a member of a self-build co-housing project.

As a Glass-House Enabler, Leo has played an active role in the development and delivery of Glass-House Design Training, and has led on the production of their associated resource books. Leo is active in our Empowering Design Practices research project, linking groups to live student projects at the University of Sheffield.

Andrew is an architect and an Associate at John Thompson & Partners (JTP) with more than 15 years post qualification experience of residential and mixed use development in both the public and private sectors. Andrew has prepared Development Frameworks, Option Appraisals and Masterplans for the regeneration of a number of large local authority estates and their surrounding neighbourhoods, working in London; the Midlands, such as Sandwell Estates; The Liberties in Dublin; and several former mining communities in and around Doncaster such as Askern View and Frickley.

As a Glass-House Enabler, Andrew has helped The Glass-House deliver independent advice and training to various projects including Meriden Placemakers and Bacton Low Rise projects.

Sarah completed her architectural education at the University of Sheffield where she became motivated by social and environmental issues and the belief that good design and long-term thinking can have a positive impact on people’s lives. Sarah is an architect at Architype, a progressive and stimulating architecture practice, where she has worked on a series of school expansion projects in Hertfordshire, and a new Junior School for Highgate School. For the past 7 years, Sarah has also volunteered with Architecture Sans Frontieres-UK (ASF-UK), a charity which strives to make architecture relevant to the world’s majority – people who are marginalised or living in poverty.

In 2015, Sarah helped us to deliver support to the Community-led housing with London Community Neighbourhood Co-operative project.

Catherine is the Director of make:good, an architecture and design studio that engages with communities to create positive change in their neighbourhood. Catherine is one of our key champions and enablers of engaging children and young people in the design of their places and spaces.

Catherine has worked with The Glass-House on research and innovation, in the design and delivery of Design Training, and in support for children and young people engaged in placemaking projects in their area. Catherine was involved in our 2014 programme: White City Green: empowering young people through new development.

Liz is a freelance urban designer and associate of Rethinking Cities Ltd, a firm that provides advice to clients in public, private and charitable sectors. She has experience of neighbourhood planning and renewal, focusing on the public realm, parks, streets and communal areas of social housing estates. She has extensive experience of supporting communities through significant changes to their neighbourhoods and in developing policy and strategy to support inclusive placemaking.

Liz has worked with The Glass-House particularly around supporting community-led design thinking in rural communities such as Kirdford, where her enabling contributed to the development of the Village Design Statement and Community Led Plan.

Stephen is an architect with Wright & Wright with vast experience of schools and cultural projects, including King Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Geffrye Museum. He also teaches a second-year Design Studio at the University of Cambridge, from which he graduated with a first-class degree.

Stephen has worked with The Glass-House to develop and deliver research into community-led design of community buildings (see Making Buildings Work for your Community) and is collaborating with us on our five-year collaborative research project, Empowering Design Practices, led by the Open University.