AHMM sued over Amsterdam uni deal
Wickham van Eyck seeks compensation over alleged breach of joint-venture agreement
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) is facing a compensation claim after a collaboration with a another firm on an entry to the University of Amsterdam design competition collapsed.
The firm allegedly pulled out of a joint venture with fellow architect Wickham van Eyck, which now says it has lost a profit of around 2.85 million euros (£2.4 million) and is suing AHMM for damages over breach of agreement, breach of fiduciary duties and breach of trust.
The dispute centres around an international competition for a 70 million euro (£58 million) project to develop a building complex at part of the University of Amsterdam, which the two firms agreed to work on together in 2005, according to a High Court writ.
Together they submitted a tender in July 2006, and made a joint presentation after being shortlisted, but were told the commission had been awarded to an Amsterdam practice, the writ says.
But in March 2007, AHMM partner Simon Allford was told AHMM was being considered as architect for the scheme, on the basis that the university’s relationship was with Allford alone, and with Wickham van Eyck as partner, the writ alleges.
Allford offered to engage Wickham van Eyck as a sub-consultant with fees agreed on a stage-by-stage payment structure, the writ says.
Wickham van Eyck is now accusing AHMM of unilaterally changing the relationship and of repudiatory breach of agreement, which, the firm alleges, cost its profit share on the scheme.
It is also seeking reimbursement of the costs of staff specifically employed on the project who could not be dismissed until the end of January 2008.
AHMM has consistently refused to identify Wickham van Eyck as author of any part of the design, or give it any credit for its part in the design, it is alleged.
Despite repeated requests, Allford has refused to make any statement acknowledging Wickham van Eyck’s role in winning the competition or producing the design, and the two partners’ feelings have been injured, it is claimed.
Wickham van Eyck is seeking declarations, damages and aggravated damages for breach of the joint-venture agreement, as well as an account of profits, and payment of sums found due.