Following its acquisition of housing specialist PCKO Architects last April, AHR has made efforts to strengthen its offer in delivering innovative residential and affordable housing projects and large-scale masterplans. Upton Village, completed by PCKO, has won a number of awards, including the Most Innovative Affordable Housing Scheme at the Housing Innovation Awards 2017. In total the practice picked up 20 awards last year.
The practice’s proposal for the redevelopment of Oxford’s main railway station was a winner in the RIBA’s ideas competition and snatched the popular vote, with 70 per cent of the public going for it.
In November the practice won planning permission for the new UK Hydrographic Office in Taunton for the Admiralty, replacing outdated buildings with a new structure that will promote a ‘one team’ approach.
AHR has a mixed history of growth and acquisition followed by refocusing over its impressive 182-year lifespan under a number of different names. In the past year it has added just one architect, despite the PCKO acquisition, but is still determinedly international, with offices in Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia and the UAE. It is working in most of the world, and lists almost all of it in the survey as a potential source of opportunities.
AHR has seen numerous changes of name and of personnel but it has a successful if changing business model designed to ensure longevity. It deliberately recruits from across the globe, embracing the multi-cultural nature of its architects and using this diversity to stimulate ideas and discussion. This may not be very Brexit-minded, but a practice that prospered for nearly a century and a half before we ever entered the EU can probably afford to ignore such minor historical blips.