Duggan Morris look ahead to 2017

Duggan Morris Architects now enters its thirteenth year of practice. Left bereft from the U.K’s vote to exit Europe and America’s change in administration many challenges face our country and the construction industry. The impact of rising construction costs and over demand on the supply chain exacerbates our delivery programmes and further pressurises the shortfall in our housing provision.

In spite of all of this, we remain positive, as our practice has continued to prosper and grow. At the end of 2016, we numbered 56 architects and designers; a team of brilliant architects and designers from many of the leading universities across the U.K, Europe and beyond.

We are an internationally diverse team, one not defined through the imperious actions of singular individuals but instead by the rich culture, experience and ambition of all team members. We continue to foster a shared belief in the potential of the creative problem solving process; a universal approach and methodology, of inclusive means and collaboration. Our design process is rigorously investigative, explorative, and iterative; one which challenges notions and preconceptions, and one which is by its own nature, challenging.

As part of our commitment to the development of our team and our continual aim to improve the service we provide to our clients, the practice realised a series of senior level promotions at the end of 2016. This expanded the management team from the two founding directors to a senior tier of directors, associate directors, associates and practice director, intended to support the vision of the practice and to design and realise projects at the leading edge of the industry.

2016 was a year in which many of the projects in design development throughout 2015, moved to the site phases. This includes Hampstead Green (£32M retirement housing scheme for Pegasus Life in Hampstead), The Energy Hub (£6M energy centre and community for Lendlease as part of the Elephant Park site, South east London), The Wildernesse Estate (a £20M multiphase retirement housing scheme in Sevenoaks), and The Loom (£6M warehouse conversion and refurbishment project for Helical Bar, completed in October).

Perhaps the most notable of this wave of projects is R7, a £70M mixed use office scheme for Argent in Kings Cross. Now moving into the final stages of construction, this project is dramatically transforming the northern quarter of the Kings Cross regeneration site with its two–tone pink skin and sculptural form. R7 heralds a new phase in the achievements of the office; 150,000sqft of flexible office accommodation, a three-screen cinema for Everyman Cinema, a restaurant, exhibition space and a roof level observation deck and corporate box. Completion of the project is due in Summer 2017.

2016 also saw a range of new commissions and planning consents, for a number of existing and new clients. Many of these new projects build on our increasing expertise in the delivery of large scale residential developments, in addition to projects in the health, arts and education sectors. The beginning of 2016 saw two notable projects achieving planning consent, both following the intervention of Mayor of London. The first, Blossom Street for British Land, a masterplan for a site close to Spitalfields in east London, is now set to proceed in creating a total of 350,000 square feet of space including new offices and 40 apartments, bringing neglected warehouse buildings back into use, and improving the public realm. This project is part of an ongoing collaboration with partners AHMM, DSDHA, Stanton Williams and East.

The second project Monmouth House, a 110,000sqft mixed used office scheme for Derwent London, proposes a new landmark building at the junction of City Road and Featherstone Street, overlooking the Grade I listed Bunhills Cemetery. This project will move into the detail phases in the coming year. Less controversially, but equally importantly, consent was also achieved on a host of other exciting projects; The Aylesbury Health Centre (£20M community health centre in the heart of the Aylesbury Regeneration site for Southwark Local Authority and Nottinghill Housing Trust), two sites on the Strand East Masterplan site in Stratford, East London (delivering over two hundred residential units across several buildings for Vastint). Our scheme for Knight Dragon on the site of the Greenwich Peninsula (over two hundred residential units on a prominent site) is currently in planning and we anticipate a decision early this year.

These projects sit alongside our ongoing work on other significant projects including Lion Green Rd a £24m new build housing scheme in the London Borough of Croydon for client Brick x Brick and the £5M expansion of the Science Museum submitted for planning in January 2017.  Others include new project Bernard Works (a workplace-lead regeneration scheme in Tottenham Hale), The Aviaries (£5M new build house in Somerset due for submission in February 2017), Guildford Plaza (£30M retirement housing scheme for Pegasus Life due for submission in April 2017), and Albany Riverside (a large scale gateway housing scheme in Brentford).

In addition, our practice is piloting a number of frontier projects in London’s Docklands. Working alongside Bloc and Canal and Rivers Trust, these projects aim to develop a number of the redundant docks, with floating structures accommodating offices, housing and restaurants. These projects are at concept stage, but represent the diversity of our portfolio.

As we look forward to 2017, we expect many new challenges and opportunities to overcome and explore. None of this would be at all possible without the continuing support of our clients, our collaborators, consultants, friends and colleagues, to whom we extend our gratitude.

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