Foster's Lead Designer Starts Own Firm

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Foster's Lead Designer Starts Own Firm

Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Jan 22, 2004 1:15 pm

Foster's Lead Designer Starts Own Firm
January 13, 2004

Architect Ken Shuttleworth, lead designer for Foster and Partners, has left to begin his own firm. Opened on January 5, the unnamed practice is being temporarily housed at Arup's offices in London's West End. Shuttleworth, a 29-year Foster employee, played a key role in such notable designs as London's City Hall, Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok Airport and the Commerzbank in Frankfurt, Germany, Europe's tallest building. He is also responsible for the controversial new Swiss Re headquarters in London, better known as the "Gherkin."

Nicknamed "Ken the Pen" for his rapid, fluid draftsmanship, Shuttleworth was appointed director of Foster and Partners in 1984. After overseeing the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters, he was made a firm partner in 1991.

In a written statement, Shuttleworth, 50, describes his leaving as "amicable." Yet his departure prompted fellow Foster employees Sean Affleck, Jason Parker, and James Thomas to join Shuttleworth in his new venture.

The moves are the latest blows to Foster's senior staff, several of which have followed former director Robin Partington to Hamilton Associates over the last 18 months.

Foster and Partners is one of the busiest, most prominent architectural practices in the world with a staff of 600 people overseeing 100 jobs.
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Postby sw101 » Thu Jan 22, 2004 1:21 pm

Should be healthy for a big firm like that. make room at the top for younger people with new ideas. staleness would be the death of foster and associates
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Postby Hugh » Thu Jan 22, 2004 1:27 pm

...and no-one who starts to get famous within the Foster practice stays. Luminaries who have departed in the past include Michael Hopkins, Ian Ritchie, Jan Kaplicky...
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Postby alan d » Thu Jan 22, 2004 2:26 pm

Yep, quite impressive.............what does that suggest, perhaps a real degree of autonomy for directors within the practice, then ?

Funnily enough Building Design Partneship also has an interesting list of past employees
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Jan 22, 2004 4:11 pm

Agreed - its the natural cycle of things. Just hadn't seen it mentioned until I found that this morning.
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Postby Hugh » Thu Jan 22, 2004 4:43 pm

Someone needs to compile a definitive family tree of architectural practices to show who came from where and when. Wet-Thursday displacement activity yields this starter synopsis:

Chipperfield and Marks Barfield and Lifschutz Davidson are also ex-Foster I think, though several of this ilk also worked at Rogers (didn't McAslan?)

Others like Bennetts or Haworth Tompkins came from Arup. BDP spin-offs would include Hodder Associates and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

In turn the likes of Chipperfield and Hodder have spun off several newer practices.

Cedric Price begat Will Alsop begat Peter Clash, also Jonathan Adams, now of Percy Thomas in Cardiff. Also possibly Amanda Levete of Future Systems.

ABK gave rise to Paxton Locher, now Richard Paxton Architects (whatever happened to Heidi Locher?)

Grimshaw begat various small practices such as Piercy "Microflat" Connor.

And of course Koolhaas begat both Hadid and Foreign Office Architects, which some might find a scary thought.

Frank Gehry emerged from sundry commerical practices including William Pereira and Victor Gruen.

But the prize for the most eclectic list of former employees goes to the late Jim Stirling: Michael Wilford, Leon Krier, Quinlan Terry, Birds Portchmouth Russum etc.

What was he, an eccentric or something?
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Postby helloinsane » Fri Jan 23, 2004 9:47 pm

Originally posted by Hugh
But the prize for the most eclectic list of former employees goes to the late Jim Stirling: Michael Wilford, Leon Krier, Quinlan Terry, Birds Portchmouth Russum etc.

What was he, an eccentric or something?


Also begat O'Donnell and Tuomey, for which we are eternally grateful.
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Postby the editor » Wed Jan 28, 2004 12:15 pm

[quote]Originally posted by Hugh
[B]Someone needs to compile a definitive family tree of architectural practices to show who came from where and when.

You know what - that's a great idea. I'm an editor on an architecture mag - I think I might do this in our magazine. Will you help?
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Postby Hugh » Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:21 pm

have I stumbled upon a new way of getting commissions - put an idea up on the Web and see which mag bites first? Perhaps I should run an auction.

Not all are so open as you, the editor. Others would just quietly snitch the idea.

Our webmaster Clerkin has given us a useful device: click on anyone's "profile" button and you'll find a way to send messages/emails privately to contributors to this forum.
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Postby lemonshark » Thu Jan 29, 2004 8:08 am

wow, this is amazing news!
I worked for F+P for five years before setting up my own 6 months ago. Ken is a fantastic designer and was together with Robin responsible for the more interesting and dramatic schemes. Guess Norman's not happy now.
But then, I always had the feeling that the better people leave the office, as the very strict hierachy can really get you down.
I'm sure we will here from Ken S. in the future!
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Postby alan d » Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:19 am

" wow", eh ? must be an expat, right enough.

Doesn't your first statement contradict your second, lemonshark?
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