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Alsop set to quit RMJM

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Will Alsop is on the verge of quitting RMJM less than two years after joining the company, the AJ understands

According to rumours the starchitect has called a crunch meeting with RMJM bosses Peter and Fraser Morrison to discuss his departure from the AJ100 practice.

It is also understood that Alsop (pictured left, with Peter Morrison) is poised to throw his weight behind a new partnership with fellow RMJM principal Scott Lawrie.

The new practice, which is allegedly already registered at Companies House, will operate out of Alsop’s existing studios in Battersea, south London.

His departure – just 21 months after joining RMJM from rival Archial (AJ online 01.10.09) – is the most high profile in a spate of recent desertions, and coincides with RMJM’s financial problems.

In August last year, five of RMJM’s key figures, including the chief executive of its Asia and Middle East operations, left to set up their own studio in Hong Kong. In March, 35 workers at RMJM’s Hong Kong office moved across to work for Aedas.

The decision to leave RMJM and rebrand marks yet another twist in the ongoing saga of Alsop’s practice, which has undergone six name changes since its genesis in 1981.

His first office, Alsop and Lyall, lasted a decade before becoming Alsop and Störmer, after Alsop’s Architectural Association classmate John Lyall left and was replaced by Jan Störmer.

Alsop then founded Alsop Architects in 2000, but six years later was forced to sell the practice to SMC Group due to financial difficulties. The outfit was then rebranded as SMC Alsop Architects.

After another name change to Alsop Sparch, he left SMC (then Archial) in August 2009 under the ruse that he was retiring to concentrate on painting. Two months later, he became international design principal at RMJM and opened his current Will Alsop at RMJM office.

It is understood Alsop – who is an RMJM employee – will seek to negotiate an amicable transfer of projects to his new studio. Work won during his service at RMJM includes a residential sector for Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and subway stations in Canada.

Alsop declined to comment.


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