James Berry, the ex-HOK, Skanska and British Rail architect, has joined global giant Woods Bagot to spearhead the outfit’s expansion into the transport sector
The former director of management and operations at HOK, who was made redundant from the practice in September, has re-emerged on the architectural scene as Woods Bagot’s director of public, transportation and institutional.
Speaking to the AJ, Berry said he had ruled out going it alone and had opted to join Woods Bagot to concentrate on the large-scale projects - schemes that only become available while working ‘at one of the major players’.
Berry said: ‘I want to build on Woods Bagot’s track record on transportation. There are huge opportunities over the coming decade in new and improved transportation infrastructure across the globe.’
Based in London, Berry also wanted to expand the company’s remit into the public sector, adding that although revenue was likely to reduce he wanted the practice to position ‘itself for long-term gain’.
However Berry said he had no hidden agenda to change the perception of Woods Bagot, ‘even if he could’ commenting: ‘The practice is on a trajectory that appeals to me.
’As I outlined in my Royal Academy speech Architectural practices have struggled to be of a sufficient size and have sufficient resources to contribute to research and development.
‘But Woods Bagot has made that investment in research, creating a knowledge base that supports design, where many haven’t.’
Asked whether he was worried of being made redundant again, Berry said: ‘Architects should be under no illusions the next 12-18 months will be tough.
‘But Woods Bagot is looking at different global regions [and diverse projects] and also investing for the future - for a time when things improve.’