A new look for the Auckland Design Office


Design Champion Ludo Campbell-Reid


“There’s a growing recognition of the value of design in Auckland”  exclaims Ludo Campbell Reid, Council’s Design Champion and General Manager of the newly emerging design department within Auckland Council.  

“In the past few months we’ve been reflecting upon how our design services  can better support the ambitions of the private sector, the council and the public, although we still need to talk more with industry design leaders to better understand their insights on our future potential and how we might best add value”

The last 12 months has seen the re-structure of the Built Environment Unit (BEU) into a department, and its renaming as the Auckland Design Office (ADO) – council’s centre of urban design excellence.

Following the historic amalgamation in 2010 the BEU grew to around 30 full time staff. This was in direct response to the uplift in development activity and the growing demands from across the council for design expertise in design review, design enabling of council led projects, and the development of design strategy and policy within the statutory planning system.

The re-positioning of design as a department within Council reflects a growing recognition of the value that design brings to the public and the delivery of our key services. Interestingly this also echoes the creation of similar teams in the world’s leading cities, such as Design for London, the Los Angeles Design Studio, New York’s Office for Design &  Construction, and the State Government Architect’s Offices across Australia.

The new-look department has now consolidated council’s design services into 3 distinct areas;  City-Centre Design, Regional Design and  Design review.    “We have been listening to the private sector, our colleagues and our partners around clarifying our role in the growth of the city, and believe these 3 units are self-explanatory in defining what we do” says Ludo.

  • Tim Watts leads the City Centre Design & Delivery Unit , co-located within the City Centre Integration Unit , implementing the City Centre Masterplan 2012. The team provides enabling services across every stage of the development process for the city centre projects, including project scoping, briefing,  enabling, , project delivery and activation.
  • Hayley Fitchett leads the Regional Unit , supporting design excellence across the region, and including leadership of the Auckland Design Manual (ADM) and management of the Auckland Urban Design Panel (AUDP) programme.
  • Omar Barragan leads the Design Review Unit (in an acting capacity) providing formal design review services, and input into resource consenting throughout the region.

Strengthening the team

Going forward the ADO is now well placed to manage the design systems for the city, and provide a centre of excellence for the continual improvement of design practice across the council family and its community of practice.

This ambition is reflected in the recent recruitment for Universal Design and Safety by Design positions, which have both been co-developed with other council teams to support a more integrated approach to design.  The ADO is also working with Mana Whenua to craft a new role to champion  Māori design  and Te Aranga principles in the development of our city.

For full details of the current positions currently being recruited please visit; https://careers.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/search?search=cvid-peL3j

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