Internationally, this has been a year of changes for Aukett Swanke. It is moving into the Middle East in a big way, with offices opening in four cities in the United Arab Emirates employing 37 architects and 66 staff. It also says that it is actively seeking work in other Middle Eastern countries, as well as Russia and most of Europe. In contrast, it has closed offices in Colombia and Brazil. But the biggest office is in Berlin, dwarfing the UK figures with a total of 114 architects. This is the Aukett + Heese joint venture, set up in 1992 with ABH-Architekturbüro Heese of Munich.
In the UK, recent completions include the Molecular Sciences Hub at Imperial College, London, part of Aukett Swanke’s larger masterplan for the university, the redevelopment of the Art Deco Adelphi building, also in London, and Forbury Place in Reading, an office building which, says the practice, ‘brings London quality to Reading’. Both Forbury Place and the Adelphi have picked up awards, as has the practice’s Japan Tobacco International building in Moscow. The practice has, it says, been ‘thinking differently’ about the design of hotel rooms through the organic form of its concept room for Sleep 2016, where it used modular design and pushed its CAD capability to produce elements that could be assembled and disassembled quickly and accurately.
The practice has lost 15 architects in the UK in the past year, a contrast from the previous year, when it grew by 11. Its share price – it is the UK’s only listed architecture firm – more than halved in 2016 and has continued to fall this year after a high in early May.But, with a focus firmly on the international market, it intends to grow, responding to opportunities worldwide as it has done over 2016.