Client: Broadway Malyan
Broadway Malyan as a global architecture, urbanism and design practice enjoys a global reach in markets such as the Far East, south america, the middle East and Brazil. Chris Graeme speaks to Stuart Rough, its international chairman.
Broadway Malyan is renowned for its Master Planning schemes. How has the Lisbon office been able to take advantage of exporting expertise to third part countries?
Every time we enter a new country we find a similar pattern of potential work. This can mean Master Planning - and we have really world class teams to help us with such large projects – but it can also involve retail and hospitality (hotels). Master Planning often involves city extensions, particularly in emerging markets where there is a desperate need for urban growth. We look at the full life cycle of the development from the economic, social, lifestyle and environmental sides. Our Master Planning teams work all around the world: Angola, Middle East, China and South-East Asia as well. Master Planning can also mean urban regeneration and this month we actually won an award for a Master Plan extension and an urban regeneration project for Calgary in Canada. We’re also doing a huge Master Planning project in India in Bangalore. Of course the competition is tough, but we retain a professional standard. We will not buy work as some practices are doing. We compete and sometimes we lose and sometimes we win. We have lost somewhat in terms of fee levels and straightforward bids, but when we get into the competition and design stages and get the chance to explain the narrative and methodology, we quite often win the contract. We tend to go into a country on the back of project wins; Abu Dhabi was an example of that where we won a very significant Master Plan for the Docklands there which are just about to open. Dubai has also been interesting for us and we are now stretching out to Qatar with four projects, so we might open up an office in Doha. We’re also looking at Bahrain. Saudi Arabia is suddenly on the scene for us too with a number of enquiries. You build up a momentum, presence and track record and that will attract business from other countries within that region. In the Middle East we’re doing a lot of schools and educational buildings, particularly international schools.
Can you tell us about your success in the Far East?
Both Singapore and Shanghai opened in the same month 4 years ago and have both become very established and busy offices. They are very different markets, with Singapore covering the whole of South-East Asia. We’ve moved to larger premises in Shanghai which shows it’s a very successful office and we’ve taken more space in Singapore with 60 staff there and 45 in Shanghai.
The Lisbon team was instrumental in opening a new office in São Paulo, can you tell us a little about your role in that?
Brazil has proved a natural stepping stone for us. We’re fully legalised with the Brazilian company now. similar to what we have done in other countries we have started out with a small office which is backed up by the office in Lisbon. We have kept this office in Lisbon very stable in terms of staff members. We’ve also got three people working directly from the Madrid office here that will be working in Chile, Columbia, Argentina and Peru. We’re covering Latin America whether its in Portuguese speaking or Spanish countries.
Broadway Malyan recently marked its 15th anniversary in Lisbon, which was its first step outside the UK. Among your most emblematic projects in Portugal were: Rossio Station restoration, the revamping of the shopping areas at Lisbon Airport, Torre Zen in Parque das Nações, Hotel Olissipio Oriente, Fórum Algarve, Fórum Barreiro, Espaço Guimarães, and more recently, Barreiro Retail Planet. Which was your favourite project?
The refurbishment of Rossio Station was a very nice project for us and today there are always tourists taking photos of the façade and it’s become one of the most photographed buildings in Lisbon. The square outside was really awful and now look at the difference with the cafés and eateries. The inside too had been in a dreadful state, just shocking and that awful shopping centre inside that just didn’t work.
What architectural projects do you have in Portugal?
We’re still working at Lisbon Airport following the Phase I refurbishment of the food court and retail areas. We’re working on the Phase III extension which has been delayed twice already, but will now open during the course of next year with significant retail and waiting areas. It now looks like an international airport and has suddenly become a gateway for Portugal which Lisbon never had before. The design life span for the modernisation is for 10 years but it is likely to be longer than that. Évora shopping is also under construction, a relatively small and local centre which will open next year as well. We’re also continuing to work for Primark in terms of refitting out all their shop units in both Portugal (4 units) and Spain (18 units). In terms of urban regeneration projects in Portugal we haven’t really tried to get that kind of work here, although we recognise there is big potential and it is happening but on a much smaller scale. It’s also a very political area so we haven’t really pushed it. In Portugal we are doing a number of refurbishments of shopping centres - what we call repositioning - with four projects on the drawing board. The same trend is happening in Spain. The problem in Portugal is that there is very little investment, whereas there is in Spain.
Are environmental concerns as strong in the Far East as they are in Europe?
Green and sustainable buildings are still very significant; in fact they are absolutely fundamental, especially in Singapore where it is a legalised requirement. We wrote the Green Roof Policy for Singapore. China too is getting stronger now in this respect. Trends depend on the location. Here in Lisbon we still have a very retail orientated team and that expertise and experience is helping in other countries now.
All text and photos kindly supplied by BPCC Member: