After revoking control over Alsop Architects in August and assuming a consultancy with parent company Archial, Alsop has confirmed that his responsibilities at Archial will end within four months. Said to have been retiring to enjoy his artistic streak through painting, the architect has swiftly put retirement plans on hold. Asked how long the plans had been afoot Alsop jovially replied, "Well, for a while." The recruitment drive for the new office, which will be called 'Will Alsop at RMJM', has already begun and is currently expected to employ approximately 50 staff. Alsop's expertise will be joined by that of Miriam White, former head of operations at Rafael Viñoly and ex-PRP director Scott Lawrie.
Alsop is responsible for the design of Peckham Library and the Hôtel du Département des Bouches-du-Rhône in Marsailles, or Big Blue as it is commonly regarded.
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.”
RMJM has been expanding into new territories overseas in recent months, including new operations in Istanbul, Tripoli, Bahrain and Doha.
RMJM Group Chief Executive, Peter Morrison, commented: “Will is a leading light in the architectural profession and we are thrilled to have him on board to head up our London operation. His passion, energy and approach to design coupled with his international reputation and experience will be a massive boost to RMJM both in the city of London and further afield.”
Archial's CEO Chris Littlemore released a statement to the press enforcing the influence of Alsop in their firm and Archial's influence in the profession:
“The Archial Group, the owners of Alsop (Consultants) Ltd, agreed a new working relationship with Will Alsop at the beginning of August 2009. At that point Will Alsop entered into a consultancy arrangement with the Group and left full time employment. Irrespective of other arrangements that Will Alsop may make in the future with the Group or other organisations, the ongoing and emerging work in Alsop (Consultants) Ltd has been and continues to be delivered by the established and highest quality team of directors and staff there, led by Duncan Macaulay and supported by Jonathan Leah, Max Titchmarsh, Shaun Russell and Maurice Evans and the associates Ed Norman, Wolfgang Frese and Uwe Frohmader. The Alsop brand of architecture and delivery from this studio is maintained, and continues to flourish. Under this management, supported where appropriate by the much larger resources of Archial Architects where working together, the business continues to be a significant force in the Architectural industry.”