Ryder Manchester 2, P. Ryder
The Manchester team aims to grow across all sectors. Credit: Infinite 3D

Ryder opens in Manchester 

Dan Whelan

The architecture firm has taken 18 desks within a serviced suite at Bruntwood Works’ Blackfriars House, its eighth office and second in the North West. 

Ryder Architecture opened up an office in Liverpool in 2007 and is now eyeing more work at the other end of the M62 under the stewardship of director and healthcare specialist Sheldon Walsh. 

He joined Ryder in March 2020 having left AFL Architects the previous December after six years as the practice’s healthcare lead. 

Including Walsh, six of the 12 staff at Ryder’s Manchester office are former AFL employees. 

Walsh’s expertise is within the healthcare sector, having worked across projects including a £22.8m operating theatre and intensive care unit at Leighton Hospital in Crewe.

However, he is determined that his Manchester team will be able to build a diverse portfolio of work. 

Ryder Manchester, P. Ryder

Walsh (centre) joined Ryder just before the pandemic. Credit: Infinite 3D

“There is a strong healthcare aspect to the office, which was deliberate and strategic. But the aspiration is to develop sustainably across all the sectors,” Walsh told Place North West. 

Ryder works across a range of other sectors including residential, offices, education and leisure. 

“The links between our sectors are going to be really important,” Walsh said. 

“It’s not just a case of developing the portfolio in silos. It’s about the added benefit of integrating those strengths and expertise, and collaborating and working together.” 

Despite only just opening its Manchester office, Ryder is no stranger to the city. 

Its past projects in the area include designing the refurbishment of Manchester Central Library, as well as the creation of One Tameside, a mixed-use development In Ashton-under-Lyne with flexible office accommodation and a public library. 

Factory, July 21, P.PNW 2

Ryder is project architect on MCC’s Factory. Credit: Place North West

The practice is currently working as project architect on The Factory, Manchester City Council’s £186m arts hub, and drawing up plans to revamp Stepping Hill hospital’s emergency department, having won a £20m design competition. 

“The portfolio of work we have already done in the region has helped us foster strong relationships with our clients and the local community,” Walsh said. 

“We hope that these relationships will continue to flourish.” 

In total, the company employs around 300 staff across its two North West offices, its Newcastle headquarters, and sites in London, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, and Vancouver.

The opening of Ryder’s Manchester office coincides with the launch of PlanBEE in the city. PlanBEE, created by Gateshead College and Ryder, is a skills initiative that offers career opportunities and apprenticeships to young people looking to establish a career in the construction sector.

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