International architect HOK is seeking to expand its work in London by branching out into science and technology design.

The company has 11 operational units in its London office and plans to create another team to work specifically on science buildings, particularly pharmaceutical laboratories.

Ralph Courtenay, an HOK International vice-president, said the firm was looking at acquiring a team of specialist science designers to create a business unit in the same way as it hired a education designer Stefan Jakobek to head an education team five months ago.

HOK, which reported a £32m UK turnover in 2003, also has ambitions to expand its education business.

Courtenay said: “We are keen to advise education authorities, independent schools and universities on how to adapt their facilities to their business plans.”

HOK wants to adapt some of the services it offers to big private clients, such as Cisco and Nortel, to the public sector.

Courtenay was involved in drafting the firm’s three-year strategic vision in Atlanta last year. HOK wants all its operational units to compete with the top two firms in their specialist sector, in terms of contracts won, by the end of 2005.

HOK is also looking at expanding its links with Europe. It is talking to practices in Holland and Germany to enlarge the HOK European Network, which at present includes firms from Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Poland and Belgium.

We are keen to advise schools on how to adapt their facilities