Up three places in the table and back into the top 20 with architect numbers rising from 82 to 93, WilkinsonEyre has, says co-founder Jim Eyre, had ‘a good, if not spectacular year’. This contrasts with a couple of years ago, when the practice was the UK’s fastest-growing.
In terms of projects, the firm has received less attention and fewer awards than when it completed the Weston Library in Oxford in 2015, though this year it was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award. But there have been notable completions in the past year, including two contrasting workplaces: the Portland Stone-clad 8 Finsbury Circus, London for Mitsubishi and the lightweight pavilions of the Research and Development Dyson Campus at Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
What effect has Brexit had on the practice? There was a wobble with ‘one or two commercial projects where the client was waiting for a pre-let’, says Eyre, but he also points to the massive boost when Deutsche Bank confirmed a 25-year lease on its new HQ at 21 Moorfields a week before Article 50 was triggered. He admits, though, to uncertainty, not least because 30 to 40 per cent of those working for the practice come from abroad, and he warns of ‘massive self-inflicted harm’ if restrictions are imposed on the free flow of people and talent to the UK.
Over the coming year, key ongoing projects and completions will include the Queen Mary Graduate Centre and King’s Cross Gasholders, both in London, and the North-West Cambridge masterplan. WilkinsonEyre is also still active in bridge design, notably with its new pedestrian and cycle bridge in Copenhagen, due for completion in 2018.