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AppointmentsNew era for stephenson STUDIO as Hamilton and Risley step up to...

New era for stephenson STUDIO as Hamilton and Risley step up to take the helm

Manchester-based architectural practice stephenson STUDIO has announced that two of its long-standing team members have been appointed to lead the firm into a new era.

After almost 30 years in the practice, Keith Hamilton and Justin Risley have taken over as directors.

The move comes as the practice has undertaken a comprehensive rebranding exercise, which has seen it change its name to stephenson hamilton risley STUDIO to reflect Keith and Justin’s significant contribution.

Between them, Keith and Justin have designed and delivered many of the practice’s recent hero projects, including Chetham’s School of Music, Leonardo Hotel in Manchester, Halle St. Peters in Ancoats, Exchange Square in Birmingham, Carlton House in London, and more.

The practice has made a name for itself for its award-winning work on projects including concert halls, hotels, residential buildings, private houses, and masterplans that have contributed to the architectural heritage of Manchester, Birmingham, and London.

Keith Hamilton commented: “I know I speak for Justin and myself when I say that it’s an honour to be steering the ship at stephenson hamilton risley STUDIO, as we look to grow the practice and further diversify our brilliant portfolio of projects.

“The architectural ethos and modus operandi of the practice will remain the same as that originally established by the founding partner, Roger Stephenson OBE, so we can ensure the continued output of consistently high-quality designs. However, we’ll be taking some steps towards a more client focussed approach to design. Too often architects are seen as introverted and self-referential, with clients feeling unconsidered. We would like to pursue active engagement and creative dialogue with our clients to help engender a trusting partnership in creating buildings. We would like to grow the practice to work beyond Manchester and the region, expanding our horizons and taking our creative team with us on the journey. ”

Justin Risley added: “Working within this phenomenal team for so many years has been a real privilege. Having the opportunity to now lead them is a hugely exciting prospect for Keith and me.

“We’ll be taking care to preserve our vibrant studio atmosphere, which helps us attract the fantastic, creative client base that we do. Working with brands like Urban Splash, Capital & Centric, Property Alliance Group, and Nikal has energised the practice; architecture is a collaborative process, and when like-minded clients and architects go on the design journey together, it ultimately enriches the city and produces great architecture.

“Working on projects with such a diverse range of scale, use and clients forces us to constantly re-evaluate our output and design responses. We are keen to develop and grow the practice with our dedicated and creative team.”

stephenson hamilton risley STUDIO’s current projects nearing completion include Capital & Centric’s Leonardo Hotel on the fringes of Manchester city centre, which has been affectionately dubbed the ‘Jenga hotel’ by locals due to its unique design; a residential conversion of a Grade II* Listed Mill for Urban Splash at Avro; two city centre projects for Property Alliance Group and the completion of Exchange Square masterplan for Nikal. All are the product of a truly creative collaboration between the practice and the client.

Roger Stephenson OBE, who founded the practice in 1979, commented: “The Practice and its people have been a huge part of my life over many years. During that time I have been enormously privileged to have worked on a significant range of landmark projects with many talented architects, not least of whom are Keith and Justin who have been by my side for 30 years. It’s always difficult to let go but I genuinely couldn’t wish for anyone better than Keith and Justin to lead the Practice going forward. I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter of my life and delighted that I will have an on-going part-time role with stephenson hamilton risley STUDIO.”

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