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Working at PTE 2017

Pollard Thomas Edwards combines design talent, commercial acumen and social commitment to lift every day places out of the ordinary


Pollard Thomas Edwards

Working at PTE Talented people come to Pollard Thomas Edwards (PTE) from all sorts of places and backgrounds. Around 18 different languages are spoken, and we aim to maintain a 50:50 gender balance. PTE enjoys high levels of staff retention – and a significant number of returnees. This is partly down to the work we do and how we do it, as well as the sociable working environment we promote at our beautiful canal-side studios. For example, there’s our Thursday lunch tradition, where we each take it in turn to cook lunch for the whole practice. Our studio at Diespeker Wharf sits on the edge of the Regent’s Canal and is about five minutes’ walk from Angel, Islington. It is a local landmark, it enjoys one of the most tranquil locations on London’s canal network and it provides a great working environment. We acquired and converted the Victorian timber mill in the mid-90s and won a Civic Trust Commendation in 2000 for its restoration. Our garden is very important to us and it also wins prizes every year.

Pollard Thomas Edwards creates beautifully designed and popular buildings, which also have to satisfy tough commercial and technical demands – we expect our work to compete with the very best of UK architecture. This takes a lot of hard work, talent and dedication – and the Partners understand that we all work at our best in a supportive and sociable environment. This brochure aims to give a flavour of what it is like to work at PTE. Andrew Beharrell Senior Partner Working at PTE 2017

PTE at Diespeker Wharf, Islington, London


At Home with Pollard Thomas Edwards PTE’s canal-side studio in Islington embodies the practice’s ethos, combining the historic with the radically new

Pollard Thomas Edward’s canal-side HQ in Islington, London, is buzzing with energy. On the lower ground floor of the studio, final touches are being made to today’s office lunch: Tandoori chicken and kabli channa with home-made biscuits. Every Thursday one of the staff or directors takes it in turn to cook lunch for the whole practice and any guests who happen to be there for meetings that day. It is a tradition that has been in place since PTE was established in 1974, when the team was small enough to fit around a single table. Today, there are 130 people and the designated chef has their work cut out. The effort that has gone into preparing the meal is evident. Employees are encouraged to lavish the same care and attention to detail on office lunch as they do on architectural projects: to observe the project management concept of ‘time-cost-quality’ when cooking and ask themselves ‘Is this the very best I can do?’ before plating up. It is the dedication of a practice that has spent 40 years at the 28

forefront of socially responsible design and property development and has a profound understanding of how to make our towns and cities better places to live. The studio is a visible expression of the practice’s ethos. PTE acquired the Victorian former timber mill from British Waterways in the mid-1990s and converted it into its headquarters. Working environment The practice is spread over three floors with a modern extension for meetings and conferences. The café area downstairs is lined on one side with a magnetic steel sheet, dubbed the ‘Sounding Wall’, where presentations and design reviews take place. Director Carl Vann says: ‘We test every design at the Sounding Wall – sometimes several times before it is ready to be submitted for planning. This is to ensure we have the best solution as well as being a forum for younger staff to learn.’ The building provides a lively and sociable

working environment and is a demonstration of PTE’s strengths. Along with neighbouring developments by PTE along the City Road Basin, it shows how a wellconsidered mix of restored historic buildings and radical new ones can stimulate social, environmental and economic regeneration. As evidenced by many of its projects, PTE aims to treat land and space as precious commodities that should not go to waste. A crucial element of PTE’s approach is imagining what it would be like to occupy the places it designs before embarking on a project and understanding that, where regeneration is concerned, evolution is usually better than revolution. At Diespeker Wharf, many features of the historic mill have been retained, including the courtyard and embedded steel tracks on which goods were transported across the site. But the building has been creatively adapted: mezzanine levels have been inserted to hang between the original trusses, the pyramidal foundations were excavated to double up the




PTE 40th Anniversary monograph with The Architects’ Journal


Woodbridge Estate Islington, 1977

Leybourne Street Camden, 1979


Tower & York Houses Westminster, 1984


Anchor Brewhouse Southwark, 1989


Colebrooke Row Office Islington, 1976

Fitzjohns Avenue Camden, 1980

Old Royal Free Square Islington, 1993

Terracotta Court Southwark, 2000

Norland Road Shepherd’s Bush, 1976

Eldon Grove Camden, 1981

New Concordia Wharf Southwark, 1984

Chillingworth Road Islington, 2001


Pollard Thomas Edwards

History The practice was founded in 1974 by Roger Pollard, Bill Thomas and John Edwards. From its start, PTE combined an unusual set of aims and attributes: a commitment to finding out what end users really want; challenging orthodox postwar modernism; an enthusiasm for complex and messy redundant sites and buildings and a belief that new buildings should be respectful to their surroundings All of these still inform the core values of the practice today, with its belief that good design, coupled with intelligent use of money and a commitment to social and environmental change, makes property development a force for good.

see our website for current schemes

Ellesmere House Kensington & Chelsea, 2007

Connaught Gardens Haringey, 2009


The Avenue Saffron Walden, 2014


City Park West Phase 1 Chelmsford, 2016


Arundel Square Islington, 2010

The Scene Walthamstow, 2015

Ironworks, Fish Island Tower Hamlets, 2005

Tidemill Academy Lewisham, 2011

Thames View East Barking, 2014

Angel Waterside Islington, 2008

Gunpowder Mill Waltham Abbey, 2009

New Ground Cohousing Barnet, 2016

Crystal Wharf Islington, 2003

Lingham Court Lambeth, 2005

Working at PTE 2017


I value my relationship with Pollard Thomas Edwards because I value London, and so do they. Like master tailors cherishing the fabric of the great city we share their work is elegant, elemental, economical, always cut and stitched with an assured Êlan, eschewing the flashy in favour of the fitting, predicated on the idea of getting the right solution to complex urban problems. And what’s more PTE makes homes, not statements or landmarks, but dwellings for Londoners, places for people and hubs for communities. They also make working with them a pleasure. At their light and graceful canal-side home there is joy in the air and pride in the large map which graces the entrance. This shows the numerous schemes and projects PTE has contributed to our patchwork city, an impressive cluster of dots, each of them representing the PTE ethos at work. And they also know how to have fun. PTE parties are every bit as good as their buildings. Robert Elms Writer and broadcaster


Pollard Thomas Edwards

What’s different about PTE What we do PTE specialises in the creation of new neighbourhoods and the revitalisation of old ones. Our projects embrace the whole spectrum of residential development and other essential ingredients which make our cities, towns and villages into thriving and sustainable places: schools and nurseries, health and community centres, shops and workspaces, places to recreate, exercise and enjoy civic life. How we do it PTE offers a unique combination of commercial acumen, design talent and social commitment. Our rigorous, questioning approach produces design solutions that are intelligent, imaginative and which add value and joy. We work closely and collaboratively with our clients, forging long term relationships. We place great importance not only on the way that buildings look, but also on the way that they are made, the way they are used and how they age. Who we are PTE is a practice of about 150 professional and support staff. We are owned and managed by our working partners. Our core services are architecture, masterplanning, urban design, property development and community engagement. Where we work We are based in Islington and are active in nearly all the London boroughs. We carry out architectural projects throughout England.

We have the resources and financial strength of a large practice but we offer the personal service of a small one. We practice what we preach by carrying out our own developments through our related property companies. We bring to our external clients the skills and aptitude learned through over 40 years of profitable and award-winning development experience. Our projects range from five homes to five thousand. We are equally comfortable tackling smaller bespoke building projects as we are masterplanning whole new settlements and urban districts. We never forget that every ‘unit’ will be somebody’s home or workplace and deserves the care that we would give to designing for our own occupation. We aim to build what we design and we retain the full range of skills in-house to take projects from inception to occupation. We believe that an architect cannot create a successful concept without understanding how it will be delivered. Our studios at Diespeker Wharf provide a great working environment, a local landmark and a visible expression of the practice’s ethos. Along with our neighbouring developments on City Road Basin, they show how restored historic buildings and radical new ones can stimulate economic, social and environmental regeneration. PTE has won nearly 200 awards in the history of the practice, including BD Housing Architect of the Year 2017. Please see our website for full award listing.

PTE Partners Roger Holdsworth, Kaye Stout, Carl Vann, Dominique Oliver, Andrew Beharrell, Teresa Borsuk, Patrick Devlin, Tricia Patel

Working at PTE 2017


The design process is inclusive and we are all encouraged to have an input. Everyone’s opinion is valid and listened to, and this applies to all aspects of the practice. Staff are encouraged to think about how we operate as a business and contribute towards PTE’s success on many levels. Rebecca Lee Architect


Pollard Thomas Edwards

How we work With around 150 talented design and technical staff, we are able to handle a wide range of projects and to meet demanding programmes. We have a comprehensive infrastructure of support staff and systems. We value personal relationships with our clients very highly, and this is reflected in the fact that around 80% of our work is repeat business. All our projects receive attention at a senior level, and all of our Partners are actively involved with clients and projects. Our company structure reflects and supports the way we provide our service to clients. As well as maintaining an active role on projects, Senior Partners Andrew Beharrell and Teresa Borsuk take an overview of our creative output and our business strategy, including the way we deliver our service to clients. Our service is provided by three Workshops: two are focused on concept and planning work and one on post-planning design delivery. All three are able to cover the full range of our residential and mixed-use work, and in addition they incorporate teams specialising in education projects and third age housing.

The Planning Workshops are headed by Partners Dominique Oliver, Tricia Patel, Carl Vann and Patrick Devlin, while Partner Kaye Stout oversees the Design Delivery Workshop. Our Knowledge Hub provides up-to-date information and advice to the whole practice on all the technical, planning, compliance and communication challenges and solutions which shape our sectors of work. It is headed by Partner Roger Holdsworth, supported by our Heads of Sustainability and Technical Audit, and by Associates with specific areas of expertise. The practice is supported by our Finance Director, Communications Manager, Practice Manager and HR Manager, whose teams cover all our business functions: information systems, finance, human resources, premises and administration. Our Communications Group includes specialist graphic designers and writers who produce professional reports, submissions and consultation material on behalf of the practice and our clients. Our practice structure is shown below.


Teresa Borsuk

Andrew Beharrell




Concept and Planning including Education specialist team

Design Delivery

Concept and Planning including Third Age Housing specialist team

PARTNERS Dominique Oliver / Tricia Patel

PARTNERS Kaye Stout / Roger Holdsworth

PARTNERS Carl Vann / Patrick Devlin

Associate Partners / Associates / Senior Architects and Senior Technicians / Architects / Assistant Architects and Technicians

KNOWLEDGE HUB TECHNICAL PARTNER: Roger Holdsworth Access BIM Library Information Management Technical Audit

ISO Quality Manager Sustainable Design CDM Manager Specification

Consultation Design Reviews Graphics Planning Standards

Intelligent Replication Urban Design

Working at PTE 2017

SUPPORT TEAM Project Accounting Finance Director Finance Assistant

Systems and IT IT Manager Document Controller Head of BIM

Communications Communications Manager Graphic Designers Bid Manager Communications Coordinator

Operations/HR Practice Manager HR Manager Team Administrators Front of House Manager Operations Assistant


Compared to other places I have worked, PTE gives you the scope to develop professionally and offers a broad range of CPD sessions and regular meetings where the practice genuinely engages with its staff. PTE has a diverse workforce in age, gender and cultural background, which is a real asset and creates a balanced working environment. Yeon Barrow Senior Technician


Pollard Thomas Edwards

What to expect... Personal & Professional Development PTE believes in the importance of training and developing all employees. To ensure staff achieve professional and personal development aims we have a structured Annual Review process. The aim of this is to provide a clear direction towards personal and professional objectives, so that each employee is able to achieve their potential, identify areas of development, gain maximum job satisfaction and contribute towards PTE’s success. Many of PTE’s senior staff have benefitted from internal promotion. In terms of reviews: —— All new starters have a formal probation review after 3 months —— After one year of service, all staff have an Annual Review, where they meet with at least one Partner or an Associate Partner.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) We acknowledge the RIBA and other professional requirements for CPD – and help our staff to achieve their targets by arranging in-house CPD events. We arrange both internal events and external speakers, covering a wide range of topics. Happy Hours We hold regular late afternoon ‘Happy Hours’ with wide ranging topics, for example: —— business planning reviews by the Partners —— seminars on topical issues relating to our work —— celebrations of individual and collective achievements —— discussion of collective themes from our annual staff reviews.

Mentoring PTE offers Architectural Assistants a mentor to assist them with achieving their professional qualifications. PTE also encourages staff to seek support and guidance from practice members who are experienced and can share their knowledge and skills in a particular topic area.

Working at PTE 2017


I joined PTE in 1998, and in that time I have had two periods of maternity leave and agreed various part time and different working hours arrangements. PTE has been supportive, adaptable and accommodating, and I am now back working full time. I enjoy the fact that the projects in the office continue to be interesting and varied from regeneration to all sorts of housing projects and schools. Regardless of size, our projects always involve good communication and engagement, and PTE has always practised meaningful consultation with residents and stakeholders, always remembering that a ‘unit’ is someone’s home. Sarah Eastham Associate


Pollard Thomas Edwards

Employment benefits Holiday Entitlement Employees are entitled to between 23 and 28 days’ holiday per year plus 8 bank holidays (The increase in number of days reflects length of service). Holiday allowance includes three days between Christmas and New Year, when the office is closed. The holiday year runs from 1 January – 31 December. Your first year’s holiday allowance will be pro-rata depending on your start date. You will be advised of your entitlement shortly after you start. Whilst we make every effort to accommodate holiday requests, approval will depend on workload and project needs. Please give as much notice as possible of holiday requests to allow planning of rotas or work schedules. PTE Pension Contributions All PTE staff are automatically enrolled in the PTE workplace pension scheme after 3 months of joining the practice. Currently this is 1% of basic salary. PTE offers an enhanced contributory scheme as follows: Associates Senior Architects Senior Technicians Senior Managers

6% of basic salary 4% of basic salary 4% of basic salary 4% of basic salary

Enhanced Maternity & Shared Parental Pay Policy At PTE we try to make important life choices easier for our people.

Discretionary Annual Bonus We believe in sharing PTE’s successes with everyone who contributes to our performance. We have a discretionary annual bonus. This is dependant on PTE’s overall annual performance and each individual’s performance. Professional Membership PTE will cover the cost of annual subscriptions to professional memberships, including RIBA and ARB. Help Towards Professional Qualification At the discretion of the Partners, the practice will provide financial support of up to £2,000 and a number of study leave days. Workplace Childcare Salary Sacrifice Scheme PTE staff can join the Childcare Voucher Scheme, which is a salary sacrifice scheme allowing parents to make substantial savings on the cost of childcare. PTE Office Trip Since its inception, PTE has taken the whole office away for a long weekend every two to three years. We have visited Stuttgart, Vienna, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Helsinki and Warsaw. Generally, flights, accommodation and a celebratory meal are paid for. Interest Free Season Ticket Loan PTE offers interest free loans to employees who wish to purchase season tickets for travel to work. The benefit is available to those who have successfully passed their probation period.

PTE offers enhanced maternity pay and shared parental pay policy for employees with over two years’ continuous service (as at the end of the maternity qualifying week) whereby we will pay: —— Enhanced maternity pay of 3 months’ full salary —— You may be entitled to take up to 50 weeks Shared Parental Leave during the child’s first year, of which the first 3 months from the birth of the child, PTE will pay 3 months’ full salary.

Working at PTE 2017


I enjoy the working environment at PTE. Despite being a busy practice, it is not a stressful place nor do I feel the pressure of having to take work home at the end of the day. I enjoy coming into work because there is a healthy work life balance here. The office is in a fantastic location, right by the canal, with plenty of places to enjoy a good lunch. Danny Ceurvels Architect


Pollard Thomas Edwards

Health and wellbeing benefits Your wellbeing is very important to us and we have a range of options available to help with all matters relating-from health care to confidential and free personal advice. Yoga We offer a weekly yoga class. The class has proved a popular way for our people to keep healthy and relax. Cycle to Work Scheme PTE’s cycle to work scheme helps to promote healthier lifestyles and reduce environmental pollution. The scheme allows you to save up to 40% on the cost of a bicycle and accessories. You can choose to spend from £100 to £1,000 on any adult bike or range of cycling accessories. A new bike could cost you as little as £12 per month spreading the cost over a 12 month period. Wellbeing hub PTE provides a 24/7 confidential support service offering advice on both life and legal matters. Here are some of the ways in which our advisors can help:

Permanent Health Insurance & Life Assurance PTE employees are automatically insured. Group Income Protection allows PTE and you to manage long term sickness or absence effectively. It provides a guaranteed income for employees who are unable to work as a result of illness. Group Income Protection can take a number of different forms but generally it provides at least 50% of the employee’s gross pay and this is paid by PTE to you less tax and National Insurance. Death in Service Benefit PTE’s death in service benefit will pay a lump sum payment equal to your base salary to your nominated beneficiary. Private Medical Health Insurance PTE has a private medical health scheme with BUPA. Senior Architects, Senior Technicians, Associates and Senior Managers are eligible to join.

—— Confidential 24/7 telephone support with qualified counsellors —— Up to 6 face-to-face counselling sessions —— Access to financial, legal and health support —— Nurse call back and medical information. In addition, the online portal gives you access to: —— Health Risk Assessments —— Cognitive Behavioural Therapy —— Mini health checks —— Webinars and additional health and wellbeing support.

Working at PTE 2017


Very sociable atmosphere in a fun environment. We have ‘Happy Hour’ talks which are a fantastic opportunity to learn about what other staff members are doing - it’s great for personal development, and you learn about other projects within PTE. The Thursday lunches give everyone an opportunity to sit and chat to different people each week. I made 240 enchiladas for 150 people. Anirudh Sood Architectural Assistant


Pollard Thomas Edwards

Thursday Lunch Every Thursday, one of us cooks lunch for the whole practice and any guests who happen to be in the office that day. Everyone takes their turn. It is a tradition that has been in place since PTE was established in 1974 – and has helped establish the legendary family atmosphere and collaborative environment.

Working at PTE 2017


I like that PTE has a vibrant atmosphere, which encourages people from different workshops the opportunity to mix. There are various social activities to choose from which cater to a wide range of interests; whether it’s a traditional PTE event such as softball and the Annual Chicken Run or something completely new like the PTE choir! It’s a great place to learn with no pressure, but a lot of fun! Aiste Valeviciute Architectural Technologist


Pollard Thomas Edwards

Social activities PTE believes in working hard and playing hard! We encourage many social activities, eg: —— Football —— Softball —— Yoga —— F un runs —— Regular office drinks —— Christmas party —— Employee gallery space for exhibitions —— Photography club —— Summer BBQ party —— Open City mentoring opportunities —— London Festival of Architecture —— London Open House —— Office trip

Saturday 25 June 2016 London Festival of Architecture Pollard Thomas Edwards RIBA Open Studios & Floating Cinema Boat Trips


During the RIBA Open Studios Pollard Thomas Edwards is collaborating with The Floating Cinema; a unique purpose built 60ft widebeam canal boat that operates as a mobile arts venue and floating projection house; commissioned by UP Projects and designed by Duggan Morris. Embark at PTE, Diespeker wharf or Granary Square, Kings X N1C and enjoy a unique floating tour through the changing local canalscape. Trip includes travelling through the historic Islington tunnel; built in 1820 and the longest navigable canal tunnel in the south east.

@LFArchitecture #LFA2016 @RIBA_London #OpenStudios @upprojects #floatingcinema

Working at PTE 2017

Diespeker Wharf 38 Graham Street London N1 8JX @PTEarchitects


I joined PTE in 2006 as a Team Administrator, worked my way through the ranks and am now an Associate Partner. I love working at PTE. PTE’s flexibility has enabled me to get involved with a number of charities and organisations. I volunteer each year for London Open House and the London Festival of Architecture. I work closely with Water Aid, ran the London Marathon for Notting Hill Housing, organised the Architects Benevolent Society Charity 5km Run and walked the Maggies Night Hike on several occasions. My latest commitment is being on the Angel Canal Festival management committee, helping to promote and secure funding for the festival. Tim Metcalfe Communications Manager and Associate Partner


Pollard Thomas Edwards

Corporate Social Responsibility PTE has an annual programme and budget for charitable works, ranging from local community schemes to international aid appeals. We are currently working with Water Aid and have designed a game that is a fundraising and education tool. We have a commitment to youth projects, particularly in our own neighbourhood. We sponsor the London Lions Sports Foundation which offers a range of basketball clubs and competitions to benefit young people across London’s disadvantaged communities. Our staff are mentors for Accelerate!, a scheme to support young people from hard-to-reach backgrounds into training and careers in architecture and the built environment. Several of these students come to our office for work experience over their school holidays. We also run Junior Open House workshops for children and teachers.

Working at PTE 2017

Other sponsorship includes: —— Architect’s Benevolent Society —— Maggie’s Culture Crawl —— Angel Canal Festival —— Thames Memorial Sculpture project —— Article 25 We sometimes invest directly in the communities that we are working with. Following a commission to deliver 1,500 homes in Woolwich, Greenwich, PTE undertook extensive resident consultation in the locality and made a number of connections with local charities and enterprises. PTE recognised the wider community benefits of a recently formed local choir on a disadvantaged former failed estate. PTE has remained sponsors and supporters of the Woolwich Singers and recently hosted a performance at our own offices. Affiliations such as this provide an important bond to the areas in which we are working and the people who live there.


The gender balance determines the working culture and has a positive effect on employees. Women should not have to be put on a podium to influence colleagues and clients – at PTE they are valued without it being a big deal. Further, the more women you have in your practice, the more women you will attract: balance begets balance. Teresa Borsuk Senior Partner


Pollard Thomas Edwards

Affiliations PTE is affiliated with a number of organisations and campaigns that regularly enable our people to participate and attend networking opportunities throughout the year.

Women in Architecture - Speed Mentoring event

40th Anniversary exhibition at the NLA

YEP Summer Party at Diespeker Wharf

Member of the


The ARCO Affiliate Network For sector partners and stakeholders

Networking Sector insight Brand exposure Thought leadership Policy development

Working at PTE 2017


Copyright in this document and all contents belongs to Pollard Thomas Edwards LLP. PTE reserves the right to change, amend, modify, suspend, continue or terminate all or any part of this document either in an individual case or in general, at any time without notice.

Architect of the Year Awards 2017

Cover photo: Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres Portrait photos: Morley von Sternberg

Winner of the Housing Architect of the Year

Diespeker Wharf 38 Graham Street London N1 8JX T 020 7336 7777 @ptearchitects

Working at Pollard Thomas Edwards  

Pollard Thomas Edwards combines design talent, commercial acumen and social commitment to lift every day places out of the ordinary