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IWD 2021 #ChoosetoChallenge

March 2021

IWD 2021 #ChoosetoChallenge

SMR Architects has a core Company Value of working with Honesty, Integrity and in an Inclusive manner. This flows into our recruitment style and has led to SMR attracting a diverse, talented and high performing team that each of our clients benefits from.

For #IWD several in our team listed some of their own female influencers: –

Andra (Architect) – I am always inspired by the greatest person in my life: my Mum. She is one of the people who would enjoy her long hours work and still come home and raise 2 children with songs, poems or dance while cooking delicious meals for us all. Her firm positivity combined with joy shaped my idea of home that should always be within myself rather than a place. On another note, Anita O’Day, ‘The Jezebel of Jazz’ has always been an example of courage, discipline, and teamwork within such a controversial world of jazz music at that time.

Migena (Architectural Assistant PII) – The first female inspiration to me is my mother, who came to the UK to escape and flee from the war in Kosovo in 1999. I admire her strength every day and appreciate the sacrifices she has made to flee her family and home for a better future for our family.

The second female who is an inspiration to me is the female President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani at only 38 years of age, who climbed the political mountain and runs on an anti-crime and anti-corruption platform for the better and brighter future for Kosovo. She is known for her contribution to Kosovo’s independence gained in 2008, serving as the main representative of Kosovo at a case in the International Court of Justice. Women’s presence in parliament in Kosovo has significantly increased since the war ended, with Osmani becoming the second female president. What she has achieved in Kosovo in a very unsettled and hostile environment at such a young age, accompanied with her determination is something I admire and look up to!

Amanda (Director) – Many women have inspired me during my lifetime, one of the earliest was my little 4ft 11’ Nana, she was a strong minded, hard-working woman, who encouraged her whole family to be loving and to reach for the stars. Another woman who influenced me, and I hate to note politics, was Margaret Thatcher. She was the ultimate marmite Politician! Being single minded, shining in a man’s world and then becoming the UK’s first female Prime Minister. In the end, she changed U.K. politics forever and showed that if you focussed on a plan, you could accomplish so much.

Dayang (Architect) – My two female inspirations are Jacinda Ahern, the current NZ Prime Minister who proves a very successful career and a family are not mutually exclusive; and Malala Yousafzai, a girls’ education activist who show us that education is a powerful tool to change lives.



Congratulations to SMR’s Tobi Olusola in gaining his Part III

January 2020

Congratulations to SMR’s Tobi Olusola in gaining his Part III

SMR’er Tobi Olusola has recently gained his Part III architecture qualification. Tobi has worked at SMR for almost 2 years. In this Q&A with Tobi he explains what inspired him to undertake a career in architecture:

Q. what is your title at SMR?

A. My current title is “Part II Architectural Assistant”. However, as soon as I can register with the ARB it will change to Architect.

Q. What attracted you to a career in architecture?

A. A long story short, ‘The Sims’.

Q. Where were you born and brought up as a child?

A. I was born in Birmingham, moved to London aged 7. Moved to Nigeria aged 12, back to London at 16. And I’ve been in and around the Yorkshire area since beginning university at age 18.

Q. What architecture/ design / construction (or others) qualifications do you have?

A. I have a BA(Hons) in Architecture International (RIBA Part 1), a MArch in Architecture (RIBA Part 2),and most recently a Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Practice and Management in Architecture (RIBA Part 3).

Q. Where did you study architecture?

A. I completed my undergraduate and post graduate qualifications with the University of Huddersfield.

Q. Would you recommend your training route for other aspiring Architects?

A. I would like the training route and process in which one can be a qualified architect to be reformed. The route I took is the traditional one, and I would encourage any aspiring architecture students to be prepared for a LONG journey!

Q. Which buildings really impress you:

A. I really enjoy the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield by David Chipperfield. In my opinion it’s a great example of contemporary brutalism. I also really like the Smithsonian African American Museum by David Adjaye. I’m really drawn to the symbolism of the external envelope. My third favourite building would be the chapel at Ronchamp by LeCorbusier. I’m really impressed by the way Corbusier uses light to create sacred spaces.

SMR’s Senior Management Expands

January 2021





































Congratulations to SMR’s Andra Medeleanu in gaining her Part III

December 2020

Congratulations to SMR’s Andra Medeleanu in gaining her Part III

Architect Andra Medeleanu has studied in the UK and recently gained her Part III architecture qualification. Andra has worked at SMR for almost 4 years (4 years on 7th January). In this Q&A Andra explains her international training and her career aspirations:

Q What attracted you to a career in architecture?

A The prospect of combining a creative mind with Sciences (Mathematics, highlighting Geometry).
In simpler terms I wished a career that I could enjoy every day.

Q Where were you born and brought up as a child?

A. Romania (generally known as the land of Dracula 😊).

Q. What architecture/ design / construction (or others) qualifications do you have?

A I have the equivalent of a UK Bachelor and Masters in Architecture. Recently I passed my Part 3 Course.

Q Where did you study architecture?

A Bachelor and Masters in Romania. One Erasmus year as part of Master Degree in Italy and recently UK obtaining my Architect title.

Q Have you noticed any differences in your training with that of people who have studied in the UK?

A The Part 3 Course undertaken in the UK is by definition a course which encourages you to work independently, to rationalise your reflective skills and to motivate you to improve upon your continuous professional development. My previous academic environment in Italy or Romania was defining the base of my knowledge in architecture which it was more about work collectively: support and collaborate with other students or professors.

Generally, they are very different because they reflect different stages of you going up the ladder of your career. Overall, I could say that the training received had similar goals in encouraging me to collaborate, to consider others and the environment.

Q Would you recommend your training route for other aspiring Architects?

A Definitely. even more, I would encourage to explore other Universities within different countries, continents. Learn new languages, travel more if you have the possibility. I believe it is important to create yourself a ‘knowledge luggage’ that will help you be creative in the years to come. I think it is important to understand that creativity does not necessarily refer to impressive/ ‘one off’ projects. No matter what your projects are, you need inspiration every day in your practice. Most of the time it is not about ‘reinventing the wheel’ but adapting to new ways of practicing architecture i.e.: keeping up with technology, understanding environmental needs, communities’ requests etc.

Q What are your career aspirations, where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A 10 years is a long time and honestly, I do not know. Looking back and reflecting on my actions done so far, I would say that in the next year I want to get acquainted with what practicing as an Architect means and then evaluate my skills.


Rachel’s Milestone Year

November 2020

Everyone at SMR were pleased to cheer Rachel Keir’s 20th Anniversary at SMR Architects, Rachel’s journey commenced at Smith Smalley Architects, when we all knew her as Rachel Snow, a fresh faced 16 year old trainee.

Rachel started her architectural career on 20th November 2000 as a day release student at York College, she has gained vast experience in variety of sectors and is always a client favourite. As part of her current role, Rachel leads a young team and is always keen to pass on her wealth of knowledge and work ethic, as part of her mentoring of students completing their AA Part I and AT Year Outs, as they gain their first experience within the workplace.

The Directors; Amanda, Mathew and Simon are proud of Rachel’s achievement and have said:


“Rachel is a true SMRer and she takes our ‘work hard, play hard’ mindset to a whole new level, meaning Rachel is an asset to SMR and always fun to be around. I look forward to many more happy years with Rachel and watching her continue to grow and excel at SMR.” Amanda Marsey


“Rachel is a dedicated and driven professional, who prides herself on maintaining excellent Client relations, delivering a quality design product on time and maintaining drawing output, come hell or high water.  Having known and worked with Rachel over the last 20 years, I can genuinely say it’s been a pleasure and I look forward to the next 20 years together; albeit, that will make me 69!” Mathew Smalley


“Rachel has been a part of our feasibility team from the very beginning and has been integral to its recent growth.  She is what SMR is about, through and through – always working hard but equally keen to pick up a champagne flute or pint glass.

We will certainly celebrate with her when we can on reaching this milestone, well done Rach”.  Simon Rispin

SMR’s Ongoing Growth

October 2020

2020 continues to be a very unusual year and TeamSMR continues to respond enthusiastically to the challenges this year is creating. A key aspect of this has been an ongoing, successful recruitment period.  In total, we have had 12 new starters, this growth brings with it a wealth of new skills and personality traits to further develop and enhance how SMR operates. We have all enjoyed supporting our new starters as they settle into their new roles:

Gary fills a new Associate role within SMR, an experienced Architect, he leads our last mile hubs workload. Gary joins this very busy team from BAM Design and we are looking forward to seeing how Gary integrates his skillset into this role.

Lee, a senior technologist, joins us from PureGym and we are eagerly watching Lee impart his client side experiences into the direct developer and monitoring projects he leads.

Derry has a keen eye for everything BIM led and is assisting the last mile team as an experienced Technologist.

George is an enthusiastic graduate Technologist. We can see how he attained a First in his degree, as he is already making a great start towards his Architectural Technologist progression within our Retail team.

Jacob is SMR’s first ever Apprentice, this youngster is now remotely undertaking his second year at York College and is generally assisting across the whole company to learn about all aspects of our work.

We’re also delighted some of our current alumni of returning students to Leeds Beckett are to stay with us on a part-time basis, whilst they finish their studies.

As SMR undertakes our next phase in dealing with the ramifications of Covid-19, we have commenced a rotation system allowing all staff to have office based periods. SMR are collaborators and love open, fluid communication, allowing everyone periods in the office facilitates this and appears to be a welcomed break to the Groundhog period we’ve all experienced in since March. The full Leadership team is office based to ensure the smooth running of the practice and everyone else returns as teams. These office rotations are also giving all our new starters ‘socially distant’ face-to-face time with their new work mates.

To enable SMR to undertake this partial opening, we regularly perform Covid safe workplace risk-assessments and we have reconfigured the office layout to give everyone more workspace, alongside altering many office based systems to follow best practice ideas. MS Teams and other conference call software remains a key part of SMRs operation and probably always will do now, but nothing can beat face-to-face time or office banter. We are also now doing site visits and external meetings, assuming Covid security can be confirmed, this means we’re keen to chat to clients new and old.

Regeneration of Cleethorpes Pleasure Island Theme Park

September 2020

SMR Architects are pleased to highlight the continuing positive coverage and feedback being received for the new masterplan and development of the regeneration of Cleethorpes Pleasure Island theme park.  The estimated £57m project would deliver 250 new holiday lodges, a 146-bed hotel, restaurants and leisure facilities including a new Lidl food store.  The scheme is continuing to positively progress through pre-application discussions with North East Lincolnshire Council, and recently concluded it’s online public consultation, with an anticipated submission date in October 2020.

We will continue to update the links below as more coverage goes live.


2 Million Sq.ft Automated Distribution Centre reaches Practical Completion milestone

September 2020

SMR Architects are delighted that works on a 2 million sq.ft Automated Distribution Centre for our Client Operator in Durham has recently attained Practical Completion. The state-of the-art facility will create up to 1200 permanent jobs to support the local economy.

Containing 1.7m sq.ft of warehouse space over 4 floors, and over 300k sq.ft of Office and ancillary space, it becomes one of the largest distribution centres in the UK. The ground floor alone is the equivalent area of 7 premier league football pitches! The facility provides 58 dock doors, as well as 4 van docks and 2 level access doors. Sustainability was considered from the outset of the design, and the building has recently achieved the BREEAM ‘Very Good’ accreditation.

ISG were appointed as Main Contractor for the scheme, which was delivered on programme despite the disruptions caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Formula One Autocentre


September 2020

This newbuild Autocentre on the A6038 close to Shipley town centre, is now officially completed, handed over to Formula One, fitted out and operational after almost 8 months on site. The sleek façade design sits within the scenic backdrop of Bradford Beck Valley, close to the main shopping centre and is intended to enhance the main arterial route through Shipley.

The building materials have been carefully chosen for their high quality, robust nature and sustainability. The unit is built of black brickwork and anthracite composite cladding, giving a crisp contemporary industrial feel to the development, creating an active frontage of glazing and openings separated by brick piers. Their rhythm produces a crisp, legible building reflecting and enhancing the local context.

The building now provides Formula One Autocentres within a 4,338 Sq.Ft tyre and servicing depot, including offices and welfare facilities, together with on site customer and staff parking.’ 

Both Main Contractor Stainforth and Contract Administrator, Crowther Turnbull Booth provided excellent service and helped in the efficient delivery of the project.