Zakiya Umer

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


Zakiya joined Simon Toplis’ team in September 2016.

She has been involved in a variety of projects in the team including, bid submission for residential projects, concept and detail design for projects to be submitted for planning permission, as well as various modular construction projects. Her main involvement has been on the design and development of student accommodation at Holloway Road and Savoy Circus. She has also been involved in the design of Filwood Residential development in Bristol.

Zakiya has worked and studied in both Mumbai and London. She recently completed a Professional Studies Examination (RIBA 3) from the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

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 accommodations 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 accommodations. It proposed space standards and development plans for the formation of a small scale, ‘back yard’ industry that helped provide single person dwellings 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.  

Projects that Zakiya has worked on include:

  • Holloway Road – Modular Student Accommodation
  • RIBA Plan of Work Stages: 1-5.
  • Savoy Circus – Modular Student Accommodation
  • RIBA Plan of Work Stages: 4-5
  • Filwood Residential Development – Residential
  • RIBA Plan of Work Stages: 3

Zakiya is currently working on early stages of a modular residential development in Redbridge.

Contact Zakiya Umer
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