best uk city for architects

Looking for the best UK city for career and growth as a young architect? Start here

What Should a Young Architect Look for in a City? 

We’ve been offering architecture project management software to UK architects for years, and we strive to learn from our customers and their goals continually. 

Many young architects are relocating to other UK cities for better career opportunities, and in this post, we’ll give you the logic most of them use for their move.

If you’re a young architect looking for your ideal UK city to work in, there are several key aspects you should consider.

The best cities for architects need to offer a balance of career opportunities, professional community life, a rich cultural landscape, and an active property development market. City planning that encourages sustainability and growth is also an essential factor to consider. 

It’s up to you to set your priorities and act accordingly; what is ideal for other architects may not be suitable for you. Let’s go over some of the city evaluation factors that will help you decide on relocating within the UK.

Architecture career opportunities in UK cities

If you’re fresh out of college and eager for new challenges, or you want to make a change to a plateaued career, you need to look for a city with lots of projects, development potential, and clear architectural trends. An active local market will help you, no matter if you are looking for a job at a firm or plan to grow your own architectural business.

Starting off, London stands as an obvious choice for architects. London is known for its high concentration of world-renowned firms and groundbreaking projects. London has the highest number of architectural firms in the UK, and most young UK architects aim to move there for work. However, other cities can be equally as good for your career – and they are less saturated!

Birmingham offers an array of opportunities for fresh graduates with its rapidly growing construction scene, and the good part is the city’s strong focus on sustainable architecture.

Manchester’s regeneration projects make it a promising hub for young architects – there is a growing demand for architectural services in the city.

Bristol has the highest average salary for architects in the UK, according to, so if you want a raise, consider checking some companies there.

Let’s not forget Edinburgh. This city’s historic architecture, combined with an influx of new, innovative projects, creates a unique and stimulating work environment. Edinburgh has strong support for architectural heritage projects, and if you want to grow in that direction, the city is definitely a good pick for that.

Glasgow has a vibrant architectural community and numerous design events. 

Various communities in Glasgow feature an array of architectural events throughout the year. 

The annual Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival is a favourite, showcasing the city’s vibrant architectural heritage. The Glasgow Institute of Architects‘ Design Awards celebrates the best in architectural innovation, while the Glasgow Architecture Tours allow attendees to explore the city’s architectural gems, past and present. The Glasgow School of Art frequently hosts forums, exhibitions, and talks related to architecture. Lastly, the Merchant City Festival often includes architectural installations and exhibits, contributing to Glasgow’s appealing cultural scene.

Architectural inspiration

A wise architect absorbs inspiration from their surroundings. Consider towns with dynamic architectural landscapes – from centuries-old buildings to cutting-edge modern structures. Living in such a city can spur creativity and help you network with like-minded professionals.

UK cities offer a wealth of inspiration in this regard. With each city boasting a markedly unique architectural landscape, the opportunities for young architects to broaden their horizons are immense.

Eco-Friendly city planning

Sustainability and eco-friendly designs are becoming paramount. Cities that prioritize green spaces and sustainable building design in their urban planning initiatives align with these trends, offering you opportunities to take part in groundbreaking work. 

Among the cities in the UK, Bristol stands out as the city with the most eco-friendly city planning. Recognized as the European Green Capital in 2015, this city has made significant strides in environmental sustainability, from an ambitious tree planting scheme to substantial improvements in energy efficiency. Integrating green spaces within its urban planning initiatives makes Bristol a prime location for any budding architect interested in eco-friendly design.

There are plenty of other cities that share your green goals. Expanded beyond Bristol, more cities are leading the charge for a greener future. 

Nottingham, for instance, is making significant moves in sustainable city planning. With more solar panels than any other city in the UK and over half of its citizens commuting via eco-friendly methods, Nottingham truly is one of the leading cities in terms of environmental consciousness. 

According to a recent survey on Future Net Zero, a reputed sustainability platform, Nottingham ranks high in the UK for having the highest number of eco-friendly buildings. This show of commitment towards creating a sustainable future makes it an attractive place for architects looking to engage in innovative and environmentally conscious designs. 

Glasgow, too, is worth considering for sustainable architecture. With an ambitious plan to become one of Europe’s first circular cities by 2030, Glasgow heavily invests in green technologies and a comprehensive recycling system, perfect for innovative architects aiming to design sustainable cityscapes. 

Cardiff, another green gem, boasts abundant trees and parks, covering over 25% of the city’s land area. It’s a green haven perfect for an architect looking for a city that integrates nature into urban design.

Finally, don’t overlook Sheffield. Known as the greenest city in the UK, over 60% of its land area is green space, with more than 2 million trees. Now, isn’t that the perfect canvas for an environmentally conscious architecture business?

Naturally, London is one of the go-to UK cities for sustainable building design work. In London, you can find the iconic zero-emission building known as ‘The Edge‘ which speaks to the city’s dedication to reducing carbon emissions and providing sustainable solutions. The strength of London’s architectural scene in eco-friendly designs marks it as a city where you can not only learn about but also actively practice sustainable architecture.

Cultural scene 

Architecture does not exist in a vacuum. It interacts with culture, art, and history. Cities with a vibrant cultural scene offer a greater diversity in architectural designs and trends.

Remember, the best city for other architects may not be optimal for your needs. While the architecture software we make is a great universal tool no matter where you are, make sure to align your personal preference and passion with what the city offers. Happy hunting!