Mecanoo remains as technical advisor to the University of Manchester on the £300m MECD

Mecanoo scales down Manchester office

Jessica Middleton-Pugh and Neil Tague

The Dutch architect has made five people redundant in its Manchester studio, after a reduction in the number of projects it is engaged on in the region.

Peter Haasbroek, financial director, told Place North West: “Mecanoo have had to review the size of their Manchester office following the completion of the design stages of several projects. This has regrettably resulted in some redundancies. We keep our office in Manchester open and remain committed to the local support of our projects in the Manchester area.”

The office was opened by Ernst ter Horst, formerly architect at SimpsonHaugh & Partners, in 2012, and built up a solid body of work, completing its first Manchester project, cultural venue Home, in 2015. ter Horst left Mecanoo in July 2016 to join Feilden Clegg Bradley. The Mecanoo office, based at 52 Princess Street, then became the responsibility of partner Francesco Veenstra, who was splitting his time between the city and the practice’s Delft headquarters. Veenstra departed in June, launching his own firm vakwerk architecten in September.

Over the last few years the studio was appointed to design major projects in the city, such as the University of Manchester’s £300m Engineering Campus Development, and Capital & Centric and Henry Boot’s £200m Kampus. However in both cases the studio was not kept on as delivery architect; Kampus is now advised by Chapman Taylor, and on MECD Mecanoo has been retained as technical advisor to the client, while BDP is executive architect.

The construction of another scheme the practice was advising on, 105 homes for One Manchester on Hulme’s Leaf Street, is nearly complete. Mecanoo is continuing to advise Oldham Council on the relocation of the Coliseum theatre, but the project has experienced delays due to a redesign, which was approved in August.

Following the redundancies, which have taken place over the course of two months, two architects remain in the Princess Street office. Mark Slocombe, associate director, will continue to be based there full time, and associate architect Chris Perry will work there part-time.

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They were flavour of the month for a while but I suspect it got to the point where they thought they knew better than their clients and weren’t listening to instruction and over-designing – the client is always right even when they are wrong!

By Bday

Just goes to show the value of key individuals to individual organisations ;)

By MancLad

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