PLP slips down a few places after what founding partner David Leventhal describes as a ‘very challenging’ year. With the Brexit crisis affecting its traditional mainstay of London projects, the practice realised it had to take a proactive approach further afield.
‘We can’t sit around and just wait,’ he says. ‘So we knew we had to go elsewhere and that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve gone far to do competitions that we might not have done before.’
Fortunately, this strategy is paying off, bringing the practice substantial work in new regions and in doing so, shifting the balance between UK and overseas workloads. PLP won a major competition to design the Moscow headquarters for Russian tech giant Yandex. In India, it was successful in a competition to masterplan a new campus for Krea University in Andhra Pradesh, a win that has since led to other work in the subcontinent.
The practice is also expanding in the Far East, winning a major residential project in Singapore, and has hopes of expanding its work in Tokyo. It is also pursuing opportunities in the US and continuing to invest in its PLP Labs research arm.
Meanwhile it is at an advanced stage on a number of ‘terrific’ London jobs including the 22 Bishopsgate skyscraper in the City of London and Cleveland Clinic at 33 Grosvenor Place. Leventhal remarks that the same number of new UK projects aren’t coming through to replace those that are finishing, although the practice recently won its first ever job in Manchester: an innovation campus for Bruntwood SciTech at Alderley Park in Macclesfield.
Despite PLP’s success securing overseas work, its expectations are pretty flat for 2019. ‘We’d be happy to stay as we are,’ says Leventhal.