2016 - Reflection

As 2016 draws to a close we have taken time to review and reflect on what has been an extraordinary and tumultuous year, and look forward to 2017.

In early January, returning from the festive break, the staff at Hoskins Architects were rocked by the news that the firm’s hugely respected Principal was gravely ill in hospital. The gruelling week that followed culminated in the devastating news that we had lost the man who started our firm almost 18 years prior, and since cultivated our close-knit team, many of whom worked side by side with Gareth for well over a decade.

Over the challenging weeks that followed the inherent strengths of that team became ever more evident. Buoyed by the incredible outpouring of condolences from clients, contemporaries and friends alike, the team rallied to support one another, pulling together and focusing on carefully redistributing the numerous tasks Gareth undertook.

Throughout the year since, the team has been taking stock and planning the way forward for the studio. Formally implementing the changes required, engendered not least by the need for the company to adopt Gareth’s shareholding, is a necessarily lengthy process that is still on-going. To begin with though, and in recognition of the significant contributions they have made to the practice (throughout previous years as well as over the turbulent last twelve months), a number of colleagues have been promoted to new roles as Associates and Associate Directors, with our Board of Directors continuing above.

In spite of the effort required to get through this difficult period, our team not only pulled through but has continued to perform to the highest standards, delivering our customary excellence on our on-going projects, evidenced by the numerous awards gleaned for them, and winning new and exciting jobs.

During the year we’ve seen two major award-winning healthcare projects completed and opened to the public: Ballymena Health and Care Centre, in Northern Ireland, delivered in collaboration with Keppie Design; and Eastwood Health and Care Centre, just outside Glasgow which, as a hub reference design project, provides a benchmark for excellent, sustainable, and good value design for future health centres across Scotland. Eastwood went on to win the NHS Design Excellence Award, and the prestigious NHS Paul Taylor Award, with the centre at Ballymena bringing in a host of awards too.

Over the summer the £14.1 million third phase of the National Museum of Scotland’s redevelopment opened to the public, including 10 major new galleries dedicated to decorative art, design, fashion, science and technology.

Rockvilla, The National Theatre of Scotland’s £6.5 million headquarters in the Speirs Wharf regeneration area of Glasgow, completed on-site in November. The project repurposed a disused industrial warehouse, enabling the Company, for the first time to house all its rehearsal and production activity under one roof. NTS has moved in and will host an official opening in January 2017.

Also completed this year were the redesign of Berlin City Library’s interior and the first phase of our RIBA competition winning proposal for new dance and drama school for Bird College in South London.

As the year draws to a close we have a couple of projects, of very different scale and programme, finishing on-site and imminently due to complete: Hillside Gardens Lane is a project to deliver six luxurious townhouses in Glasgow’s West End for clients Noah Developments; on the other side of the country 3-8 St. Andrews Square, a significant, commercial, mixed-use development for Standard Life Investments, delivered in collaboration with CDA provides, provides 100,000 sq ft of much needed, Grade A office space, 70,000 sq ft prime retail, and a suite of luxury apartments in the heart of Edinburgh.

Currently on-site and due to complete next year is the Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment including its spectacular, copper-clad, rooftop extension. Also due to finish is the revitalisation of Vienna’s World Museum exhibition and visitor facilities, as well as a further two new NHS health centres in Blackburn, Midlothian and Firrhill in Edinburgh.

Work on the £16.8 million redevelopment for the Scottish National Gallery project, Celebrating Scotland’s Art, is due to start on-site in spring 2017. The project is set to treble the exhibition space for Scottish art, and vastly improve visitor access and circulation.  On nearby West Register Street, our office and retail development with client Chris Stewart Group will also start on site in 2017.

Working once again with the National Trust for Scotland, proposals for The Garden of Playfulness at Brodie Castle in Moray were recently submitted for planning, with design work progressing straight onto the next stage. Following review by the Salvation Army, revised proposals for the world famous site Strawberry Field, Liverpool have been developed and submitted for planning and we continue to develop proposals for the Royal High School in Edinburgh with clients Duddingston House.

Despite closing-in on the end of a few projects the practice remains extremely busy, with the buzz of a busy studio returned and some exciting new projects to be announced next year.

Gareth’s death – and other significant losses, felt more personally by some of our team – undoubtedly provoked reflection and re-evaluation for everyone affected. However, the arrival of no less than five beautiful, healthy, babies (and the joyous news of more to come), reminds us to look forward. With numerous new and exciting projects underway, and even more on the horizon we look forward to a relaxing Christmas break and coming back refreshed, to take on the challenges that 2017 brings us.

To all our wonderful colleagues, clients and contemporaries we send our warmest wishes for the forthcoming festive season.

December 2016