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Full AJ100 data

Atkins

07

Atkins has strengthened its position as an AJ100 big-hitter by boosting its expertise, climbing three places in the rankings as a result.

The firm added 19 permanent architects to its UK head count during 2016, reflecting growth in its core markets of education, transportation and ‘citizen development’ (mixed use projects). Higher education revenue was up 50 per cent in 2016/17 on the previous year on the back of high-profile wins.

The practice’s plans for a new School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Wolverhampton, part of the £100 million redevelopment of a derelict brewery site, received the go-ahead in October 2016. In March this year, Atkins secured the contract to design a new college for West London College – a further and higher education college – on its Hammersmith and Fulham site as part of a £500 million mixed-use development.

‘We’ve had a good year financially,’ says Atkins’ director Philip Watson. ‘We have plans for growth in the UK, particularly in the core markets – education, transportation, citizen development – and we will grow head count with recruitment into those sectors, definitely. We are also looking to grow our revenue.’

Growth, he says, will be down to work Atkins secured in the last financial year, which will start to deliver this year and in 2018, and also to identifying opportunities in its core sectors. Railway stations are also of particular interest to the practice, and it is developing the masterplan for the remodelling of Leeds Station to accommodate HS2 and is about to hand over the completed Cambridge North Station.

Overseas, Atkins has seen a significant number of its projects go on site or be completed, including the opening in August of its 2,000-seat Dubai Opera multi-format theatre.

In Vietnam, the 460m-high Vincom Landmark 81 tower – set to be the country’s tallest building – is under construction in Ho Chi Minh City. Meanwhile Atkins is on site with two buildings in Morocco as part of its masterplan for a new cultural hub in the capital Rabat: the Library of National Archives, which will document the country’s cultural heritage; and the House of Arts and Culture, providing exhibition and workshop space for artists.

Jason Speechly-Dick, Atkins’ head of architecture and design, says the outlook internationally is ‘steady as she goes’. He adds that the practice’s Middle East and Asia Pacific teams are capitalising on the fact that economies in Asia, particularly China, are ‘much more buoyant’ than had been expected.

Later this year Atkins will start rolling out Wellbriefing, an innovative design tool which won this year’s AJ100 Best Use of Technology prize.

Currently being trialled on four projects, the tool considers nine aspects of wellbeing and captures the preferences of the building’s end-users so they can be prioritised in the design.

‘It’s trying to make the human experience as important as the cost to build or the cost to operate, so clients and designers can make better-informed decisions about how we spend money on the built environment in an evidence-based way,’ Watson says.

Atkins, which will celebrate its 80th birthday next year with the completion of its new offices for 1,000 staff in Epsom, recently shook hands on a £2.1 billion deal for Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin to take over the company. ‘The general feeling within the office is quite buoyant, in that they offer a complementary part of the business to us in building design,’ says Speechly-Dick.

The acquisition might not help Atkins architects’ ongoing PR battle, however.

Watson is irritated that they are always fighting against the fact people are often unaware that Atkins even employs architects. ‘“Engineering giant Atkins” is how we’re always positioned,’ he says. ‘We are a small discipline within a larger business but that doesn’t mean to say that we aren’t innovative, that we don’t do great design.

‘We can match anybody on our day in terms of design quality.’

Architects

UK architects 2017 135 hide graph
286 2008
381 2009
243 2010
241 2011
228 2012
97 2013
97 2014
118 2015
116 2016
135 2017
Overseas architects 2017 234 show graph
140 2008
516 2009
322 2010
407 2011
429 2012
453 2013
453 2014
217 2015
236 2016
234 2017
Percentage of female architects 2017 27% show graph
Percentage of BAME architects 2017 18% show graph

Income

Architecture fees for UK projects 2017 £30.0m
Architecture fees for overseas projects 2017 0
Architecture fees for overseas projects delivered out of UK offices 2017 £30.0m
Architecture fees for overseas projects delivered out of overseas offices 2017 £60.0m
Total fees income 2017 £90.0m
 UK architectural income
 Overseas architectural income
* Includes architectural fees plus fees earned by engineers, surveyors, planners, etc

Fees per architect

Fees per UK architect 2017£89,021

Awards

2017 awards 5 show graph

Ranking

2017 ranking 7 show graph

Atkins on LinkedIn

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