1970

United Nations HQ

1970
United Nations HQ

An international jury of eminent architects and building experts opts eight to one for BDP's £70m competition winning scheme for the UN office in Vienna. However the UN rejects their recommendations and the design for the megastructure is never built. Building Design magazine reports: “The blocking of the prestigious award for one of the world’s largest buildings to BDP has triggered off the biggest controversy since Le Corbusier’s scheme for the League of Nations in Geneva was rejected. This time the building is the UN international conference centre in Vienna. The British Embassy in Vienna is concerned about the situation and the Foreign Office is keeping a close watch on developments. BDP is riding out the trauma in stoic silence."

Merger with engineers Lowe & Rodin

1970
Merger with engineers Lowe & Rodin

Engineers Lowe & Rodin merge with BDP, having worked together on Aldershot Military Town and also bringing some of their projects with them such as Liverpool Catholic Cathedral. “We have greatly increased in size and our fee income has doubled. We are therefore more assured and ready to move into new fields at home and abroad. The most exciting of these fields is civil engineering..... The combined firm will be over 500 strong and is probably the only one in the world practising as a totally integrated multidisciplinary design unit with full professional representation at every level in the structure of the practice. By this merger, BDP confirms its belief that the future of man's environment lies more in complete identity of design practice and purpose than in professional isolation or temporary association."

Functional committees formed

1970
Functional committees formed

A series of functional committees is formed to avoid inefficiencies and keep high standards of reward and working conditions. Each is charged with shaping policy, checking progress and reporting to the general partnership. The committees are: Co-ordination, Communications, Staff and Welfare, Premises, Office Services, Legal, Programming, Finance, and Presentation.

Raleigh Chopper introduced to UK

1971

Bank of England in Leeds completes

1971
Bank of England in Leeds completes

This milestone project completes and is highly praised for its extremely high quality in terms of finishes and services. "The occupants work in a fully air-conditioned environment and are insulated from traffic noise by double glazing. The decision to air-condition had an influence upon the exterior of the building; window sizes were reduced to avoid excessive solar heat gain and for the same reason and also to reduce internal glare, a bronze tinted glass was used in all windows. Apart from the walkway which was finished in grit blasted concrete all external solid surfaces were clad in grey Cornish granite. The windows were simple frames of dark bronze set flush with the granite and formed into projecting bays which echoed in a modern idiom, the scale of the bank's older neighbours."

BDP International

1971
BDP International

As the UK economic situation worsens the practice invests heavily in international activities with established bases in Johannesburg, Rome and Memphis. These are intended to be self-supporting and with growth potential in their own country, but jointly to provide a framework for opportunities anywhere in the world. The opening phases of action are intended to establish BDP International firmly among the major international organisations.

Decimalisation

1972

Channel Tunnel UK Terminal

1972
Channel Tunnel UK Terminal

BDP is selected from a formidable list of top consultants for the study of the Channel Tunnel UK Terminal, representing an important breakthrough into a new type of work with a major civil engineering content. Initial reference designs and further studies for the 125 hectare site are prepared alongside contract documents for the works due to commence on site in 1975. However the project is cancelled by the UK government in January that year.

First Major Retail Project Completes

1972
First Major Retail Project Completes

The first two phases of Blackburn Town Centre complete, consisting of a service area, shops, roof level and multi-storey car park, a 15 storey office building, a nightclub and large department stores. The concrete frame structure is clad entirely with glazed tiles, white for horizontal and brown for the vertical structural elements. This rigid theme unifies the whole development and allows flexibility for individual shops with the modular grid system. Phase I completes in 1969 and wins a Civic Trust Award.

PM opens Engineering Building at Bradford

1972
PM opens Engineering Building at Bradford

Prime Minister Edward Heath opens the Civil Engineering Building at the University of Bradford and BDP holds an exhibition and commissions a brochure. The leader of the opposition, Harold Wilson, is also present as Chancellor of the University. GG meets them both.

New Management Group Structure

1972
New Management Group Structure

BDP restructures with GG as the first chairman with a brief to chair meetings of the newly appointed Northern and Southern Resource Area managers, to be called the BDP Management Group and to be responsible for partnership interests overall. The group is elected by the partnership as a whole and is eligible for re-election every three years. This will allow equality and flexibility, and establish a clearer structure for the unity of the firm. Each partner has specific areas of responsibility within clearly defined roles and office chairmen are appointed to ensure co-ordination of office activities.

RIBA Conference visits BDP

1972
RIBA Conference visits BDP

The RIBA conference is held in Lancaster. The most popular excursion is to see new buildings in Preston including the bus station and it concludes with a tour of BDP’s Preston offices and refreshments in its own Vernon Gallery.

GG becomes Professor

1972
GG becomes Professor

GG is appointed to the Chair of Architecture and Head of Department at University of Sheffield, for a three year professorship whilst keeping his ties with BDP.

Pocket calculator replaces slide rule

1973

A large increase in new work.

1973
A large increase in new work.

A large increase in new work leads to BDP’s biggest increase in staff to date, amid a sense of growing industrial unrest in the country as a whole.

Haymarket Centre and Theatre opens

1973
Haymarket Centre and Theatre opens

BDP’s retail success continues with the completion of another large scale development. The Haymarket development in Leicester consists of shopping space at ground and first floor levels with parking for 500 cars on two levels on top and an office building above this again. A 710 seat theatre is set above the ground level shopping at the north end of the site.

Albert Dock Conservation

1973
Albert Dock Conservation

Liverpool Council’s decision to acquire and convert the Albert Dock as the new home for Liverpool Polytechnic follows the recommendation of a BDP feasibility study of shortlisted sites. The commission is for the conversion of the Victorian structures around the seven acre dock, the largest attempt to reuse old buildings for modern activity in Europe. All planning approval and listed building consent is obtained; however indecision by Liverpool Polytechnic over the relocation, and local party politics, stalls the project in 1977.

Interior Design Unit set up in London

1973
Interior Design Unit set up in London

An interior design unit is set up in London, and very soon develops in strength and reputation with a series of workplace fit-outs for companies including Shell and Arthur Andersen, and the interior design and fixed furniture for the Lisbon Bank project and Northern Bank, Belfast, and BDP’s offices.

Overseas associations wound up

1973
Overseas associations wound up

BDP winds up associations with overseas practices in Johannesburg, Memphis and Rome due to economic instability and changes in the firm’s policy.

Music Society and Vernon Gallery

1973
Music Society and Vernon Gallery

Joseph Cooper from the BBC’s ‘Face the Music’ programme reports that it is a coveted honour to be asked to perform for BDP’s Music Society. Recitals are held every season in Preston office’s own Vernon Gallery, which attract a lot of attention externally along with other events including fashion shows, language classes and folk evenings.

Twin Towers complete in New York

1974

GG Retires and Bill White takes over

1974
GG Retires and Bill White takes over

Bill White takes over chair of partnership as BDP’s founder, GG, retires on 30 April. The day is declared a holiday and all members of the firm are invited to the Preston Guildhall. Special transport is arranged and 650 people enjoy a celebration lunch to wish him and his wife, Milena, well for the future.

Queen Opens Halifax Building Society Headquarters

1974
Queen Opens Halifax Building Society Headquarters

The completion of Halifax Building Society headquarters arouses considerable comment and interest from lay and technical press both locally and nationally, resulting in a scholarly approval from the Architectural Review, and the BBC’s ‘Spirit of the Age’ which cites it as an outstanding example of sophisticated modern design. The building has become part of the society's corporate identity, and it continues to respond to evolving work methods and to demonstrate the society's care for its staff. BDP goes back twice to refurbish the offices to accommodate changes in working methods and technology, in 1994 and again in 2000.

Grenfell Baines Award introduced

1974
Grenfell Baines Award introduced

BDP initiates an annual internal travel scholarship known as the Grenfell Baines Award, to promote the development of ideas which will contribute to improving the quality and enjoyment of life and work, and also provide research for the practice. The recipients are given a £1000 voucher for travel and photography.

The Design Teaching Practice

1974
The Design Teaching Practice

GG’s new venture, the Design Teaching Practice, starts in Sheffield with loose ties to the university. It had long been his hope to inaugurate a teaching office with a role similar to that of a medical school, where young designers can receive practical training to supplement their theoretical education and the DTP is the realisation of that aim.

First Structural Steel Award for Halifax Building Society

1974
First Structural Steel Award for Halifax Building Society

The judges comment “The structure is a practical combination of steel and concrete to provide an economic solution. The use of the space in the steel frame on the second floor to house the air handling plant is economic in terms of space and air conditioning. The building fits well into its surroundings and although from certain angles appears to dominate them, the overall scale is not obtrusive in what is a small-scale town. The way in which the ground floor has been restricted to allow for well landscaped pedestrian access around the building is highly commendable and helps to integrate the building with its surroundings.”

Barcode used for the first time

1975

Slow down in economy

1975
Slow down in economy

All offices are affected by the developing recession in the building industry. The importance of large continuous projects and the greater vulnerability of smaller offices to a sudden reduction in workload are highlighted.

Durham Millburngate completes

1975
Durham Millburngate completes

Phase I of the riverside development creates a centre that provides much needed shopping facilities without destroying the existing medieval character of the historic city. The scheme goes on to win top awards including a RIBA Award, Civic Trust Award, and also the highly prestigious Europa Nostra Medal, the only such medal to be awarded in Great Britain, and also the only modern building in Europe to be recognised in this way.

Two Civic Trust Heritage Awards

1975
Two Civic Trust Heritage Awards

In European Architectural Heritage Year, the Civic Trust Awards are given to works of restoration, reuse, redevelopment in historic setting, and environmental improvements. BDP wins two awards, both for reuse of buildings: Southport Arts Centre, Merseyside for reusing the Cambridge Halls building and Samlesbury Hall, Lancashire, restored and converted as a centre for the Council for the Protection of Rural England. Both winners are designed by Preston office, and conversion of existing buildings now features strongly in the new work of all offices.

First RIBA Award for Halifax Building Society

1975
First RIBA Award for Halifax Building Society

Halifax Building Society is awarded BDP’s first RIBA Award for Architecture, recognised as the premier design award. The judges comment “This is a fine piece of architecture – bold, confident and uplifting. Although almost arrogant in concept, the building nevertheless bends to the humble street pattern. Wherever one is there seems to be a view which delights. The client is rewarded with one of the finest office environments in Britain today and one which is likely to remain so for a long time to come. It is a building of which the society can be proud, the town can be proud and our profession must surely be proud.”

Typewriters upgraded to IBM Executives

1975
Typewriters upgraded to IBM Executives

All BDP typewriters are upgraded with the IBM Executive with mid century typeface, and IBM document copiers are installed in the bigger offices.

British Leyland Research Centre

1975
British Leyland Research Centre

The appointment for this enormous project of major national significance comes directly as a result of the publicity for Halifax Building Society and BDP’s growing professional reputation. The commission represents a move into the industrial sector at the highest level of scale and sophistication. The project gives the firm’s workload a significant boost for several years before hopes of it ever getting built gradually fade due to British Leyland’s part nationalisation and a major cull of its assets.

Microsoft Corporation established

1976

ICI Wilton wins RIBA Award

1976
ICI Wilton wins RIBA Award

The new headquarters and research facilities for the petrochemicals division of ICI at Wilton, Teeside quickly become known as the Wilton Hilton. The RIBA Award judges say: “The result is a building excellent of its type, making full use of its fine site. The project has a high quality of design and consistency of treatment and detailing. The jury has no doubt that the scheme as a whole fully meets the high standards required for an award.”

Pilgrim Hospital completes

1976
Pilgrim Hospital completes

The 523 bed hospital, on a greenfield site with staff accommodation, completes 15 years after the competition was won. Buildings are orientated to maximise views onto the attractive landscaped grounds, and circulation routes provide quick and easy access for staff and visitors.

Landscape Unit set up in Manchester

1976
Landscape Unit set up in Manchester

A landscape architecture unit is established in Manchester office which is already influencing the siting and conception for our projects, and aims to enlarge its role throughout the firm. This unit, similar in concept to the interiors group in London and graphic concentration in Preston, will enable a viable group of specialist designers to serve the whole firm.

Development Committee

1976
Development Committee

A development committee is set up to co-ordinate the many activities concerning job opportunities. Its principal task is to implement the firm’s decision to explore job opportunities abroad and make up for the probability that the volume of work in the UK will remain low for several years.

Ergon Chair invented

1977

Queen opens Nottingham QMC

1977
Queen opens Nottingham QMC

BDP’s biggest project to date, the 1,400 bed Queen's Medical Centre at Nottingham, is opened by the Queen. Planning commenced in 1965 and building work began on the first phase in 1971. The programme completes in 1980.

Northern Bank HQ wins RIBA Award

1977
Northern Bank HQ wins RIBA Award

The seven storey building provides accommodation for the major departments of the Northern Bank Head Office and the bank’s main city branch in Belfast. The RIBA judges state: “The design successfully achieves the difficult task of providing a building which, while emphatically stating its importance as housing a major financial and commercial headquarters, does not challenge the dominance of the City Hall, nor add another strident note to an already cacophonous chorus from the hotchpotch of styles and periods elsewhere in the square.”

Keith Ingham Vice President of RIBA

1977
Keith Ingham Vice President of RIBA

Keith Ingham is elected as a Vice President of the RIBA, a status never achieved before by a salaried architect from private practice.

Long Service Award

1977
Long Service Award

The Staff and Welfare Committee announces the launch of the first long service awards. Ten members take a month’s leave of absence to undertake a research project agreed by the firm. This gives them the opportunity to extend their knowledge and at the same time bring back yet more skill and experience to BDP.

Restructure of Management Group

1977
Restructure of Management Group

The Management Group is restructured with four members who have a full time commitment and a minimum period in office of two years. The group exercises collective responsibility but each individual has one of four areas of particular interest: Strategic Planning; Quality of Product; Quality of Life; Finance and Administration. Greater emphasis is given to the role of office chairmen who are responsible to the Management Group for integrating all activities of their office and for its performance results.

Computer Unit established

1977
Computer Unit established

A HP3000 series II computer is installed at a cost of £120,000 to provide a springboard for computer advancement across the whole firm. A computer services manager is appointed with the brief to convert the systems from the PDP8s and promote the use of computers in all professions in all offices. The HP3000 is capable of handling 16 simultaneous users and there are terminals in Manchester, London and Guildford connected by normal Post Office telephone lines. Preston office has two terminals hard-wired to the computer and the Computing Unit has four terminals.

Pompidou Centre opens

1978

Upturn in the Economy

1978
Upturn in the Economy

“The outlook this year is much brighter, a significant increase in enquiries to all offices and major projects secured in every one; old projects restored to life; past efforts coming to fruition and a growing awareness that the benefits of integrated practice are appreciated. Hopefully the year will be seen as the first step to recovery after the most severe depression the firm has ever faced.”

RIBA Award for Chloride Technical

1978
RIBA Award for Chloride Technical

BDP’s fourth successive RIBA Award is given to Chloride Technical Research and Development Centre in Swinton (Greater Manchester). “This is an industrial building of outstanding quality. The client’s demand for flexibility has been successfully met in a structure which, without looking in any way cheap, is economical and has allowed a high proportion of the budget to be spent on comprehensive services. All in all, a competent piece of design which looks attractive and which stands out from the mediocrity of the earlier industrial buildings which surround it.”

Swansea Quadrant Shopping Centre

1978
Swansea Quadrant Shopping Centre

BDP’s reputation for major town centre redevelopments is enhanced with the completion of Swansea Quadrant Shopping Centre, an adjoining store for Debenhams, both of which open in time for Christmas, together with a major bus interchange.

GG knighted

1978
GG knighted

BDP is knighted in Queen’s birthday honours list. BDP’s founder and consultant becomes Professor Sir George Grenfell Baines, thus crowning his ahievements in private practice, the building design professions, the construction industry and academia.

First BDP Database

1978
First BDP Database

The Computing Unit sets up BDP’s first database to assist Strategic Planning in its creation of a contacts register. This quickly grows to include the share system, the drawings archival records, staff qualifications and historical job closure numbers.

Grease

1979

Difficult year with major setbacks

1979
Difficult year with major setbacks

The year starts with cancellation and postponement of some major projects causing considerable concern, and a serious downturn in both workload and profitability looks imminent.

Associate Partners

1979
Associate Partners

A new layer of management is introduced. Associate Partners are appointed to extend recognition and leadership and to encourage delegation.

Tehran Bus Terminal completes

1979
Tehran Bus Terminal completes

BDP completes its first major building abroad. Designed with local architect Y Ittihadieh & Partners the circular building sits below street level with pedestrian access over a bridge. The building is designed to handle 50,000 passengers and 850 bus movements per day, and serve all long distance bus journeys from the capital to other cities and countries.

Bill Pearson elected Chairman of Council

1979
Bill Pearson elected Chairman of Council

The principal aim of forming a Council is to bring back incisive leadership by a small group, which has the delegated authority to make operational policy, determine objectives, and ensure implementation through the Management Group. Council comprises the four managing partners, each with their own area of interest, who form the Executive, and six non-executive members who continue in operational roles and are elected for their potential to contribute to the firm as individuals.

Glasgow Office moves to Blythswood Square

1979
Glasgow Office moves to Blythswood Square

Staff numbers in Glasgow increase by 50% over the year to almost 40 as the office moves towards a full multidisciplinary office. A number of significant project wins add to the large amount of tenement rehabilitation work for housing associations that gives the office the bulk of its workload. The office moves to 5 Blythswood Square, in order to accommodate the increase, where it remains until 2004.

Multidisciplinary Groupings

1979
Multidisciplinary Groupings

Manchester has a radical change from a profession orientated to a project orientated office. It reforms into three multidisciplinary groups and group leaders are responsible for the management of all projects, supported by profession partners. In order to sharpen decision making a mini management group of three partners is formed leaving other partners free for professional and other functions.

Introduction of the Brown Paper

1979
Introduction of the Brown Paper

The first Brown Paper is issued in November 1979 and signals the end of what was known as the Practice and Participation debate. Its conclusions are set out under the heading 'New Developments in BDP' a partnership statement on the next steps in the evolution of the firm. Subsequent Brown Papers summarise reports of each financial year, value of the income share, value of the membership remainder profit share, any major changes in structure and new leadership appointments.

Slide Set Introduced

1979
Slide Set Introduced

Audio-visual techniques advance during the year with research on methods most likely to suit BDP. Cross fading and recording slide projectors improve presentations and Communications provide each office with a set of slides useful for introducing the firm, its methods and its achievements to prospective clients and staff. The slide set is modular, its elements able to be dropped into different presentations and evolves into a PowerPoint presentation which is still widely used throughout the practice today.

Sony Walkman