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SMR Celebrate New Office Launch

October 2021

SMR along with a number of clients, fellow consultants and friends of the practice celebrated the official opening of their new office last week. Following a move to the top floor of The Exchange, Harrogate, the new office space now boasts more collaborative space and an environment for the team to thrive. With a few drinks and nibbles we were pleased to open the doors for all to see the various spaces and new technology the team now benefit from as we continue to grow to serve an increasing number of regional and national clients. It was equally special to be able to have the full team socialise together and celebrate recent successes.

Simon Rispin adds, on behalf of the Directors, “Taking all of the top floor of the highest building in Harrogate isn’t where we ever expected to be, coming up to almost seven years since SMR was formed. From fourteen, we are now over fifty strong, have some amazing clients and genuinely move in circles we really only dreamed of. This office hopefully befits our success, and we’re pleased to be able to provide such a spacious and collaborative space for all our team. We’re very proud of SMR, of our new office and look forward to many more years of doing what we enjoy so much.”

RIBA Commendation for Sam Tipping

 

 

August 2021

The RIBA Yorkshire has awarded a commendation to SMR’s Student Architect Sam Tipping.

The 2021 Student award was given for the project that Sam undertook which sought to celebrate the positive aspects of Buenos Aires Villas.

The hypothetical project scenario acknowledges that the Villas (shanty towns) of Buenos Aires are currently expanding by 50% area each decade. By the year 2150, the project site (abandoned Caseros prison) is engulfed by the expanding Villas. A self-sufficient Villa community forms around the site called Villa 1 and the ex-prison is allocated as the hub for creating and distributing resources to this community.

Whilst Villas are often seen as negative places, the project tributes positive aspects, such as the vibrant street markets and self-build culture seen in Villas. The project encourages self-build by utilizing scaffolding like components to create resource creation towers containing modular farms and workshops where native Argentinian crops, e.g. sunflowers, are grown. These towers can grow and contract using simple scaffolding technologies to adapt to the varying resource demands of Villa 1. Resources are transported around the towers and into the ex-prison via a pulley system network, where they are sorted and packed ready to be distributed to Villa 1 residents via the on-site market, which occupies the main courtyard of the abandoned building.

The Villas, once a forgotten community, often hidden from view, can finally be celebrated and seen.

Congratulations to Sam and good luck with your completing the rest of your studies.

Eccleshill – New Lidl Store Opening

August 2021

 

We’re pleased to announce a new Lidl store at Eccleshill, which opened it’s doors on Thursday the 29th of July. The new store is part of a larger retail park involving Greggs, Costa among other key retail units. Lidl Eccleshill is the 4th store to open this year that SMR have contributed towards. Other stores included Selby, Cheetham Hill and Bolton.

The project was undertaken by the Stainforth Construction.  SMR have worked with Stainforth previously on various projects, including Lidl’s.

On the morning of the opening. Crowds gathered from 7.30am onwards to hear the Town Crier announce the event with a rhyme. This was followed by a few words from the Lidl management team and a snip of the ribbon. Today, the store serves the local people of Bradford in their day-to-day requirements for goods and groceries.

Last Mile

 

July 2021

SMR Architects are proud to have played their part in the increase in last mile hubs to support the sudden growth in online shopping, over the last six months SMR have provided services to operators and developers alike, worked with a number of contractors across all four corners of the UK.

We have seen a lightweight modular solution provide immediate expansion in Aberdeen, new build to suit facilities in Hull and existing buildings being re-purposed in Dublin, London and various other national locations.

Each has provided its own challenges during the pandemic, however we continue to support our clients and lead their expansion programmes across the UK.

The next six months will see a further ten schemes be delivered whilst instructions are already in place for a significant number of schemes in 2022 and beyond.

Our dedicated E-commerce team has grown internally to support this fast paced workstream and further news will follow as the team continues to grow.

SMR’s New Faces of 2021

June 2021

New faces started within the first half of 2021 into SMR Team… introducing:

Dom, originally from Naples (Italy), Dom studied architecture and gained experience predominantly in the residential sector after qualifying as an architect in 2014.  Moved to Manchester and is now settle in Leeds.

Christopher started out his career in  in Hong Kong. Working in an architectural firm under the urban design team, and  had the opportunity to be exposed to various planning projects in India, China, Middle East, and around South East Asia.

Josh was born in the Philippines and came to the UK when he was 15. After being inspired by the architecture in Barcelona, Josh went on to study and graduate from Sheffield Hallam University studying Architectural Technology. He has had experience working in the commercial sector for a few years where he was able to understand and adapt to the fast pace of the industry.

James is a newly qualified architect with an enthusiasm for creativity and problem solving. Graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2017 and has since guided several large residential schemes through planning, with the bulk of his professional experience residing in this sector.

Richard completed (Post Grad) Diploma in Architecture in 2004 at Huddersfield University, his experience has been built up working in Architectural Practices, on large scale Further Education projects diversifying into Retail, Developer led projects throughout the North of England. A key part in each Sector is specialising in 3d BIM from concept through to completion.

Matt worked in a variety of small medium and large firms on projects in healthcare, airport, logistics, Agri-tech and residential, he is now embarking on the next chapter with SMR’s Logistics Team with the intention and ambition of attaining a Part III

Marcelina completed Part 1 studies in London where I developed my interests for sustainable architecture Originally from Poland where I attended various drawing classes and discovered my love for hand drawing. Outside of work I like taking part in life drawing events where I can develop my skills further.

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.

SMR ‘big day off’

The Directors have extended our Team’s bank holiday, by giving them Friday 28th as an extra holiday day.

As a thank you for their ongoing hard work, it will provide an opportunity for our people to do their bit to boost the economy; perhaps go for a meal, some retail therapy, or visiting loved ones, we’re hopeful everyone makes the most of the extra day.

We’d like to thank all our Team for their tremendous ongoing efforts throughout the pandemic and as the roadmap out of lockdown continues, we look forward to having our new office space fully operational and everyone back, working together.

SMR has collaboration at its heart and whilst we’d normally have a team building day at this time of year, we’re sure everyone will independently enjoy the long weekend.

Growth in the face of adversity

April 2021


 

SMR Architects can reflect that despite the ongoing pandemic and through the various lockdowns the company has made sustainable growth.

The core sectors of the construction industry where SMR operates (Residential, Industrial/ Manufacturing, Retail and Logistics) have all seen widening demands.

Combined together SMR has contributed to in excess of 12.5 Million sq. ft. of floor space during the pandemic. The company has had to respond to market demands and has successfully made several key staff appointments.

As the company continues to grow, SMR focuses confidently to enhance and make new relationships particularly within the residential sector. This also includes new opportunities for medium rise facilities, both private and build to rent schemes which will strengthen SMR’s presence in regions we are already active within, such as the North East.

Delivering

Our drive for ‘last mile’ delivery space, has meant SMR Architects has been involved in over 500 feasibility studies across the UK & Europe.

New space delivered through planning and construction over the past 12 months in the UK now provides over ½ M shipments each day to all areas of the UK.

Ten of the sites delivered provide over 1M sq. ft. including modular build facilities for speed of erection on site, new build purpose-built spaces and refurbishment and extension of existing buildings.

We continue to be instrumental in the development of the ‘perfect operational building’ and proud to be in our fourth year as UK Lead Architect for this workstream for one of the largest retailers in the world.

Each site has 250 Electric Vehicle spaces which really emphasises our client’s future commitment in reducing their carbon footprint and setting the bar ever higher.

A number of masterplan schemes have continued to develop through the early stages, and this forthcoming year will hopefully see a number of these reach the planning stages. These schemes provide over 7M sq. ft. of new specialist logistics space.

Fulfilling

Two facilities combine to provide over 4M sq. ft. complex automated warehouse space delivered and now operational, strengthening our portfolio of ‘Megashed’ delivery, and deal with an excess of 1M parcels every day.

Built to meet operational needs of a worldwide e-tailer the buildings, in Durham and Darlington, are across a number of robotic floors and are each supported by in excess of 250,000sqft modern office space.

Both achieved BREEAM Very Good. The facilities form part of a wider network of facilities for the operator.

We continue to bolster the provision for the North East. We are also currently engaged to support planning applications which are running for a number of similar facilities across the UK.

Keeping UK Groceries Moving

Over the last year, SMR’s Retail Team has supported Lidl GB in meeting their annual target to open more than 50 stores. This has included the delivery of several new stores across the North-West, which all opened on a single day.

SMR has also supported Domino’s Pizza with the development of two new regional production facilities (the first in Scotland, just outside Glasgow and a second in Ireland, south-west of Dublin), whilst assisting Waitrose with the opening of two new online Grocery picking centres, serving the Greater London area.

Supporting Regional Industry

SMR’s Industrial Team has lots of interesting new projects in the ‘pipeline’ and have quietly been supporting a range of new manufacturing and grocery facilities.

One project is a Plastics Production centre, Nr Leeds, facilitating Esterform’s ambition to produce recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) products suitable for food & beverage containers. The project supports current national Government targets for recycled PET products.

 

Onwards & Upwards

April 2021

 

SMR is delighted to announce that our continued growth and expansion has led to us agreeing new office space with current landlord CEG.

Announced to our Team before the Easter Bank Holiday, negotiations are well progressed regarding our future occupation of the tenth floor of The Exchange.

The building has been our home for six years and moving to the top floor will provide us with circa 5,500 sqft. We will be using this space to adapt to new ways of working within office space, post-Covid. It will provide much needed additional ‘break-out space’, extra meeting rooms, booths and the like, for conference calls and other discussions including the myriad of Teams, Zoom & Chime meetings. We’re also seeking ideas from our Team of 50+ architects, technologists and technicians, to make the space more than simply ‘somewhere to work’. A strong emphasis will remain on our collaborative nature, but also focussing on the balance of our strong social side – a staff bar has already been suggested!

Simon Rispin, notes “Whilst we see many businesses downsize office space due to WFH, we believe we are stronger together than the sum of individuals at home. We are looking forward to getting everyone back – and to a new space which will allow our team ethos and collaborative nature to shine. Not only is the space going to be great, but the views are something else looking across the Harrogate skyline.”

 

Amanda Marsey, added “Collaboration internally and externally remains as the heart of SMR and after such a long time working from home and so many new people joining TeamSMR, it will be refreshing to all be office based again and launch into SMRs next phase of evolvement. Beyond 2021, we’ll look to take advantage of technology, ensure a great work:life balance and be true to SMRs culture.”

Please check back regularly for progress updates, as we develop the office space and our gradual, safe return to the office.

 

 

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.