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Glasgow's new practices: Marc Kilkenny Architects

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The AJ takes a look at Glasgow’s emerging architects, discovering how they have adapted and stayed motivated in a procurements system designed for big practices

Who are you?
Marc Kilkenny established the practice and Christine Halliday joined shortly after. We have since been joined by Daniel Smith, formally of Page\Park, and Part 1 student Massimo Sannino.

When did you set up?
February 2012.

What was your breakthrough project?
Winning a competition to convert an old school in Dublin into a workspace for advertising agency Boys and Girls. This project allowed us to collaborate with our client, craftspeople and artists, and complete a successful project in a short space of time.  

Clydebank community sports hub 2

Clydebank community sports hub 2

Clydebank Community Sports Hub

What are you currently working on?
A £2.6 million community sports hub in Clydebank; we start on site in April. We also have a water-sports centre at feasibility stage, an office fit-out nearing completion, residential work and the conservation and adaptation of a castle. 

How hopeful are you about your prospects as a young architect in Glasgow?
We are a mix of Glasgow born and Glasgow adopted and we love the city. I am a natural optimist and we enjoy what we do, so I am very hopeful.  

What is the biggest challenge facing your practice?
Risk-averse, cost-over-quality government procurement rules, and funding mechanisms that drive fees to incredibly low levels. Fee payments are reportedly often deferred for months or even years until financial close is reached.  

It is the responsibility of all architects not to devalue the profession by engaging in a suicidal race to the bottom 

How will you ensure you remain profitable?
By not working for free and by charging reasonable fees that allow us to provide a proper service and take pride in what we produce. It is the responsibility of all architects not to devalue the profession by engaging in a suicidal race to the bottom when things get tough.  

Which architects inspire you?
Marc, who is Irish, is inspired by O’Donnell + Tuomey and Grafton Architects. We’re also inspired by Greek Thomson, Mackintosh and Gillespie Kidd & Coia.

Boys and girls 9

Boys and girls 9

Staircase for ad agency Boys and Girls, Dublin, by Marc Kilkenny Architects

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