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Ian Simpson Architects to rebrand to recognise Rachel Haugh

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Manchester-based heavyweight Ian Simpson Architects (ISA) is set for a major rebrand - finally adding the name of its joint co-founder Rachel Haugh over the door

The 27-year-old practice has asked Companies House to change its name to Simpson Haugh and Partners in recognition of Haugh’s long-term contribution and financial commitment to the 93-strong outfit which she helped set up in 1987.

In early 2011 Haugh together with well-known practice figurehead Ian Simpson pumped £500,000 of their own money into the limited company to ease cash flow problems as it struggled to find work.

At the time Simpson said he had ‘unflinching confidence in the future of the practice’ and the skyscraper-specialist has since seen its workload balloon, with a raft of major wins in Manchester (Ian Simpson wins contest for Granada Studios overhaul) and the commission for the first phase of the Battersea power station redevelopment.

The practice said a ‘formal release’ about the rebrand would be made before the end of the year but said that the ‘name change publically acknowledged the unique and significant contribution that co-founding partner, Haugh, has made to the successful growth of the practice.’

A statement released by ISA added: ‘The name also reflects the anticipated wider ownership of the practice, and recognises the practice’s senior leadership team, so vital to supporting Ian and Rachel in developing the next phase of the practice’s evolution.’

Later this week the practice will find out whether a 91-flat, 11-storey apartment scheme in Tariff Street, Manchester city centre will be approved.

Rachel Haugh on Rachel Haugh (from January 2012)

WHY YOU BECAME AN ARCHITECT? I was introduced to three books as a child, namely Peter Blake’s monographs on Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. The books are in our office library

BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION? It was suggested to me early in my career that I would become part of ‘the velvet trouser brigade’, a direct reference to the persistent and sad misconception that women are best dealing with the more cosmetic aspects of architecture

WHY WOMEN LEAVE? The extent of commitment required and the classic female ‘juggle’ of family and career. Apart from the obvious effect of stepping out of the profession at a key time to have children, it’s very difficult to balance the demands of a family with leading an architectural project where an immediate response may be required five days (at least) a week. Inevitably, women often fall into a supporting role, which generates greater flexibility, but also frustration in terms of career advancement

WHAT WOULD MAKE THEM STAY? Removing the expectation that good work can only be produced by working long, anti-social hours

CURRENT CHALLENGE? Preconceptions about women and their role, held by the construction industry in general

BEST DEFENCE AGAINST SEXISM? Ignore it and do your job to the best of your ability

INSPIRATION Jane Drew visited my university and, as a student, I found her captivating. Against all odds – she paid her fees at the AA by teaching French in the evening, then found it difficult to find architectural work as many practices did not employ women – she designed and built outstanding pieces of architecture across the world

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED? The poem If by Rudyard Kipling, which ironically ends with: ‘And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!’

Previous story (AJ 14.01.11)

Ian Simpson directors dig into own pockets

The directors of Ian Simpson Architects have told the AJ of their ‘unflinching confidence in the future of the practice’ after pumping £500,000 into the limited company

Accounts lodged with Companies House this week reveal that Ian Simpson and Rachel Haugh introduced ‘additional funding’ as a loan to the limited company in the 2009-2010 financial year.

Speaking to the AJ, Ian Simpson said: ‘We are ultimately responsible for the practice and we needed to move the cashflow forward.

‘We had been quite solvent – and the practice had money in the bank – but it has been a very difficult last two-and-a-half-years. The next 12 months will be equally difficult, but we only need one or two of our projects to move to the next stage then we would be in the position of not having enough staff.’

Between March 2009 and March 2010 the practice dropped in size from 71 staff to 49, however, it is understood nine people have since joined the Manchester-based outfit.

Although the limited company’s pre-tax profits fell from £222,000 in 2009 to a £35,000 loss, the group actually made an overall profit with the sister vehicle, Ian Simpson Architects (Partnership) LLP, reporting a £380,000 profit.

Simpson said the practice had a number of projects in the pipeline, and was hopeful of further work in the capital.

He said: ‘Some of our larger proposals are now starting to generate fee income such as the Manchester town hall extension and the Antwerp concert hall.

‘It’s tough out there but we have been invited to do a number of competitions in London.

‘It will take a couple of years for the rest of the country to catch up and for new, major developments in Manchester.

‘But London is a different country.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I am absolutely delighted to hear this news, and hope that the re-brand brings vast rewards.

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