About us

Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) is an expert consultancy specialising in achieving outstanding design for clients who are commissioning new buildings or refurbishing and conserving existing ones. We believe in the power of design to create new perceptions and act as an inspiration.

MRC is the leading independent organiser of design competitions based in the UK. We have over twenty years’ experience running international open design competitions, as well as private invited competitions. Our international portfolio includes those for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Culture & Education Quarter, Mumbai City Museum, Guggenheim Helsinki, Glasgow School of Art and the Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow. MRC’s competitions have brought emerging designers to world attention over the past decade, including Thomas Heatherwick, Amanda Levete and Steven Holl.

We also offer a range of other services, notably, brief-writing, critical to the success of a project, and client representation. The latter encompasses advice on pre-project strategy, governance and helping clients manage the highly-complex teams now required for world-class projects.

MRC has been privileged to help organisations as diverse and high-profile as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Arts South Australia, New College, Oxford, Qatari Diar, the Cadogan Estate, the Royal College of Art, the Natural History Museum, White Cube, Qatar Museums, the National Media Museum, NATO, the Duchy of Lancaster and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Malcolm Reading, MRC’s Founder and Chairman, trained as an architect and moved from designing to commissioning designers with his appointment as Director of Design at the British Council in the early nineties. He started MRC in 1996. Malcolm joined the Sovereign Grant Audit Committee in June 2015. Previously, he was a trustee of English Heritage (2015–19) and Edinburgh World Heritage (2012–15) and was on the board of Historic Royal Palaces for an unprecedented three terms (2005–14). He remains chairman of the UNESCO Tower of London World Heritage Site Consultative Committee, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

He was a judge for World Architecture News’ Education Award (2015) and 21 for 21 Award (for talent-spotting emerging architects), the AIA (American Institute of Architects) UK Excellence in Design Award, and the Prix W architectural prize.

He is supported by an energetic, professional team with varied backgrounds in architecture, urban design, graphic design, web design and journalism; and with both commercial and public sector experience.