Zakiya Umer

Architectural Assistant, Part II

BSc (RIBA I), Prof. Dip (RIBA II), MA

Zakiya joined Simon Toplis’ team in September 2016 as a Part 2 Architectural Assistant.

Since joining HTA, Zakiya has worked on a number of large and medium scale bid submissions which involved residential, commercial, retail and recreational uses. She has worked on a variety of projects across multiple RIBA stages. Her main contribution has been towards the Filwood Residential development in Bristol which received planning permission in May 2016. 

Zakiya has worked and studied in both Mumbai and London. She studied Professional Diploma in Architecture (RIBA II) and MA in Spatial Planning and Urban Design at London Metropolitan University. Prior to this she studied architecture at Rizvi College of Architecture in Mumbai before moving to London and completing BSc in Architecture (RIBA I) at University of East London.

During her studies in the UK, she developed a keen interest in the development of housing in London. She wrote her MA thesis on The housing space standards in the UK and whether they are set to improve quality of life in new residential developments. The thesis looked into the condition of housing from before WW1 up to the present day and the subsequent introduction of space standards over the past century.

In her conclusion Zakiya asserted the importance of post-occupancy evaluation, community consultation and consideration of the changing demographics in our cities. She further extended her thesis by writing an essay on Modern day slums in London. The topic explored illegal and sub-standard accommodation provided in flimsy and unhygienic sheds built in the back gardens of properties in parts of London. The essay suggested the involvement of design and planning professionals to eradicate exploitation led by such accommodation. It proposed space standards and development plans for the formation of a small scale, ‘back yard’ industry that helped provide single person dwelling and workshops at subsidised rates. 

While studying, Zakiya worked for a small architectural practice in Walthamstow and later at a design and build practice in Islington.  She has worked on conceptual design, planning and detail design stages of a number of small scale residential projects across London.  

She has worked on the detailed design stage for Savoy Circus, a modular student accommodation building in East Acton.

She is now working on a similar project next to Holloway Road Station.