Clair Sanders, Director at JDDK.

North East-based architecture practice JDDK has appointed a new Director, as the company celebrates a successful year of growth and strong pipeline of projects upcoming in 2024.

Clair Sanders joins fellow Directors Nicky Watson, Mura Mullan and Adam Vaughan. Having been with the business for the last 17 years, Clair was the natural choice when a rare opening for a new Director came up.

Joining the practice in 2006, Clair began her career in architecture at JDDK, after graduating from Newcastle University. She has worked as an Associate Director before moving into her new position earlier this month.

Guiding the team to use their strength and adaptability to navigate shifting industry challenges and driving forward positive change will be focus areas for Clair, who brings cross-sector experience to the management team. During her time at JDDK, Clair has worked with businesses and organisations on projects across the healthcare, leisure, education and commercial industries, including working as a Project Architect for the new commercial premises at the Milkhope Centre for Blagdon Estates, as well as multiple refurbishment projects on leisure centres across Northumberland.


A former co-chair of RIBA North East’s Housing Group, Clair is especially passionate about the residential and social housing sectors – areas in which JDDK is very active. During her time at the practice, Clair has taken a leading role on several housing schemes for both the public and private sector and will continue to be one of JDDK’s lead architects in this area of work. Her recent work in this sector has included leading new build and conversion social housing projects for clients such as Your Homes Newcastle, Karbon Homes and South Tyneside Council.

As leading specialists in residential design, social housing and low-carbon design, JDDK has secured a number of significant project wins this year. The practice is currently working on various large scale residential, elderly care and regeneration schemes across the North East, designing for sustainable communities where affordability, security, quality of life and wellbeing are priorities.

The appointment of Clair as a Director comes as fellow Director, Kevin Turnbull, announces his retirement, following an impressive 31-year career at JDDK. Kevin joined the practice in 1992, five years after the business was founded, and has been a key part of JDDK’s evolution and success ever since.

In more recent years, Kevin has led the practice’s technical delivery, overseeing the cohesion of technology and other aspects of design across projects, which is an area that sets JDDK apart from other practices. Developing on this specialism further and creating opportunities for others in the team, the firm’s technical delivery will be led by four newly promoted team members, who are already in post ahead of Kevin leaving the business in December.

Commenting on her promotion, Clair said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed as a Director and having been with the business for such a long time, it means a lot to now have the chance to influence our future. I joined the practice as a graduate and the team has played an instrumental role in shaping my career. I’m looking forward to doing the same for the young talent we have coming into the business, and ultimately giving something back to the industry.”

Kevin added: “Making this announcement has prompted me to reflect on my career at JDDK and I’m proud to have played a part in taking the business to where it is today. Especially some of our collective achievements in more recent years, in particular leading the transfer of JDDK to an Employee-Owned Trust alongside my fellow Directors. It really is a special place to work and I feel very lucky to have been part of such a supportive and talented team, who have and continue to deliver exceptional development projects that impact peoples’ lives and leave a lasting legacy. I wish the team the best of luck for the future.”