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13 Nov 2019

The UK’s rising stars in the commercial property sector have been recognised at the British Council for Offices’ (BCO) fourth annual NextGen Awards ceremony.

The Awards are part of the BCO’s NextGen programme, which sets out to mentor and encourage the next generation of professionals to become future leaders in the industry, whilst providing a platform for new talent to share ideas.


The ceremony, which took place at The Porter Tun, London, was attended by the country’s top designers, developers, architects and occupiers under the age of 35. It celebrated the achievements and successes of young professionals in the commercial property sector across the UK, and the leaders who have inspired them.


NextGen members also voted to choose the winner of the BCO NextGen Employer of the Year and for the first time this year, the BCO NextGen PropTech company of the Year.  The winners of the 2019 BCO NextGen Awards are:

Rising star London and South East: Paula Gonzalez, John Robertson Architects


John Robertson Architects’ Paula Gonzalez has made an outstanding contribution to both her firm and the wider industry, through her role as Chair of the City Property Association’s Next Gen and work with the Women in Property Group. The judges agreed her ability run two such enriching programmes while delivering outstanding project work in her day to day is remarkable. 


Rising star Scotland: Claire Ann Harkins, McLaughlin and Harvey Workspace


Claire’s fast ascension impressed the judges. In the past three years, she has been responsible for delivering Scottish Power into its new Glasgow HQ and supporting a Fortune 200 company transition to a more flexible working style. She also works tirelessly to support other talent in the industry through the BCO NextGen chapter and the Women in Property Group.


Rising star North: Simon Hill, DLG Architects LLP


Since joining DLG Architects as a Part II Architectural Assistant five years ago, Simon has qualified as an Architect, been promoted to Associate Director, delivered an award-winning workplace refurbishment for a Legal 500 company and become co-president of the Leeds Society of Architects, a branch of RIBA Yorkshire. The judges felt Simon’s progression is a testament to his creativity and rigour, making him a valuable member of the BCO NextGen community and worthy winner of the Rising Star award.


Rising star South West: Lowri Jeffs, Arup


Lowri has delivered some of the most prestigious office developments in Cardiff. The judges felt her collaborative attitude and inspiring leaderships skills shone through her nomination, from her day-to-day client work to her role as an active STEM ambassador.


Rising star Midlands: Roxana Botezatu, Gensler


It was clear to the judges that Roxana is a highly regarded and committed member of Gensler’s Birmingham office, with colleagues praising her thoughtful approach, engaging energy and commitment to go above and beyond client’s visions. The judges were impressed by Roxana’s can-do attitude and felt her passion for the built environment combined with this willingness to constantly challenge herself drives her to create spaces that consistently exceed the need of clients and end users alike.


Graduate of the Year: Bongai Muyambo, chapmanbdsp


As well as excelling in her role as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer, Bongai played a pivotal role in organising chapmanbdsp’s internal mental health awareness events. In addition, she has been a key voice in the firm’s work with Aston University, where she mentors the next generation of female engineers. Her colleagues praised her understanding of engineering and her passion for her work, a combination which the judges agree make her an excellent ambassador for the industry.


Inspirational Leader of the Year : Katrina Kostic Samen, KKS Savills


Former President of the BCO Katrina Kostic Samen was awarded Inspirational Leader of the Year. Her work driving awareness about representation and diversity in the industry has helped to deliver genuine change in the property world. This combined with her passion for design marked her out to the judges as an inspiration for the rising generation, a leader unafraid to challenge the status quo and combine disciplines to create work that goes above and beyond clients’ expectations.


NextGen's Employer of the Year: chapmanbdsp


Voted for by the BCO’s NextGen membership, the Employer of the Year award recognises organisations that have created a stimulating and supportive work environment that supports and nurtures young talent.  This year’s winner is chapmanbdsp.


NextGen's PropTech Company of the Year: Built-ID


The BCO is also proud to introduce a new category for this year’s awards, voted for by the NextGen membership. The PropTech Company of the Year award recognises the ever-growing presence of PropTech in the commercial real estate market and celebrates technology innovation in the industry over the past year. This year’s award was given to Built-ID.


Richard Kauntze, chief executive of the BCO, added: “The NextGen community continue to be a source of pride for us here at the BCO. The future of our industry is very much in their hands which is why we believe it’s so important to recognise and celebrate the impressive work they deliver for us day in, day out. Each of our winners has contributed to their region’s most impressive developments – My congratulations to you all, you should be very proud.”


Paul Patenall, President of the BCO, added: “It’s really exciting to me to see such a breadth of young talent across the country. Each and every one of our winners tonight is going above and beyond their day to day roles to enrich their own understanding of the sector, but also – crucially – to support and celebrate others around them. Many thanks to our judges, it is no easy task to select winners from such a strong selection of nominees. Congratulations all!” 


For more information about the awards and the winners this year visit the BCO NextGen website (



For further info please contact:

Imogen Sackey



British Council for Offices / Teneo



T +44 (0)20 7367 6023



Notes to editors:


The headline sponsor for this year’s BCO NextGen Awards is Multiplex.  Gold sponsor is Cushman & Wakefield. Silver sponsors are 21.Construction and Faithful+Gould. Bronze sponsors are Bluepoint technologies, Derwent London, Gleeds, Great Portland Estates and Grimshaw Architects.


OnOffice is the official media partner for the Awards.


About the BCO

The British Council for Offices (BCO) is the UK’s leading member organisation representing the interests of all those who occupy, design, build, own or manage offices in the UK. Since inception in 1990, the BCO has provided thought leadership and best practice in all issues related to the creation and use of office space – through to its research, awards, conference and events programmes.


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