Award-winning Scottish architecture firm Aitken Turnbull has opened a new architectural studio in the centre of Manchester – the first time in its 137-year history that the firm has created a ‘physical presence’ south of the border. The move to open in the North-West of England is in response to a surge in demand from a growing client base along the M62 corridor and what it sees are innumerable development opportunities for its range of architectural services.


With the level of development in Manchester set to accelerate in the next few years and a growing list of neighbouring regeneration hotspots unfolding across the North-West of England, the Practice is keen to continue to expand its design led, knowledge-driven approach which, until now has been served from one of its three Scottish studios in Edinburgh, Galashiels, and Dumfries.


Indeed, Aitken Turnbull has operated across Southern and Central Scotland since Victorian times. Throughout its history, it has grown by opening new studios where there has been a requirement to do so, enabling the Practice to engage with local communities and invest in the employment of its people.


As Alasdair Rankin, Managing Director of Aitken Turnbull explains, the last five years have seen a marked increase in the practice’s English based work primarily through its workspace team.


“Three years ago, we started looking seriously at opening our first English studio, given the amount of work coming to us from south of the border. We then analysed local and regional markets, looking for areas where the workload and growth suited our experience and expertise. The work across Northern England, specifically along the M62 corridor was a good fit for us. As we looked more closely, we felt Leeds and Manchester both had opportunities to explore further.


“Manchester stood out as an excellent fit for us. Our approach and culture tied in with what we had encountered. It also complements our current studio provision. Eastern England is already easily accessible from our Edinburgh and Galashiels studios and Manchester’s sphere of influence, reaching north to the Lake District and Cumbria meets our studio in Dumfries, covering the South-West of Scotland. Besides, I have been inspired by the potential and ambition of Manchester’s role as the heartbeat of the Northern Powerhouse initiative.”


The growth sectors in Manchester align with the sectors we specialise in; living, health, workspace, community, leisure, and industrial allowing us to bring our experience to this vibrant and exciting city and region.”


Aitken Turnbull’s final decision to open a studio in Manchester was taken following a series of project wins in the North of England. The practice is currently working on a major refurbishment and fit out project for Lloyds Banking Group in Halifax and having a studio in Manchester gives its team easy access to the Yorkshire site.


Aitken Turnbull confirmed it also has an exciting pipeline of work in and around Manchester that it is anticipating will start soon which rubber-stamps a commitment to a physical presence in the city.


Alasdair Rankin concluded,
“Aitken Turnbull’s focus is on sustained growth through genuine commitment to clients and communities. We feel there are further opportunities for us to expand in the coming years, but right now we’re focused on establishing a vibrant studio in this exciting and growing city.”


Aitken Turnbull’s new studio will be located at Spaces, Peter House in Oxford Street, Manchester.


Written by Kevin Dorrian

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