900 bed hotel win for Falconer Chester Hall as practice celebrates its 25th year

Architecture practice Falconer Chester Hall is celebrating its appointment to deliver The Forum, a 900 guest room hotel in South Kensington, as it marks the start of its 25th year in business.

The 76-strong firm was founded in 1997 in Semmes House, Liverpool and has since grown to include thriving studios in London (2010) and Manchester (2015).

“Our first project was the transformation of Queen Square in Liverpool, and it helped set the direction of the practice,” explains co-founder Paul Falconer.

“It was a major mixed-use scheme and its constituent parts have been the cornerstone of our growth since,” he adds, referring to the firm’s acknowledged specialisms in hotel, office, residential and leisure design.

The latest project win, for developer Fragrance Group – the company behind the transformation of Municipal Buildings in Liverpool – reinforces how the hotel sector has underpinned FCH’s output for more than two decades.

‘We’re delighted to be trusted with this major development in the capital, showing how far we have come as a firm. We will always be proud that our company has grown out of Liverpool to be respected nationally, ” added director Alastair Shepherd, who has been with the firm for 23 years.

The Temple Square-headquartered practice currently has 109 live projects on its books and remains one of only three firms based in the north west to be included in industry bible Architects’ Journal’s coveted AJ100 list.

“We’ve ridden out multiple recessions, rapid market changes and several major office moves and feel the fitter for it,” says Paul Falconer.  “Despite current market headwinds we see more scope for growth, particularly in the residential and hospitality sectors, and there are exciting opportunities to make a positive impact by focusing on sustainability.

The firm’s latest project win will be delivered by the team in its London studio, with backing from Liverpool colleagues, highlighting the way new technologies enable collaboration between studios, says Paul Falconer.