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Ryder in merger deal with Hyett Salisbury Whitely. . .

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The architectural practice headed up by RIBA presidential candidate Paul Hyett has merged with Newcastle-based Ryder Company in a move which aims to bring Ryder the benefits of presence in the capital and a broader scope of design work. The deal will also provide Hyett with a sound basis on which to launch his assault on the presidency, and the financial wherewithal to go after projects such as his South Bank tunnel idea.

Hyett Salisbury Whitely, in which Hyett is one of the three main partners in charge of a staff of 15, has joined forces with the 40-strong Tyneside outfit.The new expanded group will be known simply as Ryder, with Hyett becoming chairman and Ryder directors Peter Buchan and Mark Thompson keeping their old titles. HSW partner Adam Whiteley becomes one of four architectural directors of the new-look Ryder, but Ian Salisbury has chosen to set up a financially independent company specialising in legal work.Some of that work will be 'in association with Ryder'. Salisbury said the deal was 'amicable and mutually advantageous'and that his new firm will probably be called Ian Salisbury and Co.

It will deal in arbitration, mediation, adjudication and expert witness work, while Salisbury will continue as architect for Pembroke College and will shortly start as architect for Leicester Cathedral.

Buchan and Thompson said the merger talks had begun before they heard of Hyett's presidency plans, but admitted that if he wins it would be a bonus in terms of perceptions within the profession for Ryder.

Thompson said they had sought out a high-profile presence in the capital and had approached six firms before contacting HSW in June. 'We wanted to concentrate on design and a lot of our work is in the South East, 'he said.

HSW had likewise been approached by two other larger firms who wanted to merge.Hyett said he could see the 'empathy, sympathy and synergy'in the Ryder Company deal and is content over the loss of name.'I'm a believer in teams and was happy with that.We were already moving to HSW to anonymise it anyway, 'he said.Hyett added that Ryder had shown 'a no-nonsense business approach to the activity of architecture'and that the experience may enhance his prospects of becoming RIBA president since it would give him a regional spread.'This can only add strength to the presidency bid. I can only serve the profession better.'

The deal - which Ryder stressed was a merger, not a buyout - was signed last week and will lead to recruitment, rather than redundancies.

Currently the Newcastle company takes 60 per cent of its fees from London work and significant schemes include business parks in South Yorkshire, Manchester and Plymouth. Ryder was founded in 1950 as Ryder and Yates, becoming Ryder Nicklin Partnership in 1984 and the Ryder Company in 1994.On HSW's books are projects such as the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture in Islington, a series of primary schools and a conversion of a John Nash terrace in Regent's Park.Hyett is also meeting South Bank masterplanner Rick Mather next week over his 'South Bank Station'tunnel/link plan.'I have been creating opportunities I simply can't develop, 'he said.'They have a wider range of people with a wider skill base.They can come in behind me and that [the tunnel] is one such project.'

Hyett plans to spend two days a week in Newcastle. Currently he spends about two days a week on RIBA business as vice president of education but would give up institute work if he fails to win the presidency.

He has put aside about £15,000 for the campaign, which he began last week with a talk to the Camden Society of Architects.

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