A Decade Decayed18 October 2016
As Ryder celebrate the tenth anniversary of our Glasgow office, partner Gordon Murray reflects on the past decade.
The perception of every landscape varies depending on where one is standing in both time and place - the hinterland we look back on is coloured by the journey.
Every journey begins with a single step. My own journey with Ryder began with a breakfast at The Blythswood with Paul Bell and Mark Thompson to float the idea of a more sustainable approach for both Gordon Murray Architects (GMA) and Ryder in Scotland. Sustainability over a fry up. In my role as Professor of Architecture, Paul and I had collaborated with the practice when they funded a part time tuition post at Strathclyde University.
In October 2006, Paul Bell together with Matt Haggerty and David Maciver established Ryder’s presence in Glasgow - winning the South Ayrshire Schools and St Andrews Community Hospital projects. It is true that this was both a signal year and a cusp for all of us with the black hole of 2007 unknowingly just around the corner. Nevertheless, there was still a steroid fuelled optimism.
Wick Noss Primary
gm+ad had just published a second book, A Curious Rationalism, had just won two consecutive RIBA awards and with a growing team of 30, things seemed to be heading in the right direction though there was an underlying uneasiness that the future somehow needed to be cathartic. It was.
For Matt and David, the decade in Glasgow has obviously been a major part of their lives so far. As our archivists, they can list all the projects and personnel coming in and out of the Glasgow team - many of whom are now senior members of the practice, who as graduates, cut their teeth on projects north of the border. Associates Sarah O’Connor and Steven Ford both learned their craft in Glasgow.
Dumfries and Galloway Hospital
Yet surely the most significant milestone has been the forging of GMA Ryder, rising from the wreckage of GMA in 2012 with the core crew coming on board. This has been both consolidated and underpinned by the continued growth of the Glasgow team - the original three now 20 strong.
Reflecting on clients who have been instrumental in aiding the growth, given the ensuing trials and tribulations of the years to the end of that decade, it is arguable that those clients that one might list as significant were just that; but for the wrong reasons. Interestingly, I reckon the client base of at least 70% of our current income via Glasgow wasn’t there even three years ago, far less 10 years ago. Fewer clients but all coming back for more. Some have endured the decade resulting in some fine projects; from Scottish Crime Campus and 1 West Regent Street to the Scottish Schools programme and Dumfries and Galloway Hospital.
1 West Regent Street
Regardless, it is fair to say that the most important influence on the development of Ryder has been our talent pool. The growth in the Scottish base reflecting that across the UK and Hong Kong.
We have built a great vessel housing and we have a fine crew. If 2016 is significant for anything it is simply the start of another decade - a platform for taking Ryder to yet another level. Always tomorrow. Never yesterday.
Gordon Murray (far right) and some of the team, 2016