tp bennett slipped to 13th place in the AJ100 rankings after its head count of UK architects fell from 122 to 111 during 2017.
‘We grew steadily from 2008 and rapidly in the two years before this one,’ says principal Christopher Bennie. ‘It was inevitable we would need to consolidate. ‘In the face of overall market uncertainty with Brexit and other factors, our workloads remain about the same.’
The firm has been able to make up for any reduction in one workstream by finding extra opportunities in another. ‘There is less demand for banking offices, for example, but tech occupiers are on the increase,’ says Bennie.
The practice has also moved into the justice sector, where it is working on prisons and courts after hiring two architect directors.
It has also seen growth in regional work, taking on student accommodation schemes in Newcastle and Glasgow and office projects in Manchester, among others. Residential successes include the initial go-ahead for a 333-home housing scheme in Acton, west London, and for a 383-home proposal as part of the mixed-use Campbell Park development in Milton Keynes.
Overseas, tp bennett started its first European school projects, in Antwerp and Paris, while hospitals in Côte d’Ivoire and Zambia and office projects in Morocco and Denmark were first ventures for the practice in these countries.
Half of the practice’s UK work in 2017 was for new clients, and Bennie is looking forward to responding positively to whatever lies in store.
‘You can’t plan for events,’ he says. ‘We have learned a lot about being agile to meet changes and opportunities, and we are up for the challenges ahead.’