Lancaster architects celebrate 40 years - and look to next 40

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Staff at Lancaster-based HPA (formerly known as Harrison Pitt Architects) are to celebrate 40 years at the forefront of heritage and contemporary design with a party that applauds their successes while emphatically looking to the future.

The award-winning practice has built a national reputation for its expert minds and a versatile and considered approach to building design, planning and solutions.

In 1979 Mike Harrison and Dennis Pitt pooled their experience and took the leap to start their own practice. They set up in a rented office in Dalton Square with, as Dennis remembers; “Two drawing boards set up on bricks, a land line, belief and passion.” Early commissions included Castle Hill and St George’s Quay.

Word spread, with recommendations and plaudits swiftly following, in fact 40 years on the practice has evolved considerably. Now based in their Castle Hill offices, the team of eleven includes architects, consultants, planning and technical experts and have built decades of experience co-ordinating a wide range of projects throughout the country.

Notably client-focused, the team relish a challenge, whether that be sensitively restoring a 12th century church, designing a 26-acre lakeside luxury holiday home site, or getting permission for a contemporary home conversion within the National Park. Projects include houses, hotels, Historic England (formerly English heritage) listed restoration, hi-tech laboratory and commercial newbuilds, even volunteer-led railways and charity-run community schemes.

Director Richard Wooldridge says; “40 years of successful partnership with clients and authorities in our dynamic, exacting and challenging industry is certainly something to celebrate. A great opportunity to give well-deserved thanks to the team, our party is about ‘1979 to 2019 and beyond’. Invited guests will be able to meet our team, view detailed displays of HPA’s projects so far, and discuss exciting upcoming proposals.”

Key to the practice’s longevity has been building lasting relationships with clients, such as commercial & leisure clients across the UK. This shared understanding underpins successful ongoing project partnerships in renovation, redevelopment and expansion.

Richard adds; ““Some of our earliest projects gave us exceptional experience UK wide across the touring & leisure sector, working on behalf of The Caravan Club and more recently The Camping and Caravan Club along with a range of private sites delivering in excess of 50 projects. In fact, our onsite loos have even won top industry awards, so it’s nice to think if people are camping more comfortably, it’s down to us!”

A glamping holiday gave Richard the idea for ‘PlusPods’, unique modular buildings designed by the practice for glamping and holiday homes, home offices and garden rooms.

At the other end of the scale, HPA helped to deliver the UK’S largest egg-packing centre at Standlake in Oxfordshire. HPA was the lead consultant on the £10.5 million, 82,500 sq ft facility project for noble foods shell egg division.

Clearly looking forward to the next 40 years, this is one firm who are evidently not content to rest on their laurels.