Robin Partington, the man who pushed Hamiltons to become the seventh largest practice in the UK, is to set up his own firm
The one-time Foster + Partners ace, and the unsung member of the team behind the Gherkin, said he wanted to break free from the 120-strong company he helped to re-invent, adding he had gone ‘as far as he could’ in his eight years at Hamiltons.
Partington told the AJ he wanted to create a new firm with a ‘significant presence’ that would become ‘one of the top 10 design-led practices in the country’.
He said: ‘People have said I am bonkers and it is the worst time to do it, but I’m incredibly optimistic.’
The 49-year-old, who will officially leave Hamiltons in three weeks, said the decision had nothing to do with the recent announcement that the company’s profits had halved.
He said: ‘I will be leaving Hamiltons at a time when the practice is in an excellent, positive financial position to move forward, with a number of new projects having been secured in the UK and overseas.’
Now Partington aims to assemble a team ‘fairly quickly’ in a new office in London – but claimed he had no intention of poaching people from Hamiltons to work with him. He added: ‘The people who joined me from Fosters did so of their own volition, I never went chasing after them.’
Partington, who has worked on a raft of large-scale commercial projects, such as the Strata tower (below), Park House off Oxford Street for Land Sec and the new Farnborough Aviator Hotel (both pictured right), confessed he still had ‘no idea what to call myself’.
Ken Shuttleworth, a former colleague at Foster + Partners, said: ‘I don’t think Robin planned to do this until fairly recently. If he had, he would have done it years ago. But good luck to him. In a way the timing is not too bad, with things improving by the day.’