Based in our Manchester studio, Vanessa Torri is an Architect working on the refurbishment of Grade I Listed Manchester Town Hall. She is also responsible for educational outreach programmes that add social value to the project, alongside her experience as a visiting tutor at Manchester School of Architecture.

Here, Vanessa discusses the opportunities that transitioning to an employee-owned practice (in May 2021) will bring Purcell, and how it will continue our legacy in delivering exceptional services for our clients.

The National Gallery

What does employee-ownership mean to you?

It is a fantastic opportunity for Purcell’s people to become more invested in the success of the company. EO will allow Mark Goldspink and Andy Clark to transition into retirement without any concerns about who’s going to take Purcell’s legacy forward. Employees will collectively take forward the brand that has been carefully built in the past decades. This is an exciting time to be part of the practice and we have already started seeing a culture shift at a local and national level.

Purcell Day Out 2018

How do you think it will reinforce our people’s strengths to help design a high quality of service?

Purcell’s aim is to make you the best you can be, and the practice has always focused on harvesting the talent of its staff via CPDs, training, mentoring, etc. Transitioning to EO will only strengthen this as profits will be reinvested in the business and in training.

Christ Church Thatched Barn

What are the advantages of EO?

The workforce becomes more committed to the success of the business, as they feel they can speak up and make tangible changes. There are many other advantages, such as tax breaks, succession planning and transparency of information. Overall, EO promotes a sense of egalitarianism that works well in an architectural company where ideas are in constant flux and where everyone, regardless of age and gender, should feel free to share.

The National Gallery, Gallery B

Why do you think more architecture practices are moving to EO?

Younger generations are often unable to buy shares due to a high level of debts (university fees, increasing house prices, living costs, etc.) which means that young talent doesn’t have the opportunity to step in, despite wanting to!

The EO structure envisaged by Purcell has already enabled young, talented, and focused people to become part of the Trust and help build an exciting new future for the company. Our clients and collaborators know that the high quality of work that they have seen us produce over the years will continue, and they see Purcell’s move as a very positive step.