FCBS leaps five places up the rankings after adding eight architects to its staff and opening an office in Edinburgh.
‘We’re as happy and confident as we can be in the circumstances,’ says managing partner Geoff Rich, who reports a healthy workload, despite Brexit uncertainty, and ‘reasonable optimism’ for a small amount of growth in 2019.
Last year the practice saw architectural fees nudge up from £13.9 million to £14.5 million while maintaining its customary even split of workload between the three key sectors of higher education, housing and culture/creative reuse. The latter included high-profile restorations of the Hayward Gallery, Purcell Room and Queen Elizabeth Hall at London’s Southbank Centre, as well as the East Wing of Alexandra Palace. Other highlights include the MCEIE engineering innovation hub at the University of Toronto, the practice’s most significant overseas completion to date. Rich says the practice is particularly pleased to be involved in urban regeneration projects in Leeds, Manchester and Bristol, where it is working on a new campus near Temple Meads for the University of Bristol and also Brabazon, a residential regeneration of the city’s Filton Airfield. It has recently also won a number of workplace commissions.
The practice recently celebrated its 40th anniversary and, as well as reflecting on its past achievements – including 20 years in London – it has been taking stock and charting a way ahead for the next three years.
‘We feel our work has been getting better and more interesting,’ says Rich. ‘We’ve regrouped, and looked at where we’re going and we feel energised and confident about the next three-year phase in the life of the practice.’
The architect is also considering opening an office in Dublin, not only to support its ongoing work in the Republic of Ireland but as a base within the EU for other European work.