The Practice of the Year award is based on business acumen and quality of design output. It takes into account data within the main AJ100 survey alongside a survey of staff satisfaction where employees are asked to fill out a number of searching questions about their practice, followed by a presentation in front of the AJ’s panel of judges. In other words we assess: is the practice championing good design? is it making money? and are the staff happy?
Of the 31 practices that provided enough responses to be judged on the basis of the staff survey, Hawkins\Brown came fourth – but rankings at the top of the table were very close together. In 2015 it had added 16 architects and its income per UK architect, at £195,000, was 123 per cent of the median. Such scores put it in second place on a purely analytical basis.
The judges, however, awarded it top place because of the less quantifiable elements of its success. It’s not the first time the practice, which sits at number 21 in the AJ100 rankings, has won the award. It also triumphed in 2011.
This year, after completing a number of nationally significant buildings, the judges praised it for ‘managing its growth with grace while still staying true to itself’.
Three years ago Hawkins\Brown celebrated its 25th anniversary in style at the RIBA, with bonhomie and bouncy castles. Now, as it focuses on the future, with a new office in Manchester, its Crossrail stations coming on stream and a practice philosophy that balances the pleasure of business with the business of pleasure, it seems set to put its distinctive stamp on the built environment even more firmly, while delighting clients and incubating a talented and diverse new generation of young architects.
“...managing its growth with grace while still staying true to itself.”