BLP ushers in new leadership era with Tara Veldman as managing director

Sep 17, 2020
  • Article by Tili Bensley-Nettheim

Australian architecture firm Billard Leece Partnership (BLP), has appointed 12 principals and 11 associates as its new leadership team. 

After 25 years of practice, BLP, a 130-strong team with offices in Melbourne and Sydney, is moving to a more inclusive model of ownership recognising performance and fostering diversity of talent. 

Following David Leece’s recent retirement from BLP, Tara Veldman’s appointment as managing director is part of the executive restructure developed by the Board. Veldman successfully established the Sydney office over 10 years ago and has built the studio to 70 staff with a range of health, schools and tertiary projects.

Veldman says she will continue to foster the evidence-led, user-focused design strategy employed successfully by the practice for the past 25 years. The current pandemic underlines the importance of the social impact of health and wellbeing in the built environment. 

“The significant projects BLP is working on will shape the future of social infrastructure in Australia and overseas,” says Veldman. 

“We design for a healthy world. We are focused on re-envisaging hospitals, health hubs, education precincts, high tech research labs, residential communities and continuing to pioneer new ways of working.” 

“Our objective is to build healthier communities, which means designing for the entire community by creating well-considered environments for the more vulnerable: developing playful healing and learning opportunities for children; providing safe, non-stigmatized spaces for people with mental health issues; stimulating secure centres for seniors and their families,” Veldman explains. 

The new team of principals includes Ron Billard, Tara Veldman, Mark Mitchell, Adam Muggleton, Tonya Hinde, Emily Gilfillan, Raj Senanayake, Ken Tsen, Matthew Hughes, Paul Longridge, Ariel Lopez, and Shane Wood. 

Adam Muggleton has been newly appointed as a company director, joining Billard, Veldman and Mitchell on the board, with non-executive directors, Tim Shannon and David Tregoning. 

“I’m delighted to lead this talented team at this challenging moment in history, continuing the legacy of design led by Ron and David for more than two decades,” says Veldman. 

“Our business has a proven ability to deliver complex and large-scale projects with an inherent humanity, that’s greatly appreciated by our government clients. The BLP design team has worked with the principles of design research, design thinking and co-design methodologies for decades, putting the user at the heart of the design process, being empathetic to their needs.”

BLP is a leading architecture firm in Australia working nation-wide and internationally. In recent years BLP has delivered many award-winning complex projects, valued up to $2 billion. Significant sites include the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne; Orygen – The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health in Parkville, VIC; the University of Melbourne’s Werribee Campus Redevelopment; and the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital.

BLP’s collaboration with Bates Smart for the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne took out the top prize at the 2012 IDEA. Check out the full list of overall project winners from IDEA’s 17-year history.

Lead photo: BLP managing director Tara Veldman. Courtesy of BLP.

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