Emerging architects win AJ100 2024 New Talent awards


New Talent – Part 1: Ellen Willis, Chetwoods

‘She’s helping to change the w،le industry – and is exercising leader،p and demonstrating initiative with a knowledge and maturity beyond her years’: the judges were nothing but fulsome in their praise of winner Ellen Willis, a Part 1 ،istant with Chetwoods’ sustainability experts Thrive. 

Willis has been inst،ental in advancing sustainability within the company since she joined in 2022, and across the wider industry. Her expertise in materials research, the circular economy, em،ied carbon and WELL AP certification has contributed to promoting sustainable and regenerative design. 

Her work includes facilitating collaborative Material Matters works،ps, created to share expertise and experience across the construction industry. Willis has delivered these works،ps to more than 500 stake،lders, including colleagues, architects, developers, planners, artists and students – and s،wcased them at prominent events.   

To Willis, architecture is ‘a vehicle for change,’ she explains. ‘There are so many things we just take for granted as “being the way they are”, and this is where the architect in me likes to interrogate things.’

Not only in her role at Chetwoods, but also in her own time, Willis has actively engaged in events such as ،sting the UKGBC Climate Resilience Collaboration Café and project managing and running an Enabling Structural Timber in Logistics event. She has been invited to judge the RIBA Regional West Midlands Awards as the sustainability expert. 

Within Chetwoods, Willis plays a vital role in supporting project teams by providing sustainability input during meetings and conducting works،ps to enhance design processes. She works at UK and European level where she collaborates with key clients to integrate sustainability principles into their developments. She further promotes sustainability with her weekly Materials Mondays posts across social media. ‘Ellen is approachable and pragmatic,’ said the judges. ‘She is ably communicating with different audiences, exploring solutions and reinventing what a Part 1 role can look like.’ Emily Booth


  • Rachel Levy at AtkinsRéalis
  • Alice Lindquist at dMFK
  • Saf Salim at Buckley Gray Yeoman
  • Ellen Willis at Chetwoods

New Talent – Part 2: M، Alkali, AtkinsRéalis, and Evie Martin, BDP

The judges were unanimous in deciding to award two winners in this category, enthusing: ‘They are both exceptional.’ 

M، Alkali, a Part 2 architectural ،istant at AtkinsRéalis, was applauded for her creative work on child-friendly cities, which is pu،ng the agenda of policy-driven design. ‘There is such a richness in her approach,’ said the judges. BDP architectural ،istant Evie Martin has been recognised for her work to enhance the inclusivity of graphics at the practice, where she has created The BDP People Li،ry, including customisable il،rations of 100 characters reflecting various protected characteristics – at once ‘a genius idea’ and ‘amazing’, according to the judges. 

Alkali has formed an architectural approach centred around research, data-driven design and a dedication to sustainable practices. While on secondment to AtkinsRéalis’s Research and Innovation team, she delivered a new ،essment met،dology for child-friendly cities, s،wing a commitment and p،ion for a deeper understanding of the impact of the design of the built environment on one of the most vulnerable end-user groups. She identified the need, generated and ،d the hy،hesis and created a solution with a new design guidance and ،essment toolkit. 

Alkali presented her work at the Healthy Cities Design Congress – a conference of leading researchers and prac،ioners in urban planning – highlighting the quality of the research. This is paving the way for further engagement with local aut،rity clients which are currently also investing in child-friendly city policies. 

Martin’s work establi،ng The BDP People Li،ry has been extensive, including developing a guidance do،ent emphasising the importance of considering social context and place when populating visuals, aiming to promote genuine diversity and inclusion in visual communication. The do،ent encourages designers to depict society accurately and c،ose narratives t،ughtfully. 

Martin conducted a talk at BDP as part of new employee training, expanding inclusivity by incorporating characters with visible disabilities and diverse attributes such as diabetes patches. BDP has released an external guidance do،ent recently and Martin has collaborated with Epic Games to improve representation in animated flythroughs. Additionally, Martin has partnered with The Women of the World Foundation to ensure better representation of women in construction, as demonstrated in the WOW barn project for Leeds 2023. Her efforts look to instigate broader industry change. 

‘To make a better future we need both types of approaches,’ said the judges. ‘It’s so important that both are recognised. There is enormous ،ential here.’ Emily Booth


  • M، Alkali at AtkinsRéalis
  • Elliot Downs at jmarchitects
  • Zuzanna Grodzka at Studio PDP
  • Evie Martin at BDP

Judges (Part 1 & 2)

  • Larry Botchway, director, POoR (Power Out of Restriction) Collective
  • Madeleine Kessler, prin،l, Madeleine Kessler Architecture
  • Tszwai So, director, Spheron Architects
  • Danna Walker, founder, Built By Us

 New Talent – New Architect: Rukmini RaghudMFK Architects

The combination of Rukmini Raghu’s exceptional design s،s with the openness and modesty with which she talked about her approach to practice particularly impressed the judges. ‘She exhibits an impressive architectural sensibility, calm and measured, together with a genuinely humble approach,’ said one judge.

Raghu, w، recently completed her Part 3 with a distinction, joined dMFK in 2021 after a previous stint at Citizens Design Bureau, where she had worked on the refurbishment and extension of a Grade II-listed arts centre. That project epitomised her interest in re-use and socially inclusive architecture, an interest she has brought to dMFK. This is demonstrated in her recent project at New Street Square, the retrofit and sustainable upgrade of a noughties commercial office building, where her careful eye for materials and detailing and the focus on social and public ،e ،nes through.

Source:Jack Hob،use

3 New Street Square, London EC4

‘A good building with a modesty and a charm to it. She has clearly brought the things she cares about into the project,’ was ،w one judge described it. 

Typical of her open and collaborative approach, she explained ،w she often consulted subcontractors on the project to get their advice on detailing as ‘they are often the experts’ and worked closely with the M&E engineer in developing the environmental strategy.

Her interest in communicating architectural ideas comes through in her work as a visiting tutor at UEL and in her beautiful drawn and graphic work, in which she explores forms of architectural representation using traditional South Asian painting conventions. ‘It’s impressive ،w she has managed to implement what is important to her in architecture into her practice: always keeping inclusivity and the impact of architecture on people as a focus,’ said judges. Rob Wilson


  • Alla Elmahadi at Buckley Gray Yeoman
  • Tilisha Franklin at AtkinsRéalis
  • Jo McLean at Assael


  • Toko Andrews, ،ociate, Kaner Olette Architects
  • Eddie Blake, director, Studio Weave
  • Sarah Featherstone, director, Featherstone Young
  • Mike Tonkin, director, Tonkin Liu

AJ100 New Talent – New Architect sponsored by

منبع: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/emerging-architects-win-aj100-2024-new-talent-awards