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AJ100 2010 interview: David Selby, Hopkins Architects

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‘We have also won some great projects, such as Brent Civic Centre, and have a number in the pipeline.’

It’s been a tough year for the entire profession. How have you coped?

We’ve coped reasonably well. Versatility and a diverse portfolio have helped avoid over-reliance on any one sector. We have also won some great projects, such as Brent Civic Centre, and have a number in the pipeline. Some consolidation in staff numbers has been necessary in order to better face the future workload, and we have introduced some more economical ways of team-working, including our administrative and graphics groups.

You’ve reverted back to being a limited liability partnership (LLP) after a period of time as a limited company. Why?

Converting to an LLP is something the practice has given much thought to over several years. We believe the partnership ethos is more appropriate to the way we operate and will provide us with flexibility to introduce new partners as individuals develop within the practice. We have in fact made two new partners and two further associate partners [since reverting].

Which parts of the world is Hopkins working in?

We have now completed four projects in the US, including work at North Arizona, Princeton, Yale and Rice Universities. A further two are in progress. We have an office in Dubai which has been very successful, and is busy seeking new opportunities in the Middle and Far East. In India we are involved in three major sports venues. The first phase of the redevelopment of Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium is complete and a new stadium at Pune recently started on site. We may consider China, too.

You posted great fi nancial results this year. How did you achieve that?

These reflect results for work in Dubai and the US in previous years as well as the UK.

What is the most exciting project Hopkins is working on at the moment?

This must be the VeloPark for the 2012 Olympics - currently our highest profile project and progressing apace on site.

The VeloPark has been praised for its elegant design. How do you feel about its neighbour, Anish Kapoor’s Orbit?

There is a precedent for monumental structures associated with major events such as games and exhibitions. The Orbit could certainly make a powerful addition to London’s skyline and a symbol for the games.

In what state do you think the profession will be in five years?

Leaner, meaner and (hopefully) greener!

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