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Pilbrow parts company with PLP

Fred Pilbrow, one of the ‘breakway five’ who controversially quit US giant KPF in 2009 to form PLP Architecture, has left to set up on his own

The architect hopes to have a 15-strong, commercially-led practice ‘up and running’ by the beginning of March.

Pilbrow jumped ship from KPF with long-term colleagues Lee Polisano, David Leventhal, Karen Cook and Ron Bakker in an acrimonious split following a failed management buyout (AJ 23.09.2009).

However he insisted that there had been ‘no animosity’ in his decision to leave and start afresh.

He said: ‘We wasted time and effort with the KPF/PLP [split]. Hopefully this will show you don’t need to fall out to do this kind of [operation].’

Pilbrow said he would be joined by a senior team from PLP at his new outfit Pilbrow and Partners. The architect, who has been working on the Crossrail over-site development at Bond Street station in Mayfair, hopes some clients would also join him but admits that convincing some to swap their design team for a second time in three years ‘may try [their] patience’.

Explaining the timing for the move Pilbrow added: ‘I’m at the right age to give it a go. I can’t say I was unhappy at KPF. But at PLP I had a much less passive role and found out I was OK at networking and getting out and about.

‘Now I want to take that experience and follow a similar trajectory to PLP while I still have the energy to seize the moment.’

Fred Pilbrow (right) and his PLP co-founders in 2009

Fred Pilbrow (right) and his PLP co-founders in 2009

Pilbrow, who will initially work from an office in Farringdon, added: ‘This isn’t about the fame and the glory. It actually feels like jumping out of a plane. You could crash and burn or your parachute could open and find yourself in a kernel of new opportunities.’

Although Pilbrow did not work on the Pinnacle tower – the KPF City of London skyscraper which stalled and is currently being eyed by a glut of possible new backers – he said he would not be shy about throwing his ‘hat into the ring’.

He told the AJ: ‘I’d love to have a look at it’.

He also said he would be looking to enter competitions to help raise the profile of his fledgling practice

A spokeswoman for PLP Architecture said: ‘Fred has worked with the four of us for over 15 years and has been a much valued colleague.  We will be sorry to see him go, but wish him all the very best for the future.’  

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