North West Design Collective

Our practice began with a motivation and desire to be authentic. We constantly celebrate our femininity and northernness. Our collective seeks to challenge the conventional idea of what an architect is, or should be, and rethink how a practice can operate in our increasingly complex society.


We want to work with clients who want to work with us and give them something they could not have envisaged for themselves.

Jill Cowgill 


Leaving school at 16, in the mid eighties, jobs were scarce and permanent jobs in Blackpool almost non existent. This meant Jill’s first experience of working life was on a Youth Training Scheme, a now defunct, much derided programme. Her placement was within a small architectural design company and along with the following few years of day release studying Construction, on a very male orientated course, it ultimately led Jill to study and achieve a first class honours degree in Architecture at Manchester’s prestigious School of Architecture.

Jill’s post graduate qualifications made it so she could join the RIBA and she began working in Preston at Francis Roberts Architects. She has been Lead Architect on many projects with a number of North West studios including Ivan Wilson Architects in Clitheroe. Her portfolio ranges from very small extensions to new housing for the Duchy of Lancaster, renowned Pugin churches, the facade and interior of Blackpool Tower, to Georgian house restoration in Cumbria, and everything in between. 

Jill decided to go it alone in 2019 and established NWDC, a studio which seeks to continue the use of redundant and historic buildings, exploring the interface of new design with old craft techniques. The ethos at NWDC is one of inclusion; one that seeks to make good design affordable and accessible to all. This philosophy somewhat reflects Jill’s own humble beginnings and her ambition to make design important and achievable for everyone.

She became an Architect Accredited in Building Conservation in 2014 and an RIBA Conservation Architect in 2018. She is on the approved list of accredited inspecting architects for Blackburn and Carlisle Diocese and works with the Anglican Church, Catholic Church and The Quakers. 

Sally Lofthouse


Recently qualified, Sally studied for an undergraduate Engineering Masters at the University of Nottingham, before returning to study at the Manchester School of Architecture for her Architecture Masters. Here she was exposed to a feminist architectural pedagogy which altered her outlook on inclusive technologies, narrative and equity within the built environment. Coupled with her passion for sustainable regeneration and re-use, she brings a human-centric approach and methodology to architecture and design. She completed her Part III with at RIBA NW, becoming qualified in 2023.

Sally helps lead SHOP Preston and is passionate about curating a programme of inspiring events and workshops for the community. Sally has been a guest tutor at the Grenfell-Baines Institute of Architecture at UCLan since 2022 and continues to be inspired being back in an academic setting.

On a personal level, she is currently renovating an Edwardian house, reviving the historic features whilst upgrading it to be a comfortable home.