It’s the key to winning projects, argues our non-executive director and co-founder of Lipton Rogers
I always wanted to build things. My parents worried about this, so when I was 15 they made me work on a building site. I loved it, became an engineer, and here I am at 77.
My favourites are technically complicated projects like Stockley Park, built over a former rubbish dump. Or above railway lines, like Exchange House at Broadgate, where we had to take out a bridge and replace it with a building. Or Ludgate, where we removed the line and bridge over Ludgate Hill and put in a new station back under the road in 78 days using 20-minute slots. That took some planning.
People got used to disposable goods and produced some rather awful buildings in the 1970s and 80s. Difficult to reuse with little thought given to the impact on the passer-by, with almost Dickensian interiors. COVID brought all that to a head. The workplace has got to be a lot more interesting. Almost like little villages. And first impressions count.
We’ve brought all that together at 22 Bishopsgate. The second-floor restaurant is hugely popular and the other amenities. Tenants don’t have to use their lettable floor space to provide these facilities. The whole building is much more sociable. It’s about creating a lifestyle piece. 22 was conceived nine years ago now, so we were the first to start that trend.
Socius are a great young team and I bring this broad experience of problem solving that unlocks and creates sites. The housebuilders are tough to beat in London. You need to find your edge. Hence Socius’ move to the wider south-east and to include more mixed-use developments. The London Cancer Hub in Sutton is a fantastic complex project. I still ask questions that make consultants sit up, so I reckon I’m adding value.