The AJ's special awards go to AJ100 practices that have excelled in specific areas. The awards were judged by AJ editor Isabel Allen, Architectural Review editor Paul Finch, environmental engineer Max Fordham, Swiss Re client Sara Fox, Wordsearch's Peter Murray, architect/developer Roger Zogolovitch and RIBA president Jack Pringle.
LARGEST PRACTICE Sponsored by Schüco WINNER: BDP REGIONAL WINNERS Sponsored by Griffiths and Armour Scotland JMARCHITECTS North East RYDER HKS North West ELLIS WILLIAMS ARCHITECTS Midlands NIGHTINGALE ASSOCIATES Wales HOLDER MATHIAS ARCHITECTS South West STRIDE TREGLOWN HIGHEST FIRST-TIME ENTRANT Sponsored by Corus Kalzip WINNER: MAKE HIGHEST CLIMBER Sponsored by Pipers WINNER: BENOY BUSINESS ACHIEVER OF THE YEAR Sponsored by Glenigan WINNER: AEDAS For an established practice to increase its fee income by 11 per cent is an impressive achievement, and makes Aedas the fourth-largest fee earner in the country. It is also the second-largest earner in both PFI and work won in competitions. This is reflected in the fact that Aedas has added 23 architects in the UK, moving it up to second position in the AJ100. Aedas has also become a truly international practice, with the sixth-largest fee income outside the UK and the fifth highest number of architects employed overseas. These figures predate the tie-up with New York practice Davis Brody Bond.
INTERNATIONAL PRACTICE OF THE YEAR Sponsored by Davis Langdon WINNER: CHAPMAN TAYLOR In 1995, Chapman Taylor picked up 135 new projects giving it a presence in 17 new countries, but what really impressed the jury was the spread of the practice's workload in terms of type of work and geographical location, and its determination to create projects that suit local needs. In the past year, the practice has built on its success in the office, residential, regeneration, urban-design and retail sectors, and entered new areas including tourism, hospitality, education and sport. Recent schemes include a mixed-use seafront development in Argentina; the redevelopment of rubber factories in central Moscow into a mixed-use scheme; and a new football stadium in Ghana. The practice plans to expand its Italian, Spanish, Polish and French offices in the coming year, and to open new offices in Romania and Russia.
BEST MARKETING INITIATIVE Sponsored by Smoothe WINNER: GENSLER In 2005, Gensler engaged the PR agency Man Bites Dog to translate some of its research efforts into a large-scale marketing intiaitve. Drawing on an independent survey of UK business managers, the practice produced a white paper entitled These Four Walls: The Real British Office, a document which sets out the impact of the work environment in relation to productivity, staff attraction and retention, creativity, and work/life balance. The aim was to encourage debate about design at board level and to raise the profile of the key personnel and services provided at Gensler's headquarters in London.
The exercise yielded 43 pieces of media coverage, with a total circulation of 5 million and a broadcast reach of more than 1.3 million, including articles in the Guardian and the Financial Times and two interviews on the BBC.
It also led to eight public-speaking engagements.
Gensler's website has received more than 8,840 hits to date on the page featuring the white-paper news, and 40 enquiries from the UK and around the world, including questions from potential and existing clients, and institutions such as Reading University and the University of Liverpool. In purely financial terms, the campaign delivered coverage worth £438,622.
SUSTAINABILITY AWARD Sponsored by Interface WINNER: FEILDEN CLEGG BRADLEY The winner of the AJ100 Sustainability Award for the second year running, Feilden Clegg Bradley impressed the jury with Heelis in Swindon, the newly completed Central Office for The National Trust. The building's form allows excellent light and natural ventilation throughout, with the saw-tooth pitched roof facilitating solar collection via roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, providing 35 per cent of the building's energy requirement.
Materials were sourced to ensure sustainability in production, use and ultimate disposal: timber from National Trust estates is used for cladding, and carpets are made of wool from sheep raised on National Trust farms. An enlightened approach to design was matched by effective communication to the client. The design team collaborated to develop a matrix, setting out the energy savings and payback periods, to allow the board to make informed decisions at the design stage, and all users have been educated to understand their building.
COMMENDATIONS PRPThe jury commended St Matthew's Estate in Brixton, the first scheme developed by PRP ZedFactor, as a successful collaboration between a large, commercial client and a smaller 'niche' practice, and a bold attempt to introduce a forward-looking approach to environmental issues into the social-housing sector.
BDPThe jury was particularly impressed by the efforts of the sustainability unit to introduce a sophisticated understanding of sustainability issues into BDP projects, and by the practice's success in developing DREAM (defence-related environmental assessment method), a tool designed to assess the environmental performance of Ministry of Defence buildings across the whole of its estate.
EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR Sponsored by SIV WINNER: ASSAEL Contrary to popular belief, the outstanding quality of the submissions for Employer of the Year suggested that large architectural practices are both enlightened and imaginative employers. The jury, which unanimously voted for Assael, was particularly struck with its policy of rewarding staff who have been with the practice for 10 years with 20 days' paid leave (in addition to the usual 25 days) along with two round-the-world air tickets. All employees are given a £250 annual allowance towards a European trip, on the less than onerous condition that they report back at the practice's Friday afternoon meetings when the office closes at 3.30pm for drinks. This, incidentally, is in addition to the annual average training budget of over £700 per year which can be spent on learning to drive, cook or act, as well as the more predictable range of CPD options.
The jury was also impressed, even a little incredulous, to hear that the managing director makes a point of personally meeting with students once a week.
SPECIAL MENTIONS The jury also gave a special mention to HLM Architects and Lyons + Sleeman + Hoare for offering lifestyle packages which were particularly exible and clear;
PRP Architects for its student bursary scheme; and Jestico + Whiles for its decision to transfer ownership of the practice from shareholders into an Employee Benefit Trust.