Smith Mordak has taken up the position of Chief Executive at UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) with a commitment to driving sustained impact toward a net zero, climate resilient and regenerative built environment, at a critical time for the UK.  

Only last week, the UK Government came under fire from the CCC, who highlighted how little progress had been made over the last year, and how urgent action is needed in areas inherent to a sustainable built environment.   

Smith, formerly Director of Sustainability and Physics at Buro Happold, is an award-winning architect, engineer, curator, and writer, takes over the helm at UKGBC from Julie Hirigoyen. 

I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the amazing team, trustees, and membership at UKGBC. I’m looking forward to building on the charity’s extraordinary body of work and Julie’s inimitable legacy. We live in existentially challenging times. Our actions over the next few years will have an outsized impact on the Earth’s ecosystems and on many generations to come.  

As the latest CCC report highlights yet again, we need huge and incisive change if we’re to avert the worst impacts of climate change, while adapting to the damage already locked in. Simultaneously, we must come together, to collaborate radically and deeply, and imagine and implement  innovative ways of thinking and working to resolve the challenges ahead. Only through breaking down silos, setting aside competitiveness that isn’t serving, can we bring about shifts to the overall system.  

This is why I’m honoured that I’ll be playing my part in this crucial period as part of this powerful, change-making network.”

Smith Mordak, Chief Executive of UKGBC

I delighted to welcome Smith Mordak as the new Chief Executive of UKGBC. They are an exceptional architect-engineer-writer working across disciplines to realise a regenerative built environment.

Smith combines a deep, science based and systemic understanding of the climate emergency with a clear sighted, principled and pragmatic approach for what needs to be done in response. From founding an innovative, award-winning design practice to helping major international consultancy, Buro Happold, Smith has consistently shown imagination and determination in achieving change. Along the way they have been active in significant industry initiatives to achieve an equitable and lasting transformation of the built environment to a sustainable and regenerative model.  

We look forward to their leadership of the team in this critical period, and their stewardship over the delivery of UKGBC’s 2025 Strategy; collaborating, convening, and co-creating with a diverse range of members and stakeholders, as together we build the net zero, climate resilient and regenerative built environment so urgently needed.” 

Sunand Prasad, UKGBC Chair of Trustees

Most recently as Director of Sustainability and Physics at Buro Happold, Smith worked with a broad range of built environment organisations from asset managers to international NGOs to develop and implement strategies for the transition to a healthy, sustainable, and fair built environment. These included the C40 network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. They have been a driving force behind numerous industry initiatives, including as Board Member for the Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy and The Architecture Foundation, and as a nationally elected Councillor at RIBA. Smith has written, broadcast and podcast widely through national as well as professional channels, including Dezeen, the Architects’ Journal and The Guardian and is regarded as a thought leader in the field 

Smith was appointed following a rigorous six-month search by the Board of Trustees to find a candidate that combined deep technical expertise and first-hand insights with fresh ideas and vision for UKGBC’s future. Flanked by Simon McWhirter as their Deputy CEO, and an outstanding group of Directors, colleagues and Trustees, Smith will be setting out details of their leadership priorities and focus for the coming years in due course.