Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and PRP have become the latest practices to open new offices in China as British architects continue to win huge commissions across the country
On the back of a growing workload in the Far East, including the huge housing development in Changfeng, RSHP has decided to set up an outpost in Shanghai
More than half of the practice’s work is now overseas said RSHP partner Lennart Grut, who described the move as ‘demonstrating a long-term commitment to working in this dynamic and exciting part of the world’.
He said: ‘If you are looking at the balance of the world at the moment, China is by far the most active in terms of development. And there is room for everyone.
‘The country is advancing at a speed that is extraordinary. You have to choose your clients carefully but I’ve no hesitation about working in China at this time.’
‘Every couple of days you hear somebody else is setting up in China’, Tremeer
PRP, which already has run a studio in Chongqing for the last six years, has also confirmed it has opened a new office in Beijing.
Richard Tremeer at PRP, said: ‘Every couple of days you hear somebody else is setting up in China. There is a very high demand for British practices. It is a vast country and there is a vast amount of work, but competition is increasing.’
Tremeer said his practice was looking at tall mixed-use schemes and masterplans, including one for a university campus in Shanghai, said: ‘[This shift] is an important phenomenon. You can’t afford not to have an office there to work in China and I can’t see why other British practices would not go there.
‘Yet there a very real work but it is a steep learning curve and you need to be connected.’
Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre, which has recently revealed its proposals for the Beijing Metro and is potentially looking to open an office in Hong Kong in addition to its Shanghai studio said: ‘Though there is absolutely masses of work in China it can be very hazardous in a way. ‘You do get paid, but it takes a long time and you have to have a Chinese bank account. To do that you have to be registered which can take about a year.
‘Once you are paid you have to wait for the Inland Revenue to tax the money which can take several months.’
He added: ‘We were lucky to win a big international contest out there, but following it up is not quite so easy.’
Benoy, David Chipperfield Architects and Mossessian and Partners have all opened offices
in Shanghai in recent years.
Benoy, David Chipperfield Architects and Mossessian and Partners have all opened offices in Shanghai in recent years.