Buildings shape who we are and enhance our lives. How we repair, repurpose and rebuild them today will affect and improve our quality of life for future generations. Award-winning architect and heritage consultant Purcell, founded 70 years ago, specialises in extending the life of the old, unlocking the potential of a space and providing excellent and robust new design for the present and future.
Purcell employs 200 people at studios in several locations around the UK, as well as internationally in Hong Kong and Australia. Its name is synonymous with the master planning of heritage restoration and conservation projects across numerous sectors, including residential, cultural, commercial, education, hospitality, places of worship and public buildings.
Purcell was the architect and lead designer on the most recent monumental renovation of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London; and it is often called in to Oxford collages to bled new additions with historic fabrics. The practice’s expertise addresses the context, character and purpose of all manner of places, and help clients to manage change and make informed decisions.
While delivering successful schemes across large public and private buildings, Purcell also brings clients’ domestic visions uniquely and creatively to life. ‘A home is one of the most important things in our lives, and the right design can make it both a space for connection and a safe haven that ensures our wellbeing,’ says Purcell partner, Theo Manzaroli. ‘We create home environments that match clients’ rhythm and lifestyle, which involves making a considered selection of high- quality materials appropriate to our design aspirations.’
Purcell often applies its diverse skills to creating schemes that respect an infrastructure’s original design and intent, while also meeting current building regulations – thereby making an historic building fit for purpose in the 21st century. ‘Our heritage consultancy expertise empowers us with a strong understanding of a building’s capacity and flexibility to change, and we ensure that all our buildings become the most accessible they can be,’ explains Theo.
One such example is Wildernesse House, part of a 24-acre historic estate in Kent’s picturesque countryside, renowned for its magnificent period houses and ancient woodland. Purcell sympathetically transformed the grade II-listed Georgian building into 23 high-end apartments and added in cutting-edge spa facilities, wellness areas and communal spaces. Regenerating a historic building in this innovative way ensured its survival for the future, setting Wildernesse House up for the next chapter in its fascinating history.
The challenges of 2020 did not bypass Purcell, but throughout the year the practice’s team spirit, creativity, diverse skill-sets and knowledge enabled it to thrive and deliver a number of successful projects. In a major milestone and cultural change, the early part of 2021 will see the ownership of the business transfer to Purcell’s employees. A newly formed Trust, made up of passionate team members across Purcell’s UK and Asia Pacific studios, will then start an exciting new chapter in the history of the practice.