The Bath-based practice is planning to increase staff from 13 to 20 in its London office and has made London head Keith Bradley a named senior partner. The move follows a review held at the end of last year, which identified the need to expand its London operation.
Since opening 18 months ago, the London office has attracted work from University College, London, and the Peabody Trust.
The practice is working on 15 projects in the capital, including a £6m material sciences block for UCL in Bloomsbury. It is also designing a communications building for UCL that includes a library, lecture theatre, cinema and exhibition space.
Senior partner Richard Fielden said: “This says to the outside world that we are developing as a practice and expect to continue to do so.”
Fielden said Bradley’s elevation to named partner was to recognise his contribution as well as to boost the presence of the office. “The fact that one of the named senior partners is heading this office reinforces our commitment to the London operation.
“This will give London clients added confidence in the importance Keith has in the practice and that we attach to the office overall,” he said.
Fielden said of the London business: “What we have been getting in is fantastic. It’s taken us by surprise, so much so that the office we have now has held us back.”
Bradley said the work of the London office differed from that undertaken by the Bath office. He said it included a lot of social housing projects, and that there were “more urban regeneration and high-density projects in London and the South-east that demand special masterplanning”. It is currently designing four housing schemes with the Peabody Trust, including projects in Pimlico and Fulham.
Fielden said the growth of the office would be gradual. He said: “Typically, we have 40 live jobs at any time, which feels about right.
It’s the jobs themselves that are getting bigger.” The practice was set up in 1978 and currently employs 45 staff in its Bath headquarters.
Fielden added that the balance between the London and Bath offices was good. He said: “London
is not just a separate operation. There is cross-fertilisation between the practices. It’s a win-win situation.”
The London move will see the practice switch from premises off Tottenham Court Road to an office behind Oxford Street. The new office will open on 25 April.