Six month contract leads to Hong Kong office

A team of architects from Norwich has launched a new office in Hong Kong after a six-month conservation consultancy contract became a full scale project.

Purcell Miller Tritton's Colegate office initially won the contract with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, an agency which redistributes cash from the public sector run gambling sector, as part of a project involving the architects behind Tate Modern, Switzerland-based Herzog & de Meuron.

The scheme involved turning a compound including 17 historic former central police station buildings dating from 1841 into a cultural centre and a firm was needed to help understand the historical and social significance of the site.

However, as a result, the firm is now fully involved in the project and, with planning permission granted, is now working on the detail of the project ahead of work starting next year.

Purcell Miller Tritton has also now opened its own offices in Hong Kong, due to be officially launched in April, with 12 staff, five from Norwich, including senior partner and architect Michael Morrison.

Mark Goldspink, chief executive of Purcell Miller Tritton, said: 'We just thought it was a small study and would take six months. But on the back of it we took an active role in moving the project forward. Conservation became the predomiant part of the project.'

As a result of being in Hong Kong they have also picked up work on government buildings and heritage projects and have taken on Japanese architect graduates.

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'It was the right decision for us,' said Mr Goldspink. 'It is amazing how many people are not willing to take the plunge.'

He said the Hong Kong office now also gave them a chance to do more work further afield, including in China.

Purcell Miller Tritton has had offices in Norwich since the 1950s, when it was run by Mr Miller.

The firm's core work is in conservation, with 25pc in new build. It is currently working on a roofing project at the National Trust's Felbrigg Hall in north Norfolk and has worked on historic buildings like Norwich Castle and the Assembly House.

Its specialism in historic work, with three historians employed among the 25 staff at the Norwich office.

Although part of a larger practise with offices in London and across the UK, it has been the Norwich offices work on buildings such as Ely Cathedral that has led to new offices in the cathedral cities of Canterbury, Cambridge and Liverpool.

The Norwich offices does a lot of work on private houses and estates including Houghton Hall, Holkham Hall and Somerleyton Hall. It is also working on Cromer Hospital.