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Sheppard Robson to maintain 'long-term' Abu Dhabi presence

Sheppard Robson partner Alan Shingler has said the practice will remain in Abu Dhabi for the long term – and could start growing its team there this year

The London-based firm, which also has offices in Manchester and Glasgow, opened its first overseas outpost in Abu Dhabi in late 2010.

It quickly won the competition to design the 20,000m² Siemens offices at Masdar City (pictured), which started on site a few weeks ago.

Shingler said Sheppard Robson was waiting to hear the result of two bids for other projects in the emirate, and was also assessing opportunities elsewhere in the Middle East.

He told the AJ: ‘I would like to see our Abu Dhabi office grow. We are committed to the region in the long term.

‘There is a good chance we will recruit to the Abu Dhabi office this year, if the job requires it. It could be someone we relocate from London, or it could be local recruitment.’

Abu Dhabi appeals for two reasons, Shingler said.

‘First, it has a long-term vision. Despite the changes over the past two or three years, it has a masterplan and design guidelines, which is very positive.

‘Second, Abu Dhabi has a good appetite for sustainable economic development, which fits into our focus on efficiency in all aspects of building design, from cost to carbon use.’

He said opening an office in the Middle East had been a crucial step in achieving success in the region.

‘In that part of the world it is critical,’ he said. ‘Why would a client take a chance with a UK-based architect over one that has a presence on the ground they can speak to every day?

‘Also, if you don’t have intelligence on the ground then you face an uphill battle to win work against those who do.’

Sheppard Robson was placed twelfth in the 2010 AJ100, and had 104 UK-based architects.

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