Last year wasn’t quite the year of growth Make had anticipated. Although architect numbers remained constant, UK architectural fees slumped from £18.39 million to £14.22 million as Brexit uncertainty hit market confidence. Director Jason Parker describes it as a ‘transition year’, with a number of major London projects coming to completion, including Rathbone Square for Great Portland Estates and Hanover Square in Mayfair.
Ken Shuttleworth’s practice is now working on a large number of promising feasibility projects, many of which are outside its core workplace and residential commercial work.
‘We’re really optimistic about next year. We’re looking hard at hospitality and hotels,’ says Parker, adding that the practice is also targeting work in the higher education, retail and arts sectors.
Make is hoping to further expand its international workload after enjoying strong growth during 2017 at its Australian office, which is busy on experiential retail, hospitality and food and beverage projects. The Hong Kong office is also expected to grow.
In the UK, Make had the disappointment of the end of its involvement in footballers-turned-developers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs’ mixed-use St Michael’s scheme in Manchester. However, it remains active regionally with projects in York, Birmingham, Manchester and Oxford, where it completed the Big Data Institute, its fifth building for the University of Oxford. In Swindon, the practice is hoping for the funding go-ahead on the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.
In London, successes included planning permissions for the residential-led regeneration of the former Hornsey Town Hall in Islington, and, in the City of London, 20 Ropemaker Street and the 36-storey 1 Leadenhall.
Parker hopes that London’s natural momentum can help override the current uncertainties that are holding back market commitment, and is confident Make will fare better in 2018.
He says: ‘We’re feeling pretty good. There’s so much work bubbling around.’