A year on from the journey to Hong Kong, Richard Dorkin reflects on the practice’s past 12 months in Asia.
10 Years of Ryder in Liverpool
Simon Fraser, Martin Smith and Paul Swarbrick reflect on ten years of Ryder's presence in Liverpool.
In the beginning, there were 12 – all of whom snugly squeezed into a room that was definitely not made for 12 people, suffice to say the adjoining print room got a lot of use too. For those of us who have been here since the dawn of Ryder in the north west, the constant evolving of the practice has been a welcome and satisfying process to be a part of.
That isn’t to say there hasn’t been expected ups and downs along the way. The team has grown and reduced in tune with the economy, but has held steadfast and developed a reputation with contractors as a go to practice for Everything architecture and notably, the delivery of education projects. On the back of the relationships built working on schools and colleges, residential projects are now filling a large part of our workflow and our specialisms are being recognised by major clients.
Winning one of our first major local projects naturally stands out as a defining moment for us all, and is the place we now call home – Liverpool Science Park adjacent to the Metropolitan Cathedral has one of the finest views in the city.
Even before the move here, the project became somewhat of a defining moment for the team as it led to our successes at Thames Valley Science Park and the first of four buildings Ryder have been commissioned to deliver on the site together with a masterplan for 15 more. Once best known for our ties to education, our science portfolio goes from strength to strength and we continue to showcase our expertise in the field.
The office also made a significant contribution to the award winning Manchester Central Library project. With a third of the team co located in Manchester City Council’s special projects office, embracing collaborative working and BIM and along with the client, the contractor and other consultants restored and rejuvenated one of Manchester’s most treasured and well used public buildings.
On reaching the 10 year milestone, we have really truly established the team here, perhaps something that goes hand in hand with having a steady office home for a substantial amount of time. Outside of our key contractors, it has taken around seven years for us to continuously build on our regional profile and we have begun to see the pay off as new exciting opportunities arise.
A number of the team have lectured at John Moore’s University, which allows us to see first hand the array of impressive talent. We feel extremely proud that feedback puts us as one of the top practices of choice for students in the north west – building on the national profile Ryder have as tenth best small company to work for in the Sunday Times 100.
Ryder provide the privilege of team trips too – something we’re always keen not to miss out on. On the back of enjoyable trips to Madrid and Berlin, our most recent was a visit to Florence earlier this year which only served to strengthen our team bond, and with a native Italian in the team, the family atmosphere increased tenfold.
The overwhelming feeling among the team is that we have developed and evolved alongside the many office changes. We have strengthened our team position locally supported by Ryder’s growth nationally and internationally. We’ve been holding a steady course for some time now and we look forward to seeing what the next 10 years has in store for us.