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AJ100 Fastest Growing Practice: Rolfe Judd

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Eighty-seven to sixty-three. That 24-place jump up the AJ100 rankings tells a story in itself as the international firm of architects, town planners and interior designers ended 2010 with over a third more architects on its payroll than it had at the start of the year

Rolfe Judd now employs 36 qualified architects in the UK out of a total 82 UK-based workforce, with a further 12 qualified architects working overseas. Its fees per architect (for work done out of its UK office) average at £151,861 per UK qualified architect, compared to a median rate of £127,321 across the AJ100 practices.

One of the engines behind this rapid growth is a suite of planning permissions won last year in Hackney, Harrow and Croydon, including 79 homes on former Ministry of Defence land at Douglas Close. The scheme, which has been developed on behalf of Notting Hill Housing Association, was designed by Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects and includes 24 houses and 55 apartments, with 50 per cent of the
total number of habitable rooms classed as affordable.

In addition, the practice won planning permission from the London Borough of Hackney for two sites at Woodberry Down for the delivery of 346 new homes within the first phase of one of the capital’s largest regeneration projects; Kick Start Sites Four and Five will deliver a range of affordable and open market housing with commercial units provided at ground floor within high-quality sustainable buildings.

Rolfe Judd may not be as high in the ranks as in the pre-crash glory days when the firm sat at number 36 (2006, when the practice employed 52 architects), but watch this space, this fastest growing practice is climbing back up the charts.

Rolfe Judd

The South London-based practice has shot 24 places up the table, officially making it the fastest-growing practice in the AJ100 rankings. Having felt ‘much of the pain in 2008–2009’, the outfit ‘recruited aggressively’ during the last 12 months, swelling the number of architects
on its books by an incredible 38 per cent. This growth was underpinned by an increase in workload in large-scale, residential-led regeneration projects.

Among its key undertakings is a commission from retailer Sainsbury’s for a mixed-use scheme at Nine Elms in London.

Another significant project is Westminster Business Square in Vauxhall, which in 2010 was granted full planning permission and conservation-area consent by Lambeth Council, subject to the completion of a Section 106 agreement. The permission is for 6,740m2 of office accommodation and a café/restaurant.

In addition, recent site starts in both London and Poland have provided ‘very welcome security’ for the future of the business.

The shortlist

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Broadway Malyan
Feilden + Mawson
John McAslan + Partners
John Thompson and Partners
Rolfe Judd


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