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AJ100 2010 interview: Roger Fitzgerald, ADP

‘We have managed to increase our turnover, which is obviously very good.’

How has the last year gone for you?

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag, really. We have managed to increase our turnover, which is obviously very good. At the same time we have had difficulties along the way, particularly with the Learning and Skills Council debacle [in which funding problems affected projects in the education sector]. But at the end of the year, when you look at it on paper, it was actually quite a good year for us.

Have you made any changes in the way your practice operates?

We managed to pre-empt what we could see was coming by making investments two or three years ago in our brand and marketing team and by opening an of ce in the North West. I think that was the reason we were reasonably successful last year.

Are there any sectors in which you see particular hope?

We do not think there will be as much education sector work around, so we will have to work extra hard to make sure we get a decent share of what there is. We are looking particularly at healthcare - our minute share of this market means there are big opportunities for us in this sector. We are also looking, in the long-term, at the commercial sector. It always comes back - it’s just a question of when it does and in what form, so we want to be ready.

What is your most exciting project at the moment?

We are working on a £20 million scheme for the University of Sussex, which is quite important. There is a very controlled sequence of buildings and spaces set up by Basil Spence which terminates very feebly in two arts buildings. Those buildings are going to be demolished and we are putting up one which will properly terminate Spence’s formal axis through the university.

What do you think your practice will be like in five years’ time?

Different. We are looking internationally now and becoming more outward-looking. As a growing practice we have a lot of talented young people in the organisation. We are trying to give them the opportunities to step up and develop their careers at ADP.

What is the greatest challenge facing the architectural profession?

The selection processes we have to go through are pretty endless and an awful lot of good design work and input from senior people goes into project submissions. This is can mean a lot of wasted time. There process could be more efficient and condensed to avoid that wastage.

If you hadn’t been an architect, what would you have been?

I’d have liked to have been an international cricketer, but given I don’t have the natural talent for that, possibly a cricket commentator or statistician.

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