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Argent: ‘Keep doing what you're good at and we will find you’

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David Partridge, managing partner at Argent, on the importance of good design in their developments

Who are you working with on live projects currently?
At King’s Cross, we have schemes under way with Eric Parry, Demetri Porphyrios, Bennetts Associates, Niall McLaughlin, David Morley and Stanton Williams. New buildings coming on stream in the next 12 months are being designed by Michel Mossessian, Duggan Morris, Piercy & Co, Thomas Heatherwick, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Fumihiko Maki and Michael Squire.

In Birmingham we are developing two new buildings with Glenn Howells and Eric Parry.

How will you recruit architects for the next schemes in your development pipeline?
We are already working with the likes of Cartwright Pickard, AEW, FaulknerBrowns and 5Plus Architects in Manchester, and are looking to widen our net. We recently held a joint charrette with the AJ, which threw up some very interesting ideas.

Usually we will hold a short, limited competition for new projects as they come forward with the aim of finding the right design team, not necessarily the right scheme – that will emerge later as we refine the brief together.

What role will architects and architecture play in Argent’s bids to win future projects such as Brent Cross Cricklewood South?
Again, good design, firmly rooted in the new place we are looking to create will be fundamental to all of Argent’s future projects.

For our Brent Cross South bid, we have sketched out some initial ideas with Allies and Morrison, Glenn Howells, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Townshend Landscape Architects, the firm which designed Pancras Square in London’s King’s Cross.

Why has architecture been important to the growth of Argent so far?
Argent has always believed that good design is fundamental to good development. It starts with a common understanding of what it takes to create a ‘human city’, collaborating with urban designers and practices which approach building design from a contextual stance, working from the outside in, at the same time as from the inside out.

What advice would you give new practices seeking to work with Argent?
We are always open to working with new talent. My suggestion is to keep on doing what you are good at – actions always speak louder than words, and we will find you eventually.

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