Andy von Bradsky steps down as chairman with firm set to drop overseas offices

Andy von Bradsky is stepping down as chairman of PRP Architects after 30 years with the practice.

He will not be replaced but will remain involved in research, quality and innovation at PRP and will also continue as chair of the RIBA housing group and as a board member of the NHBC’s housing forum. .

His departure after eight years in the chair follows the retirement of managing partner Roger Battersby and coincides with a new structure for the practice, as well a new UK focus which could see staff numbers rise to 300 in the next 18 months.

Anne-Marie Nicholson, Brendan Kilpatrick and financial director Neil Griffiths will take up posts as senior partners on the PRP board in October. Nicholson, who is based in Surrey, and Kilpatrick, in the London office, will share the chairman and MD functions.

The split role was described as “a bit outmoded” by Kilpatrick, who has been with PRP for more than 20 years.

He also said the practice was set to shed its Moscow and Shanghai offices in the next year by turning them into associated practices.

Opportunities in China had dried up since the government’s national “corruption clampdown” had made life more difficult for clients, he said.

And the practice was also keen to reduce potential liabilities in Russia, where things were likely to get worse before they got better, he said.

“We are certainly not saying no to overseas work – we have a project in the Middle East and we expect to do joint projects with our former offices,” he said. PRP’s environmental and elderly housing expertise could be particularly valuable in China, he said.

But the new management intends to focus PRP’s efforts on the UK where it has picked up a string of housing wins in recent months, including Croydon’s first estate regeneration project at New Addington. This project, awarded last week, will also involve Holder Mathias designing a leisure facility.

“We are experts in housing and there’s a massive shortage of housing in the UK,” said Kilpatrick.

“We are best placed to help address some of those issues and help our clients deliver that whether it’s social-led, PRS or outright sale.”

He predicted the practice could grow from 260 to 300 staff in the next 18 months, with fairly senior appointments next on the agenda after a string of more junior hirings.

Nicholson said it was an exciting time, adding: “PRP has a proud tradition of managing change for the next generation of leaders and ensuring the continuity of culture and ethos of the practice.”