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Geoffrey Reid shifts focus onto research in overhaul

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Bosses at Geoffrey Reid Associates in London have ordered each of the practice's 30 senior architects to produce two pieces of published research a year in a bid to reposition it as a centre of design and technical innovation. The demand, similar to that imposed on university lecturers, is part of an overhaul of the way the practice works, which chairman Geoffrey Reid said will distinguish it from its competitors, such as Broadway Malyan, Gensler and Aukett Europe.

The selected architects have formed a full-time team of 'concept coaches' who will conduct new research as well as give advice on each of the practice's projects. The overhaul, which the practice has dubbed 'knowledge-led architecture', also includes moves to explicitly categorise other architects in the practice as specialists in different building types or particular areas of technology. Project teams will be assembled from these specialist pools under the new structure, which director Bob Dalziel describes as a move away from the model of architect-as-hero exemplified by figures such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

Reid said the emphasis on research and specialisation of staff will improve the practice's fees 'either through the improved perception of our ability or through greater productivity'. The approach will also help the firm win work advising property developers, which Reid said can net fees worth double those from design work.

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