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Sidell Gibson goes under: ‘We cannot hold out any longer’

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Sidell Gibson Architects have ceased trading and expect to enter liquidation ‘in the next few weeks’

After declining revenues over the last three years, Ron Sidell, who founded the 40 year-old outfit, said the added hit of delays to two major pipeline projects led the practice into voluntary liquidation ‘in the best interests of our staff and creditors’.

‘We cannot hold on any longer,’ said Sidell in a statement.  ‘I personally, together with Cate Thomas and Geoffrey Barrett, have committed significant funds to try and carry Sidell Gibson through the downturn in project income.’

Sidell Gibson’s website became unavailable following the announcement.

The 43-strong practice which had offices in Birmingham and Clerkenwell specialised in office and residential design, hotels and historic buildings and reached as high as 57th in the AJ100 rankings of Britain’s biggest practices in 2010.

However by May this year the firm had slipped to 88th and its annual fee income had dropped to £1.37 million in 2012 from £7.3 million in 2008.

Although long-standing partner Richard Morton left to set up his own business last year, the limited liability partnership still listed six partners and six consultants among its employees. Sidell said that all staff ‘have been fully paid’ with the exception of the partners.

Baker Tilly Management Limited are assisting the practice, which worked alongside Jean Nouvel on One New Change, but have not yet been officially appointed to oversee the liquidation.

Ron Sidell worked on projects ranging from international commercial and banking headquarters buildings in Germany, Spain and France as well as leisure, retail, and hotel developments in Spain and Germany.

The practice had big ambitions and was looking even further afield for new business in Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Sri Lanka and was among several British architects hit by delays to projects in Libya two years ago following its internal conflict.

Ron Sidell was working on the 40-storey Medina tower in Tripoli, but said at the time that UK-based architects should not give up on the country. ‘You just can’t turn your back on a country, even in these terrible times,’ he said.

Since 2000 he was involved with several major projects in the City of London, Westminster, Camden and Hackney. He masterplanned the Paddington Central project for Development Securities, and was responsible for new commissions from Land Securities, Argent, Development Securities, Greycoat, MEPC and other leading institutional and private developers.

In 2009 Sidell Gibson acquired Crouch Butler Architects, a respected  practice based in Birmingham. Sidell Gibson previously worked on local projects including Colmore Row, Brindley Place, Snow Hill and with work under way at the Museum and Art Gallery

Sidell Gibson had also formed an association with John Miller + Partners Architects an award-winning practice specializing in design for arts, education and housing projects.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • This is a very sad day for us all (current and ex-employees of SidGib). I worked at SGP in the in the early noughties - it was a very conducive environment to develop and acquire new skills. The partners were very affable, amenable and always willing to help. The fact that the Principals are making concerted efforts to ensure the current staff are paid in full is a testament.

    I still consider it to be the 'best' Practice I have ever worked in to date.....its such a shame that it had to 'go under'.....

    Fatai Dabiri RIBA
    (SidellGibson employee 2000 to 2003)

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