Blog: G4C Future Leader SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Tara Gbolade (Gbolade Design Studio)

09 June 2020

sponsored by Innovative Future Leaders Programme (IFLP)

G4C Future Leader SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Tara Gbolade (Gbolade Design Studio)

Tara is director and co-owner of Gbolade Design Studio - the practice that designed the r-Home - incorporating innovation in technology, sustainability aspirations, and quality construction approach.

Her technical expertise as a certified Passivhaus consultant played a role in ensuring the sustainability aspects of the design met high standards, without compromising on design aesthetic and ambition. Tara found innovative solutions, creating an adaptable product, both adaptable in terms of a single home (additional bedroom and external cladding, thereby future-proofing), and well as adaptability on a larger-scale in terms of creating a standardised product that could morph to a semi-detached and terraced product. 

r-Home: The Garden Courtyard Home – key principles

  • Environmental sustainability: Passivhaus standard producing comfort
  • Social sustainability: Internal courtyard garden space providing occupant social connectivity
  • Economic sustainability: Low annual low-running costs reducing fuel-poverty, and income-generating potential through the use of solar PV cells and battery storage
  • High-quality performance: offsite-manufactured with simple Cross Laminated Timber
  • Future-proofing: internal & external adaptability, and configuration from single home to semi-detached and terrace arrangements


Tara sits on the panel of the LB Lambeth DRP where she advises on major applications; offering independent, impartial, constructive and objective expert advice to development proposals; playing a role as an accountability partner by working for the benefit of the local community.

Tara works in the Placeshaping team, leading the sustainability strategy, setting the environmental, social, and economic direction, for the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town (HGGT) – a newly designated Garden Town consisting of 5 Local Authority Partners, including Hertfordshire CC, Essex CC, Epping Forest DC, East Herts DC, and Harlow Council. The Garden Town will bring forward 23,000 new homes over the next 20+ years’ and Tara creates the ‘Sustainability Guidance and Checklist’ that sets the high expectation for environmental, and socio-economic (social value) sustainability, ensuring that placemaking is embedded in the process of new development. This key guidance will be adopted as a material consideration in the planning process, acting in two ways: i) as a document for applicants to adhere to and submit applications against, and, ii) as a document used by planning case officers to assess applications against.

The Paradigm Network

Also, after noticing a distinct lack of diversity (gender and BAME representation) in Architecture, Tara sought to change the narrative. 40% of Londoners are from a BAME background, yet only 1.2% of the built environment is reflective of this number. Tara set up Paradigm as a professional network for all architects who champion BAME representation within the Built Environment. Since its inception, Paradigm has grown rapidly and offers excellent support to the architectural community; supporting talented architects in education, leadership, and as they progress in their careers.

The MyPart3 App

Tara helps architecture students navigate the transition between studying in university and life in practice by co-creating and launching the ‘MyPart3 App’. This is an iOS app designed to give students high-level information on how to ‘Run a Project’ and ‘Run a Practice’, featuring a ‘Resources’ section which includes architecture podcasts and design standards.

For manufacturers and suppliers, the app allows over 2,000 Architects to connect directly with them; giving the opportunity to book CPDs, specify products, and easily engage with them. This allows manufacturers and suppliers to gain brand awareness, market growth and competitive advantage. They have already partnered with companies like Ibstock Brick, Graphisoft and Forticrete, and many more in the pipeline. This award-winning app is the first of its kind in the industry. As a result of its’ success, Tara is now creating the android version of this app.


  • The r-Home sustainable offsite house was shortlisted in the Sunday Times: British Home Awards Peoples Choice:
  • The MyPart3 app is the first architecture app of its kind in the industry and is award-winning:
  • Tara leads the Sustainability work being undertaken at the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town, ensuring new developments embed high-levels of environmental, social, and economic sustainability to produce exemplar developments:

About the G4C Future Leader Award: 

G4C is a driving force for industry change, through the development and connection of future industry leaders. The award is open to a person with less than ten years of experience in the construction and built environment sector (typically less than 35 years of age). Judges are looking for the person that best demonstrates a positive impact on their peers, their organisation and the wider industry, against current G4C priority areas of people development, sustainability and innovation.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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