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Award-winning architecture firms merge

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Award-winning Adelaide architecture firms Grieve Gillett and Dimitty Andersen will merge next month.

The consolidation, which officially comes into effect on July 1, seeks to strengthen the two organisations.

Dimitty Andersen and her two fellow architects will move to Grieve Gillett’s offices on Pirie Street, bringing staff numbers for the combined firm to 25.

Andersen and Grieve Gillett director Paul Gillett hailed the merger as a win-win for the businesses.

“We now have access to a wider base of resources internally within the office,” said Andersen.

“We also have exposure to a broader range of expertise in terms of more senior architects.

“From my perspective as a smaller practice, I feel like it’s a fantastic thing for me to still have the conditions and working environment that I have pursued in my own work.”

Gillett said he was impressed by the “resilience” of Andersen and her small firm.

“[Andersen] is a very capable practitioner,” he said.

“She has a philosophy very similar to ours [and] she works in an area which is very complex. Those are attributes that we look for in people that we work with.”

The new firm has launched its website today and will be known as Grieve Gillett Dimitty Andersen Architects until a “possible re-branding” after 12 months.

“The first year is trying to sort all that out before we feel like everything’s actually bedded down,” said Andersen.

“It’s hugely complex to actually join two businesses.”

The amalgamation will provide increased mentoring opportunities for staff.

“All staff are expected, including directors … to mentor staff that are junior to them,” said Gillett.

“That’s a beneficial process for the junior staff, but also for the senior staff. This provides a perfect opportunity to do that.”

Both businesses will complete current projects with clients before launching collective bids for new work.

The merger comes at a difficult time for the Adelaide architecture industry.

“Difficult would be a nice understatement, yes,” said Gillett.

“2012 was a tough year, ’13 was worse and ’14 was worse again … If you can do business in Adelaide, then you can do it anywhere, because it’s a bloody tough market.

“We need to move forward in a positive and optimistic manner, no matter what. This is part of that optimism.”

According to Andersen, the amalgamation will help the businesses thrive in harsh conditions.

“Our industry is very volatile and sometimes chaotic, and I think Grieve Gillett has stability [and] a consistent reputation,” she said. “Historically, they have an excellent design reputation.”

She said she was confident high-quality architecture would always be in demand.

“Sometimes, architects come across as a bit negative, but ultimately, architecture is a very difficult industry,” she said.

“On one hand, we’re creative and we are, in some ways, artisans. On the other hand, we’re supposed to operate like we’re businesspeople in suits. And somewhere in the middle, we’re supposed to produce beautiful work.

“In the peaks and the troughs, I think good design prevails.”

 

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