We are architecture

Darren Southgate

Now a Founding Director of Southgate & Sarabia Architects, Darren has 25 years of professional experience. A former Main Board Equity Director of a UK top 50 architectural practice, Darren was responsible for UK-wide business development, architectural design authoring and leadership of his studio teams to deliver award-winning projects. Practiced in the delivery of all RIBA stages, Darren’s projects range from billion pound masterplans for Universities and Developers to bespoke facilities for researchers and industrialists alike, strong in strategic thinking and planning through to detailed project execution.

In his early career, PFI hospitals, prisons, schools, offices and residential, set his interest in cross sector knowledge transfer. For example, modern offices or industrial design informed new healthcare projects with faster forms of construction, whilst looking at new ways of appreciating healthcare architecture as ‘spiritually uplifting’, through the use of colour and texture, not readily seen before. Pioneering exploration has been at the heart of Darren’s work through both private and public commissions.

Striving for right first time and managing positively in to a team with co-creation at the centre of good design and practice, Darren’s studio teams felt engaged and empowered to take ownership and add value to projects under his leadership. This trust and team spirit led to many repeat commissions with one client continuously commissioning for over twelve years, creating two world class campuses. Spinouts from these campuses led to international commissions and competitions in Asia and North America. These successes are not by accident, but genuine hard work, competitive spirit and creative thinking, striving to be different and supporting clients on their journeys over many years.

Core skills
  • Directorship and leadership
  • Mentoring and teaching
  • Masterplanning and regeneration
  • Architectural design authoring
  • Project management and delivery expertise

Natalie Sarabia-Johnston

As a Founding Director of Southgate & Sarabia Architects, Natalie has worked for over 28 years in the design and construction industry, with extensive experience including award winning further and higher education projects, schools, leisure, care homes, extra care, healthcare, commercial offices, residential, retail and mixed use developments, as well as conservation, listed building, regeneration and masterplanning.

A former director of her own architectural consultancy practice, Architecture ID, for the past 6 years Natalie has worked on a consultancy basis, working with small architectural practices to help develop and grow them into successful commercial businesses, helping to win and deliver large complex projects.  Through business planning, networking, introducing process and robust management, Natalie has helped to totally change how the practices were run and delivered their services.

Natalie has worked for various sized architectural practices as a Chartered Architect and has gained great experience in different types of projects from new build University buildings to masterplanning and small town regeneration strategies, where she has been responsible for multi-discipline design teams.

She has managed many frameworks from local authorities to universities; key roles have included design champion, business development, marketing, brand awareness, digital media, managing a team, key account management, stakeholder management and managing change.

Natalie is passionate about design, regeneration and sustainability and loves nothing more than working with her clients to help deliver their vision and aspirations. Natalie has been a part time design tutor and professional examiner at both Leeds Beckett and Huddersfield universities and enjoys mentoring and coaching graduates to give them the best start to becoming an architect.

Core skills
  • Regeneration and masterplanning
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Problem solving
  • Heritage and conservation
  • Project design and delivery
  • Sustainability


This is what we do.


What’s going on in our world.


Open for business February.

Exciting times for Darren and Natalie as we register Southgate & Sarabia Architects Ltd and open our doors for business.

MIPIM 2019 : March 12 - 15

Looking forward to mixing in Cannes. Hope we see you there.

They love us.

Darren and his team always strive to understand the key parts of the clients business so they can advise on innovative solutions to design challenges.

Mark Grayson

Director, Faithful & Gould

Darren's knowledge of the market and extent of contacts is enviable and he is always one of my first ports of call if I need an architect.

John Gittins

Divisional Director, Interserve Construction

Securing work through competition and under Darren's leadership partnered the University in delivering some of the best manufacturing architecture in the World. Darren has played a big part in delivering our vision.

Keith Lilley

Director of Estates, The University of Sheffield

I have worked with Natalie and Darren for over 10 years on a diverse portfolio of projects. Every challenge is taken on and overcome in a professional manner.

Gareth Smith

Development Director, Step Places

Within a very short time, she demonstrated successfully her leadership qualities in helping schools through the many unknowns of a complex process quite alien to their day jobs.

Iain Bentham

Senior Manager, Capital Planning, North Tyneside Council

The combination of Natalie's technical expertise and skills and the ability through your personality to relate to a diverse audience of stakeholders is (in my 30 year experience of the industry) a rare attribute in the architectural profession

Steve Ball

Faithfull and Gould, North Tyneside, BSF Project Manager

As Project Manager and Employer’s Agent, I very much enjoyed working with Natalie and much valued her dedication and commitment which was instrumental to the success of the project.

David Herford

Gardiner and Theobald, Project Manager, Northumbria University

What a fantastic volunteer! Above all Darren really listened to our ideas, contributed and guided us in a way that felt easy and pragmatic.

Zoe Colbeck

General Manager, National Trust
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