Miranda Dobson

Member Article

North Shields architects celebrate five years of growth

North Shields-based architecture firm Blake Hopkinson have celebrated success and growth on its fifth anniversary, with a string of contract wins.

The specialists in sheltered housing, private residential, leisure and commercial space have more than doubled their employee base and increased turnover by 300% since it was established in 2007.

Deals in the last six months have seen the company secure contracts worth £15m, and Blake Hopkinson’s projects have received recognition with the North East Award for Innovation.

Architects Darren Blake and James Hopkinson formed the company five years ago, and have enjoyed success despite declines in North East construction and property industries.

Darren Blake, partner at Blake Hopkinson said: “This is a key time for smaller architectural firms in the region. The slowdown in the construction sector has led many potential clients to seek out smaller firms with the skills and experience.”

“Whilst the last few years have not been easy for anybody in the property sector, we have been
able to identify several core areas to focus on where opportunities existed to do something quite
different.

“Sheltered housing has been one such area and our work at Haven House in Leadgate,
County Durham not only raised the benchmark for the provision of sheltered housing for the
over-55’s but has had a significant knock-on effect in changing the outlook, standards and design possibilities of sheltered housing to meet the higher expectations of the post-war generation.”

Projects such as the £1.2m conversion of a 1960s building into a boutique hotel have been celebrated, as well as work on Haven House, which led to further multimillion pound contracts with Derwentside Homes.

Mr Blake’s partner, James Hopkinson said: ““Businesses and organisations are increasingly recognising the value of high quality, innovative and usable commercial spaces which are not only functional but contribute significantly to the output, motivation and satisfaction of its workforce.”

The outlook for the business also looks positive, as Blake Hopkinson hope to capitalise on its key sectors and build on the existing expert knowledge within the company.

Mr Blake commented further: ““Whilst our work in the commercial fields forms the backbone of our business, through the wide range of experience harnessed by our team we have seen significant growth in the number of instructions from individuals within the private residential market and we look to capitalise on this further as self-building in the UK becomes more popular.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Miranda Dobson .

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