RMJM star architect exits firm
Tony Kettle resigns troubled practice after two decades
RMJM has been hit with its most significant departure yet with news that architect Tony Kettle has quit the firm after 23 years in order to set up a new practice.
BD understands that Kettle, who is RMJM’s international design principal and based in Edinburgh, only handed his notice in at the beginning of the week. His departure comes just a few weeks after his former right-hand man Colin Bone, the managing principal at the group’s European studio, quit at the beginning of the month.
Kettle joined RMJM in 1989 and as well as the award-winning Falkirk Wheel, his key projects have included the practices’s tallest building — the Okhta Tower in St Petersburg — better known as the Gazprom tower.
He first came to know Fraser Morrison, now RMJM chairman, when the pair worked together on the Falkirk Wheel which was built by Morrison’s former firm Morrison Construction. The rotating boat lift opened in 2002.
The Englishman has also been working on RMJM’s £262 million scheme to design segment 3 of the United Terminal at Domodedovo Airport in Moscow — the country’s largest airport — as well as tower schemes in Bahrain.
One source said: “Tony is RMJM, he’s a major player. He’s the man without a shadow of a doubt. I’m sure a number of clients are working with RMJM because of him and I wouldn’t be surprised if some follow him. He’s probably the most valuable person in the business.”
Kettle’s former colleague Paul Stallan, who worked with Kettle on both the Scottish Parliament as well as and the Falkirk Wheel,has decided to set up a new business with another ex-RMJM staffer Alistair Brand.
The pair, who left within days of each other in January, have resurfaced to form Glasgow-based Stallan-Brand Architecture & Design.
Stallan, who has won RIBA and RIAS design awards for his work at RMJM, and Brand are looking at targeting work in New York and London and have already picked up a couple of projects.
RMJM, which this week parted company with its PR agency of three years, Big Partnership, declined to comment.