Troubled architect Will Alsop was hit by another blow this week when a second key director quit to set up his own practice.
A second director has quit Alsop Architects a week after the practice was forced to go into receivership, selling 40% of the practice to London venture capitalist R Capital. R Capital provided an unspecified cash injection to keep the firm running.
Christophe Egret departed to set up his own firm immediately after the news was announced. Now David West, the head of masterplanning and urban design at Alsop & Partners, has left to do the same.
Although West did not sit on the board, he was one of Alsop’s more recognisable faces.
His work included some of Alsop’s more attention-grabbing schemes, such as a plan to turn the Yorkshire town of Barnsley into a “Tuscan hill fort” and the plan to create a huge urban lake in the centre of Bradford.
When West left he was working on Alsop’s big masterplan for Middlehaven in the Tees Valley and on a submission for a competition to regenerate the centre of Salford in Manchester. The responsibility for Alsop’s big masterplanning projects has been handed to project architect Rupert Goddard.
West, who had been at the firm for four years, said he had been planning to set up on his own for a year but had been prompted to make a clean break by the restructuring.
He said: “I turned 30 two months ago and it was a defining moment when I decided what I wanted to do. I’ve been at Alsop’s for four years and I had to decide whether I was 100% in or out.”
West aims to set up a firm with a fellow architect and to work on architecture and urban design schemes.
Alsop Architects hit a high point of 120 staff last year but was forced to make redundancies because of setbacks such as the cancellation of the Fourth Grace in Liverpool.
It shed 25 jobs during the summer. Managing director James Allen also left the firm.
Under the revised structure, Alsop Design Limited, a new company, will trade as Alsop & Partners. Alsop, R Capital and two current directors, Stephen Pimbley and Colin Gilmore-Merchant, will be in control.
Alsop & Partners said there would be no further redundancies, and that all staff would be retained under the same conditions as they had before. The practice now has 60 staff.
In a statement the firm said it would be concentrating more on North American markets and the Far East. A spokesperson for Alsop added that Alsop & Partners had been awarded new work in Toronto and Montreal, and that Will Alsop had been on a tour there in recent weeks to look for work.