Ryder's track record in creating innovative industrial buildings on tight budgets can be traced back to early projects for pharmaceutical giant Searle and British Gas in the 1960s. The firm's philosophy has always been to create no-nonsense simple and functional architecture.
The Engineering Research Station designed for British Gas in 1965 was designed as a 'playpen for adults'. A multi-award winner in its day, the building is now listed Grade 3*. Part manufacturing and part research and development, the flexibility of the building has allowed it to adapt easily to its present use as offices for the local authority.
The 25,000m2 factory for Vickers in Tyneside was seen by its chief executive as a unique opportunity to completely change working practices and culture - a theme which has been common to most subsequent projects.
Office staff are housed in a simple extension of the factory space and cross the factory floor to reach their desks. The building received both riba and Civic Trust honours.
A sister building was created in Leeds following Vickers' purchase of the former Royal Ordinance Factory.
A new plant for Alvis followed in Coventry, but perhaps the most developed example of integrated manufacturing, research and development with offices is the Pilkington Optronics building in Glasgow which was also honoured by both the riba and the Civic Trust.
Recent major projects include work for gkn in the Midlands and heavy- engineering group Brown Brothers in Edinburgh.