Journey to Hong Kong

Richard Dorkin discusses the journey to establishing the brand in Asia. 

It began for me in 2011, in a restaurant near our London practice, with Peter Buchan, senior partner at Ryder.  “How do you feel about flying the flag for Ryder in Hong Kong?”

Five years later, and the flag is fully flying.  I arrived in Hong Kong in 2012, working alongside TFP Farrells to establish a specialist healthcare brand.  It was a privilege to sit in the office of Farrells, both in Garden Road and Quarry Bay, and begin to understand the culture and mechanisms of Hong Kong.

In 2013, a conversation was held between Farrells director, Gavin Erasmus and a potential client, for a design and construction project in East Kowloon.  Gavin initially declined the invitation but reconsidered when I discussed Ryder’s sector experience back in the UK.

Our bid for the Kowloon East Regional Headquarters (KERHQ) with Hsin Chong, produced an outstanding solution to the client’s requirements which was delivered to the Legislative Council in 2013.  In March, 2014, we received the news we had won.  A tremendous outcome, following a steady team effort by Ryder and Farrells as co authors of the design.  Our celebrations were however dampened slightly, due to events prior to the public works subcommittee meeting, resulting in the project falling victim to the Occupy Central movement and the related city politics.

I departed Farrells office and took up residence in a serviced office, hiring two local Hong Kong architects in anticipation of the impending start of KERHQ.  The time felt right to begin to raise our own profile as a practice and build awareness of our sector strengths in the wider ASEAN market.

I thought it important for our marketing strategy to begin with BIM enabled design and workflow, as this was and still is, the missing link in Hong Kong’s broader construction industry, from client requirements to supply chain ability to deliver.

The team soon expanded to six people and we agreed it was time to find a more permanent home to call our own.  After a couple of false starts, we eventually committed to our new office space in Central and relocated in May.  I am always pleasantly surprised by how a well designed space can improve team communications and bring the best out of people.

We are now a team of 10 and KERHQ has finally reached financial approval.  We are all excited by the opportunities ahead of us and hope we continue to integrate our processes and support with the UK team to ensure Ryder’s success for everyone here and further afield.

Although the market is slow I believe that Hong Kong has a lot to do to maintain its global position and we are here to help.

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