The employee-owned model reflects our long-established ethos. It is the excellent communication, and teamwork across Purcell, that enables the quality of service we provide.
As we transition to an employee-owned business, we reflect on the 70 years since Purcell established its practice. Employee-ownership is a celebration of our unity across our studios, and is a reminder of our collaborative and positive culture which has been shaped by our decades of operation.
Here we reflect on a number of projects — both old and new — from our beginnings at Ely Cathedral, through to Kresen Kernow. These projects demonstrate the values that Purcell has had from its beginning; sensitively adapting spaces with social and environmental sustainability at the core.
Purcell was founded in the 1940s by conservation expert, Donovan Purcell.
In 1960 Donovan was appointed as Surveyor to the Fabric of Ely Cathedral, and since then, Purcell has provided the building with over 50 years of care. Since this beginning, Purcell has grown, and opened studios across the UK and Asia Pacific.
We are proud to maintain long-standing relationships across our projects despite our growth, for example at The National Gallery where we have worked for 30 years, leading multiple conservation and design projects, and with Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts where we’ve led a range of conservation works for over 10 years.
The National Maritime Museum and The National Portrait Gallery are a few of the fantastic places that we are privileged to work on, projects which stem from our exceptional collaborative mindset, and are a testament to our team’s continued hard work and resilience. As we transition to employee-ownership this warrants great celebration.
With studios across the north, Purcell are working on some of the most iconic buildings in central Manchester; from the London Road Fire Station and Manchester Museum, to Manchester Town Hall. These projects are rooted in collaboration with our partners, and will bring the buildings back to the heart of Manchester as flagship destinations.
We’re proud of the positive relationships with our collaborators, and this long-standing commitment of Purcell will be further celebrated by our new employee-ownership model.
Whilst working on Manchester Town Hall, Purcell has been excellent at helping me follow my passion for accessible design, supporting my attendance of training programmes, and allowing me to develop my skills. The transition to employee-ownership is the next step in Purcell investing in its people, and I really respect the Board for making itself accountable to its employees.
Many of our projects have received national and international acclaim through winning or being shortlisted for a range of prestigious awards. Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts received The Award of Excellence in the 2019 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, while in the UK design-led project, Kresen Kernow is shortlisted for the 2021 RIBA Awards.
Although oceans apart, both projects illustrate the ideology we hold dear: transforming spaces where diverse communities’ voices matter, and employee-ownership will only amplify this.
Since establishing our studios in Asia Pacific, our team has worked across a breadth of projects, and we’re delighted to have been appointed by the Commonwealth for further work at Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA), to inform future management of Government House. Similarly, we are working at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and with WilkinsonEyre to create a new chapter for the State Theatre in Hong Kong.
These projects showcase our commitment to enabling our clients to devise long-term solutions for the sustainable future of their buildings, and for the communities and people that they serve.
This is mirrored in the UK too, where employee-ownership will enable us to retain our character and company values, while working across some of the UK’s most valued sites. 2021 has already been highlighted by projects which have both enhanced existing collaborations and new relationships.
Through a £29.4m Lottery Heritage funded project, our Cambridge studio has conserved and repaired parts of Nottingham Castle's vast architectural heritage, and the site is due to open in the summer. Also supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, our Manchester studio have led the redevelopment of Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage, and this has created new opportunities for the public to learn and connect with the poet’s work.
Becoming an EO company is a natural extension of Purcell’s culture, and will only enhance our collective approach to business and strengthen the relationships we have as a team.
As we move to an employee-owned structure, we pay homage to our teams across all our studios who have been instrumental to our projects’ success. As we look ahead our business continues to strengthen, as does our ability to continue delivering excellent consultancy for our clients both now and into the future.