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AHMM lands contest to overhaul former Guardian HQ

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Burgeoning practice AHMM has landed another high-profile London scheme - the redevelopment of the former Guardian building in Farringdon

The company, which now employs nearly 250 staff, saw off bids by Eric Parry Architects, Bennetts Associates and Bogle Architects to win the project for client investor, Viridis Real Estate.

AHMM has seen its turnover and staff grow nearly 40 per cent over the last 12 months and earlier this year the outfit burst into the AJ100 top ten for the first time in its history (AJ 08.05.2013). The practice is working on a clutch of much-anticipated projects around the capital, including the redevelopment of BBC Television Centre in Shepherd’s Bush and Google’s HQ at King’s Cross.

The team for the scheme at 119 Farringdon Road includes structural engineers AKT II, service engineers Grontmij and cost consultants Gardiner & Theobald.

The Guardian newspaper moved out of the block in 2008 into a new home within Kings Place at King’s Cross designed by architects Dixon Jones.

Previous schemes for the site include HKR Architects’ £45 million Wave development (AJ 09.06.2008), which was heavily criticised by CABE for being ‘too bulky and monumental’ (8 August 2008) and subsequently rejected by London Mayor Boris Johnson in March 2009 (see below).

HKR's previous proposal for the former Guardian building in Farringdon

AHMM co-founder Paul Monaghan said the designs were still at an early stage and the team was looking at who would occupy the building when it completes in three years’ time.

He said: ‘This is going to be one of the key parts of central London, especially when the Farringdon Crossrail station opens. But it is hard to predict how this area will change. Who is going to be there?

‘That’s what makes this scheme interesting.’

Speaking about the practice’s impressive growth, Monaghan added: ‘We’ve got a good balance of work and people. Normally you have too many or too few of both.

‘We’ve had a good run. But we don’t take on work just to make turnover. It has been slow growth so it doesn’t feel like we have suddenly ballooned - and we don’t have an ambition to be 1,000 people.’





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