Mark Middleton relocating to Sydney as he takes up new role

Mark Middleton has been elected global managing partner at Grimshaw.

He has also announced his relocation to Australia where he will be based at the practice’s Sydney office.

Middleton, who has worked at Grimshaw for 24 years and who is a Building Design columnist, was voted into the top job by his fellow partners.

He was managing partner of the London office for two three-year terms until 2018 before returning to the pool of partners. He was replaced by Kirsten Lees, the only woman among the London partners. During Middleton’s tenure the studio and its revenues grew by more than 50%.

Mark Middleton index

Mark Middleton

His move downunder this autumn is a personal decision but reflects the importance of the practice’s Australian operations as well as the potential of south-east Asia, he said.

“The focus isn’t so much on future growth but more expansion into south-east Asia and other sectors,” said a spokesman.

Nearly a third of Grimshaw’s staff and international collaborators are located in Melbourne and Sydney, with Australia accounting for almost a third of its operations, up from a fifth just three years ago.

Much of this work is in infrastructure, with large-scale projects including Sydney Light Rail and Martin Place Metro, Victoria’s Mernda rail extension, Auckland City Rail and airports in Australia and New Zealand.

Middleton has significant transport experience, having led the Stirling Prize-shortlisted London Bridge Station redevelopment, Heathrow masterplan and HS2 Curzon Street Station in Birmingham as well as projects in Australia. He is also a member of the board of the British Aviation Group.

He said: “The Australian practice is well placed for the substantial and accelerating investment in infrastructure by all levels of Australian government and is increasingly the locus of Grimshaw’s activities in south-east Asia.”

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Andrew Cortese, Grimshaw’s Sydney managing partner, welcomed Middleton’s imminent arrival in the city, saying: “Mark has been a consistent advocate for the Australian practice, contributing not only his expertise but his larrikin humour and true camaraderie. His presence here in Sydney will continue to reinforce the vision and ambition of all Australian and pan-Asian projects originating in our studio across all of our portfolios: education, science, culture, tall buildings and infrastructure.”

The practice, which has seven studios but no head office, works on a “networked” basis with the expertise of all the partners shared around the world. Each partner can be voted into the various managing partner roles for temporary stints as a way of increasing experience across the board.

Middleton added: “Today, I’m starting my new role with a three-year programme to deliver brilliant outcomes for our finances, our people, our new work and our projects. I want us to share and collaborate more, so we can be successful at many more global, diverse projects.”