World-famous Dutch practice Mecanoo is to open a London office
Mecanoo’s financial director, Peter Haasbroek, told the Architects’ Journal that the firm’s growing workload in and around the UK capital including its masterplan for the regeneration of Thamesmead on behalf of Peabody had prompted the move.
The firm’s new director of urban design Elad Eisenstein – who has joined from Arup – will run the office supported by associate director Adam Peavoy. It will seek work particularly in the housing, public building, masterplanning and cultural sectors.
Haasbroek said: ‘London is of course a place we love to work and we have a few clients there. As well as the project in Thamesmead for Peabody, we’re working with the Barbican and also close to London on a scheme with the University of Cambridge.
‘London is one of the capitals of the world – especially for the creative industries. We already have an office in Manchester but we think we can bring something new and fresh to the London market with our Dutch experience.
‘We’re looking for a [permanent] office space and we will have a flexible space for the next three months or so. By the end of the year, we should have between five and ten staff in London.’
Haasbroek said that an application for outline planning for the 1,900 home Thamesmead project – which it has developed alongside Proctor & Matthews – would be submitted at the end of the month adding that Mecanoo hopes to continue working on the scheme’s development.
‘We like to do a project from start to ribbon-cutting,’ he said.
Asked about the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union in June, Haasbroek said this had not been a consideration in deciding whether to open a London office.
He said: ‘It is not on our minds. We feel Europe is a strong entity whether you are in the EU or not. The UK does need to have a solid, strong and good relationship both with the Netherlands and with the rest of Europe.’
Mecanoo was founded in 1984 as a practice focused on social housing. It’s Delft headquarters now employs more than 140 people and it has offices in New York, Washington DC and Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as well as Manchester.