October 4, 2009
by Canadian Architect
Will Alsop, the internationally acclaimed British architect who is responsible for the design of high profile and award winning buildings in Toronto including the Sharp Centre for Design, is to once again focus his attention on winning work in the city which he describes as his spiritual home.
Alsop – who designed the iconic Sharp Centre for Design and is responsible for revitalizing neighbourhoods with hip residential developments including The Will Alsop collection at King Towns near King Street and Westside Gallery Lofts near Queen West – has announced he is to create a studio called Will Alsop at RMJM, as part of the RMJM worldwide architecture firm. His studio, based in London, UK, will seek to win ambitious commissions internationally and Alsop has expressed his intention to focus particularly on Toronto.
Alsop worked extensively in Toronto since the year 2000 after winning his first project, the Sharp Centre for Design, which picked up the prestigious RIBA Worldwide Projects Award and increased the number of applications to study at the Centre, part of the Ontario College of Art and Design, by 300%. Another of his designs, for a major office and event space at the Filmport film studio project in Toronto, is currently under construction. However, his last commission in Ontario was awarded in 2006 after he sold his own practice to the SMC Group (now Archial) in order to devote his time to designing, but which led to the closure of his Canadian office.
RMJM, which has 16 offices around the world, offers Alsop the opportunity to once again work internationally. Alsop, who is famed for his bold and colourful approach to design, will focus his energies on building a world class global design studio.
Alsop will be supported in his new design role by a recently appointed management team which includes Miriam White, previously of Rafael Viñoly Architects and Foster + Partners as Operations Director, and Scott Lawrie, who has held senior positions at PRP Architects and Foster + Partners, as Principal.
Alsop said of his new role: “Over recent years, I have come to admire RMJM’s vision and the way it has embraced the current economic climate by expanding into new and emerging markets and strengthening its offering through the creation of global studios comprising dedicated experts in key growth sectors.
“I’m looking forward to working with the new management team on taking the design credentials of the London office to the next exciting phase. The value of RMJM’s international pool of experts that we can draw upon for our work in the domestic market and the fact that it has licences to operate in key overseas markets cannot be underestimated. I’m very excited to be working once again in a truly international capacity and nowhere more so than in Canada, which I consider to be my spiritual home and where I have visited every six weeks or so for the past nine years.”
RMJM has been expanding into new territories overseas in recent months, including new operations in Istanbul, Bahrain and Doha. This renewed investment in the London studio aims to reinforce the firm’s presence in its domestic market, in particular in the city of London, as well as continuing to win and deliver outstanding projects internationally.