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Mr Keith Bradley: oration

Read Professor Alexander Wright's oration on Mr Keith Bradley for the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in January 2017.


Deputy Vice-Chancellor, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you and the congregation, Mr Keith Bradley.

Keith studied architecture at the University of Bath from 1976 to 1983. He was one of an extremely talented cohort of students, who helped set the standard against which all our subsequent architecture graduates have been judged.

After graduating, Keith worked for Cambridge Design and for Nealon Tanner, before returning to Bath in 1987 to join The Feilden Clegg Design Partnership. His ability and achievements were recognised in 1997 when he became a senior partner and with the renaming of the practice as Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

Keith has led the practice in producing some of its finest architectural achievements. He was responsible, in 1991, for the Bridgemead elderly care hostel in Bath, which won the practice its first RIBA award. During the following 25 years, he has led many more award-winning design teams across a wide range of projects. These include Accordia, the housing scheme in Cambridge that won the 2008 RIBA Stirling Prize, the eUK’s foremost prize for architectural excellence.

Accordia was exceptional in many ways. It was the first time that this prestigious award had been won by a Housing scheme. It was the first time that it had been awarded to a consortium of three practices, following Keith’s decision that there would be a benefit in having more than one architectural “hand” involved in the design. Accordia set a new benchmark for private housing in the UK. It also established Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios as one of the leading housing and masterplanning architects in the country and accelerated the development of their international reputation.

Keith has gone on to lead the workload of his practice in other areas. Three buildings for Manchester Metropolitan University helped to transform their estate in central Manchester. These projects included the Manchester School of Art, which was short-listed for the Stirling Prize in 2014, and the MMU Business School & Teaching Building, which won the Prime Minister’s Award for Best Public Building in 2009.

In 2013, he co-authored a book on the practice’s approach to urban universities, Architecture: Education: Urbanism: Three University Buildings, which explored the synergies in the relationship of new universities to their host cities. In 2009 he co-authored the book, Dwelling and was one of the contributors to The FCBS Environmental Handbook, which was published in 2007.

Keith’s rising national and international reputation has resulted in him taking on roles where his incisive design commentary and creative approach to urban and architectural problem-solving could be employed more widely. He has served as a Chair of many design review panels for the Design Council and CABE. Keith has taught and lectured widely in the UK, including here at Bath, and abroad. In these situations and in his practice, he brings a unique brand of strong and sympathetic design leadership, constantly raising the level of debate about architecture.

Keith was largely responsible for the initiatives which led to the expansion of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and the opening of offices first in London, then in Belfast and Manchester. He is now senior partner to a 200-strong practice that retains the social and environmental values which he helped establish and provides an exemplar for highest standards in architecture and urbanism.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I present to you Mr Keith Bradley who is eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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