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news practice profile


Norman Hayden explores the global world of Atkins architects


Jason Speechly-Dick Woodcote Grove offices


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events CONFERENCES


RICS Building Surveying Conference 2016 19 April, London www.ciat.org.uk/en/media_centre/ news_and_events/events


Zero Carbon Design Conference 08 – 09 September, Birmingham www.zerocarbonbuildings.world


COURSES


Handcrafted concrete for small projects 19 May, London www.buildingcentre.co.uk/events


With a work reach that spans the continents, Atkins architecture practice clearly lives up to the title of the overall Global group of which it is part. Atkins is one of the world’s leading practices – indeed, it is formally listed among the top 100 firms employing 352 fully- qualified architects. As befits such a big company, Atkins boasts a rich and


high-profile history going back 78 years. In that time it has played its part in many iconic projects – not least being its involvement in the 2012 London Olympics. What makes it such a major player? Basically, clients


are attracted by its approach to architecture which Atkins believes is different because its architects are focused first and foremost on designing buildings that work for people. Architects at Atkins believe that good design can, and must, improve people’s lives. As a multi-disciplinary company, it can provide a full


range of services to support client project objectives. This approach embodies six principles: inspiration,


innovation, building efficiency, carbon critical design, integrated multi-disciplinary design and contextual care. As a result, Atkins’ claim is that no two of its buildings


look or feel the same with its designs blending with the surrounding context, climate, and culture. Consequently, each geographical region has evolved an architectural identity of its own. For example, in the United States, the practice is diverse and recognises the profound impact


of the built environment on our natural environment, health, economy, and productivity. In the Middle East, Atkins work is typified by towers and iconic structures such as the World Trade Center in Bahrain. In China, its projects use metaphors as in the flower-like so-called “Lotus Hotel” near Shanghai. By contrast, its UK designs have to meet the


challenges of buildings needing to be place-specific and where projects are often driven by sustainability issues. Atkins’ UK operations – which features 116 fully-


qualified architects – is serviced from offices in London, the Midlands, Yorkshire, North East, North West, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South East, South West and Wales. Its key sectors are: aviation, defence, education, healthcare, mass transit plus mixed use, including offices and residential. The original company, WS Atkins and Partners, was


established in 1938 by Sir William Atkins in London. In its early years the company specialised in civil and structural engineering design. After the Second World War, the services WS Atkins and Partners offered to clients grew to include specialist services in planning, engineering sciences, architecture and project management. In the 1990s Atkins made several significant acquisitions, then, after almost 60 years operating as a private company, the company was successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange in Continued overleaf...


EXHIBITIONS


Creation from catastrophe: How architecture rebuilds communities Now – 24 April, London www.architecture.com/WhatsOn


FESTIVALS


Clerkenwell Design Week 24 – 26 May, London www.clerkenwelldesignweek.com


London Festival of Architecture June, London londonfestivalofarchitecture.org


www.architectsdatafile.co.uk


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