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Steffian Bradley’s UK office goes under six months after main US firm closes

Health and Care Unbuilt Winner: University College London Hospitals, Phase 5 by Steffian Bradley Architects with Pilbrow and Partners
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Healthcare specialist Steffian Bradley Architects’ UK practice has entered administration six months after the main US firm shut down

The collapse brings to an end 87 years of the Steffian Bradley name in architecture.

In April, Boston-based Steffian Bradley Incorporated was wound up with the loss of about 120 jobs in the US and Canada but the separate UK practice vowed to carry on.

Now the UK practice director Rob Cole has told the AJ that the firm can no longer continue to operate. ‘Back in April, the US practice closed,’ he said. ‘We’ve continued to trade here in the UK. That has proved difficult. Yesterday (24 October) we went into administration – I can confirm that.’

He said the practice, which is based in London’s Clerkenwell, was hoping to move some of its existing projects to another architect.

‘We are continuing to work with a number of clients to transfer a number of contracts and staff into another UK-based practice. So not everything here is being lost,’ he explained, adding that the identity of this practice would be announced ‘in a matter of days’.

The staff had been told but he couldn’t reveal when they were first informed. ‘We had 11 employees in total, the large proportion [were] ARB registered,’ he said.

The practice’s listing at Companies House shows only two registered directors as ‘active’: Cole who is British and Keith Millay, an American, both of whom are described as ‘stockholder’ on the practice’s website.

Cole, who has been at the practice for seven years, was also unable to confirm or deny whether the Steffian Bradley staff would be paid, or whether the practice had outstanding debts.

Speaking to the AJ about the practice’s demise, Cole said: ‘We’ve always had a good reputation and relationship with clients. It is a very sad day.’ Asked if he could discuss what had gone wrong, he replied: ‘Not now, it’s all very raw … we are working on a plan’ for what happens next.’

The US practice was launched in 1932 by Ted Steffian as a one-man architecture studio in the centre of Boston. In 1965 it became known as Steffian, Steffian and Bradley after Ted’s son Peter and another partner Tony Bradley joined, before reverting to Steffian Bradley in 1972 when Ted retired.

In 2000, the practice opened an independent office in London which was incorporated as a separate company in 2001.

Among the UK practice’s best-known schemes were the Oxford Churchill Hospital, cancer centre (2009) and its Halo Building, Pathology Hub in Euston Road near King’s Cross, which was shortlisted for the AJ 2019 Retrofit Awards.

As well as healthcare, the London office specialised in health sciences, residential and commercial projects.

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