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Masterplanner EDAW makes shock move into architecture

International masterplanner EDAW has made a shock move into architecture after taking on two leading architects from Arup.

The surprise appointments will mean the huge urban design practice will now offer a full architectural service in addition to the masterplanning services it has become known for.

Joining the company's London office will be ex-Arup practice principals Graham Goymour (pictured left) and Jonathan Rose.

EDAW claim the decision is in part a response to developers' demands for the practice 'to put their money where their mouth is' and deliver the quality of buildings insisted on in its masterplan.

It is understood the new 'architecture' arm, which will work in tandem with other services, has already got its eye on 'a couple of projects'.

Newly promoted EDAW chief operating officer Bill Hanway, himself a qualified architect in America, said: 'People will raise their eyebrows and ask, 'Does EDAW think it will take on more and more of the market share?'

'But we are not looking to compete with the great and the good.'

Hanway hopes the expanded practice will be able to take on 'some of the bigger regeneration issues' and in particular address the problems of providing family housing at high density.

He added: 'One of the things we want to do is work with the higher volume housebuilders and help enhance and evolve their current building prototypes in terms of design quality and sustainability'.

The EDAW chief, however, insists that the move will not give the Olympic masterplanners a backdoor into designing buildings within the London 2012 park area.

Hanway also talked down any suggestion that the 'architecture' would give EDAW a clear branding.

He said: 'One of the criticisms that EDAW gets is that there is no recognisable 'style' to our work and therefore we are hard to brand in a typical design context.

'Rather than a negative, we see this as strong reflection that our work is based on a process and methodology that is fundamentally about finding a unique and appropriate solution within a very specific context.

'This methodology seeks to combine design issues with socio-economic considerations, environmental responsibility and the local community.

'I see our architecture evolving out of this same approach. It is without a doubt that Jonathan and Graham will influence our masterplan work, but it will evolve out of this process rather than having a brand applied,' he concluded.

by Richard Waite

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