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Grimshaw to speak at Here East this September

Kirsten Lees, Partner at Grimshaw - image courtesy Grimshaw

Future Cities Forum is delighted to welcome back Partner at Grimshaw Kirsten Lees to speak at 'Innovation Cities' this September - on a panel alongside the Infrastructure & Projects Authority, British Land and Liverpool City Council. Kirsten is currently Managing Partner of Grimshaw's new Paris studio.

With over 25 years' experience, she joined the practice in 1997, and has since led some of Grimshaw's most significant cultural, sports and master planning projects such as Arter Contemporary Art Museum →, the Wimbledon 2020 Master Plan → and No 1 Court, the Curragh Racecourse →, and Gilston Park Estate Master Plan →.

At Here East, she will be speaking about Grimshaw's work on the Waterloo Masterplan. Grimshaw has been commissioned by Lambeth Council and Network Rail to develop the Waterloo Station Masterplan in London. The plan will set the vision for the transformation of Waterloo station – the busiest transport hub in the UK – and the surrounding area. Supported by partners Network Rail, South Bank BID, South Bank Employers Group, We Are Waterloo BID, HB Reavis, Bourne Capital, SB Royal Holdings Ltd and LCR, the masterplan will develop a cohesive programme which will enhance the experience of the 100 million passengers that pass through the station each year, with the regeneration of the surrounding public realm benefitting the experience of work residents, local businesses, stakeholders, and the local community.

The rich commercial and cultural history of the area, and renewed connections to London’s Southbank, The Cut, Waterloo Road, Lower Marsh, and Leake Street will be incorporated into the masterplan. It will also support Lambeth Council’s commitment to a sustainable future for London and target of achieving Net Zero by 2030: providing new routes for walking and cycling alongside the enhancement of existing routes, the redevelopment will incentivise active travel, enhance road safety, and reduce reliance on motor vehicle journeys. Kirsten Lees said: “The Waterloo masterplan comes at a critical moment in the future of London. Infrastructure not only needs to connect people and communities economically and socially but also has a greater responsibility to create a more equitable, mobile and sustainable future. We are incredibly excited to work with Lambeth and Network Rail to bring this to the wider plans for Waterloo and transform the area into a truly civic hub.”

Lambeth Council leader Cllr Claire Holland said: “Waterloo Station is the gateway for millions of people on their commute or on the way to visit the world-famous attractions on the Southbank. Therefore, it’s vital that we use this opportunity to reshape how people travel through the area, making it safer and easier to get around while ensuring the changes reflect the needs of the local community, businesses, and visitors over the years to come.” Sir Peter Hendy, Network Rail’s chair, said: “Waterloo station is much more than a transport interchange. For nearly 175 years, it has played a vital role for the businesses and communities of the South Bank area, but we firmly believe it can play an even bigger role going forward. That’s why we’re looking for a plan with a clear vision and path to delivery, which we’re pleased to say this commission will provide. We look forward to working with Grimshaw and our partners on a masterplan that will deliver a world class station that supports the future success of the local area.”

Grimshaw is working with WSP, Gbolade Design Studio, Exterior Architecture, Hatch, Iceni, Turner & Townsend, and Savills to develop the Waterloo Station vision. Kirsten is also an experienced practice leader: she held the role of Managing Partner of Grimshaw’s London studio from 2018 to 2022 and now as Managing Partner of the Paris studio. Kirsten led the London practice through a period of significant growth as well as a global pandemic and worked to expand the previous project office in Paris into a full studio.

Kirsten’s role at the helm of both studios has seen drives to diversify the design work of the practice, as well as bring about equity in the workplace and industry. In support of this, Kirsten is a trustee of the Grimshaw Foundation, which aims to broaden the accessibility of architectural education to underrepresented groups, and is a founding member of Equilibrium Network, which works to achieve broader gender diversity within the industry.

Kirsten’s work has been acknowledged for its subtle response to place, the pre-eminence of the cultural agenda and its unique expressive and material qualities. She won Best Woman Architect at the 2022 WICE awards, receiving a special commendation as Most Distinguished Winner, and was shortlisted for BD Architectural Leader of the Year in 2020.


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