Everything architecture

18 May 2016

Peter Buchan, senior partner at Ryder, discusses the different types of architects and where Ryder fits in.

I used to hate that question.  I wanted to say "Well…we are us, and we do things the way that feels right to us!"

Somehow that isn’t always enough, so I began to reflect on what people might mean when they ask that question.  Perhaps they mean “Are you a design architect?” by which they could be implying you might have exciting ideas but are they deliverable, affordable or what the client needs?  They could mean “Are you a commercial architect?” which tends to imply that money rules, you'll cut to the chase and that developers will appreciate your acumen.  Another common one is “Are you a delivery architect?” which, of course implies that you are technically competent but have little design ability or flair.

The recent RIBA report, Client and Architect - Delivering the Successful Relationship, concluded "...many clients said they would rather hire one firm but considered it too risky to leave the concept architect in charge of the technical aspects of delivery."  A group of our young architects were so shocked by this, they immediately launched a campaign to promote the technically informed architect - reinstating the importance of the unbreakable thread that guides the project from concept to completion and beyond.

We knew that simply being us, meant showing we are architects who believe passionately in doing it all.  We want to be ridiculously good at creatively solving client problems.  We like to think about budgets, materials and how buildings go together right from the beginning - to harness the best of global practice and developing technologies to help us do a better job.  We want to learn from each project for the benefit of the next.  We also want to mend what seems to be a broken construction industry and to reclaim responsibility for all aspects of building design - not just the parts which are currently defined as architecture.  I recently heard a typical approach to project consultant relationships referred to as "throw it over the wall".  In other words, "I’ve done my bit, now you have a go".  Our industry perpetuates inefficiency, poor understanding and error.  Design isn’t linear, it’s messy.  Great ideas and solutions can come from anywhere - often from the most unlikely places - providing the right people, working together in the right way at the right times.

This is why we like to collocate our full project team, make our clients central to the process and choose to engage with suppliers and constructors.  In the simpler era of the 1960s, our predecessors at Ryder became multidisciplinary.  As friends and early collaborators of Ove Arup, they shared his passion for truly integrated working.

“Everything architecture“ is in our DNA and in many ways is our homage to Sir Ove and our founders Gordon Ryder and Peter Yates.


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