“We need to decarbonise. Now is the time to make a real difference.”
Director Kelly Harrison is a dynamic leader in the industry’s move to sustainable construction and a member of the Whitby Wood management team. She is excels in the design of timber and hybrid structures, refurbishment and retro-fitting, adaptations, extensions and basements, and working in heritage contexts.
Kelly’s skills in fostering strong team and client relationships underpin her 15 years’ experience in successfully developing detailed design for projects in the residential, commercial, education and cultural sectors — from large-scale housing projects and industrial building conversions to special structures such as staircases and private residences. Before joining Whitby Wood in 2020, she expanded her timber design capabilities by taking a key role in project-led timber research, following through with in-house knowledge sharing.
Notable current projects include Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation at the University of Arkansas, USA, showcasing mass timber construction; the Escapade Silverstone residential development at Silverstone racing circuit, UK, featuring cantilevered steel frames, and Human Nature’s Phoenix development of 750 low-carbon homes in Lewes, UK. She also led the feasibility assessment team for a large office building refurbishment project in Milan, Italy.
London projects include the expansion of the Old Gramophone Works in Kensal Rise, transformed from a three-storey factory to a six-storey commercial building using a glulam/CLT frame; Grade II listed building work in Bedford Street involving the commercial refurbishment/vertical extension of 1950s building, with Buckley Grey Yeoman Architects; 10-storey atrium glulam/CLT infills at East India Dock, and StairStalk at Hide restaurant on Piccadilly.
Kelly is a Member of the Board of Timber Development UK (TDUK, formerly TRADA) and sits on the editorial advisory committee of New Steel Construction magazine. She promotes engineering at industry events, speaks at conferences and symposia, judges technical, structural and architectural competitions, and contributes to university activities including tutoring at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and lecturing at the Universities of Arkansas, Liverpool and Newcastle.
In 2020, she was named in the Top 50 Women in Engineering: Sustainability list by the Women’s Engineering Society. In 2021, she joined New London Architecture’s Expert Panel on Work, investigating the future of the office and implications for workers. She is currently partnering with UK FIRES and University of Bath for a PhD focused on minimising the carbon footprint of refurbishing existing buildings.
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