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Olympics boost client enquiries despite gag order

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Practices involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games have reported an upsurge in work as a direct result of their involvement, despite LOCOG’s punitive marketing ban.

More than 40 practices have helped design the showcase venues, the Olympic Park and the Athletes’ Village, but only those who paid to sponsor the event are allowed to shout about their successes.

Even so, practices like David Morley Architects, Eric Parry Architects and Hopkins Architects have reported increased interest in their work.

Andy Mytom, partner at David Morley Architects, said: ‘We’ve definitely seen a boost in enquiries and hope that this will continue and increase post-Games.’

Mike Taylor, senior partner at Hopkins Architects, which designed the 2011 Stirling Prize-shortlisted Velodrome, said: ‘Off the back of our London 2012 experience we have formed a business venture with Ron Webb, who designed and built the track in Stratford, and as a consequence we are in early discussions with several countries interested in building velodromes.’

The Games have also helped some firms get a toehold in new areas. Zaha Hadid Architects said its capacity to tender for sports architecture ‘has been enhanced’ by its involvement in designing the Aquatics Centre.

Nick Jackson, a director at Eric Parry Architects, added: ‘[The Athletes’ Village] gave us an opportunity to work in a sector we did not have wide experience of – large multiple housing. While we have not been able to directly market our work at the Athletes’ Village, the park has received a lot of exposure, particularly to the UK construction industry, and we have had opportunities and won significant residential work elsewhere in the UK as a consequence of it.’

However, not everyone involved has yet felt the benefit.

Susan Carruth, associate at Piercy Connor, another Olympic Village architect, said: ‘We haven’t experienced any direct increase in enquiries or workload as a result of the Games because we haven’t been able to advertise our involvement. We’re hoping that will come in time.’

Other comments:

Jonathan Kendall, partner, Fletcher Priest Architects
‘We don’t have people directly approaching us - not least because of all the constraints in place - but when we do get the chance to talk to people the experience has been phenominally helpful and people are incredibly interested in it. It has both directly and indirectly led to work in the UK and internationally.
‘What’s particular about our experiene is the longevity of the inolvemnent from before the bid. People are particularly interested in how we’ve been able to cope with complex change and mulitple clients - which has been a strong characteristic of the project.’

Mark Rowe, partner at Penoyre & Prasad
‘It’s hard to quantify the influence that a particular project has it’s definitely a positive when we go out and talk to clients. One of the things the marketing protocol does get right is that it does enable you to talk about the work and provide references from your clients and so on. It’s particularly beneficial when pitching to overseas clients.’

A spokeswoman for Stanton Williams
‘We have seen a steady increase in enquiries over previous years. However, we feel that our involvement in the London 2012 Olympic Games has so far only had a very limited effect on our workload.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The higher profile architects like Hopkins and ZHA are clearly and publicly linked with the Olympics despite the gagging orders. It is the many other lesser known architects, consultants and suppliers who need to be able to promote their work on Olympic projects to benefit not just themselves but the UK economy.

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