Industry Architecture and planning
Founded 1965 (1965)
Founder Terry Farrell
Headquarters London and Hong Kong
Area served
Services Architectural design, urban design, master planning, interior design, sustainable design, transportation planning
Website farrells.com

Farrells is an architecture and urban design firm founded by British architect-planner Terry Farrell with offices in London, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. The firm has won numerous awards for their characteristic mixed-use schemes, transit-oriented development, contextual urban placemaking, and cultural buildings.[1]


Terry Farrell began his professional career in 1961 at the architecture department of the London County Council, where he met fellow staff architect Nicholas Grimshaw.[2] The two became close friends, and in 1965 they founded the Farrell/Grimshaw Partnership, sharing their office for some time with Archigram.[3] The firm built a reputation in private sector urban regeneration, renovating old houses and factories to accommodate modern uses. They were also part of a "new wave" of British firms experimenting with high-tech architecture.[4] During this period Farrell/Grimshaw produced several pioneering works of high-tech, flexible buildings such as the 125 Park Road housing cooperative (1970) and the Herman Miller factory in Bath (1976), both of which have since been awarded Grade II listing by English Heritage.[5][6] Grimshaw left the firm in 1980 to found Grimshaw Architects, while Farrell continued to work from their Paddington Street office.


Growth in Britain

Embankment Place, the air-rights development over Charing Cross railway station (1990)

The newly-christened Terry Farrell and Partners married high-tech architecture to Farrell's growing interest in postmodernism, building conversion, and sensitive urban design. London was brimming with outmoded industrial buildings, which Farrell preferred to retain and repurpose rather than demolish. The firm completed numerous renovations characterised as "friendly adaptation of existing buildings".[7] Both the TV-am and Limehouse Studios schemes transformed derelict industrial sheds into iconic broadcasting studios. In 1987 the firm moved from the ex-Farrell/Grimshaw office into a Marylebone building formerly home to an aero-tyre factory, which they renovated to become the Hatton Street Studios.

Large-scale new build commissions in London such as Embankment Place (1990), Alban Gate (1992), and Vauxhall Cross (1994) cemented Farrell's status as Britain's "premier postmodernist".[8] Farrell dismissed the term, insisting that his primary concerns are not about style, but rather urban space and a rejection of the "clean sweep" approach of traditional modernism.[9]

Home Office building, London (2005)

Small-scale urban regeneration and conservation work, such as the Comyn Ching Triangle scheme (1982–1990), bolstered the firm's reputation for contextual urban design.[10] The company conducted numerous master plans over the subsequent decades, including many in the London area. In East London, the firm was appointed to plan various projects in the Docklands and Thames Gateway regions. They have also developed revitalisation schemes for urban quarters including Regent's Place, Greenwich Peninsula, the Chelsea Waterfront, and Convoys Wharf. In 2010, the firm was appointed master planner for the long-term redevelopment of an area of Earls Court surrounding the now-closed Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Terry Farrell rejected the lure of "big architecture" for the site, stating: "I don’t think this masterplan is about the buildings. That’s starting at the wrong end of the process. Issues of height and density aren’t starting points. You have instead to talk about things like the street and its width and what makes a good city."[11]

At the 2013 invitation of Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Farrells commenced the Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment meant to offer expert guidance on the direction of British architecture.[12] The firm assembled a team of leading experts in architecture and urban design and conducted an extensive consultation process. In 2014 the Farrell Review report was published, providing 60 recommendations to government.[13] The report was well-received and government moved to place design higher on the agenda, starting by shifting the ministerial oversight of architecture from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to the Department for Communities and Local Government, and by forming a new parliamentary select committee on the built environment.[14]

Hong Kong expansion

Kowloon Station and the Union Square development (1998–2010)

The Hong Kong office, incorporated as TFP Farrells, was founded in 1991. It was set up when the firm won an international competition to design the new Peak Tower, which opened in 1997 and was later featured on Hong Kong's $20 banknotes.[15] The firm then won a competition to design the British Council/Consulate-General complex in Admiralty. This commission, announced by Margaret Thatcher in 1988, held significance as Britain's lasting presence in Hong Kong following the 1997 transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong.[16]

TFP Farrells developed a strong reputation in urban transportation infrastructure beginning with the design for Kowloon Station (opened 1998) and the associated Union Square master plan, one of the largest air-rights developments on earth which includes the tallest tower in Hong Kong, the International Commerce Centre. The Ground Transportation Centre at Incheon International Airport, Seoul (2001) serves five different rail systems and won several awards. The firm subsequently won commissions to design additional MTR stations in Hong Kong (namely Tsuen Wan West, Kennedy Town, Ma Tau Wai, To Kwa Wan) in addition to railway stations in Johannesburg (three Gautrain stations) and Singapore (Punggol Station). In recent years the firm has expanded into Mainland China, opening a Shanghai branch office and completing two of Asia's largest railway stations: Beijing South (2008) and Guangzhou South (2010).

Beijing South Railway Station (2008)

In addition, the firm has designed numerous landmark skyscrapers in Asia. The KK100 tower in Shenzhen, completed 2011, is the tallest building ever realised by a British architect.[17] The Vattanac Capital Tower (2014) is the tallest building in Cambodia. The 528-metre China Zun in the Beijing central business district will be the tallest building in the Chinese capital upon completion in 2018.[18] In 2014, the firm won a competition to design the first six skyscrapers to be built in the Qianhai special economic zone, two of which topped out in 2015.[19][20] In Jinan, Shandong province, TFP Farrells is designing a 518-metre tall tower for Evergrande Group which will become one of China's tallest buildings upon completion.[21] Though these Chinese skyscraper commissions represent a major shift in tempo from the firm's earlier work in the United Kingdom, the projects attempt to retain human-scale and pedestrian-oriented characteristics with an aim to achieving urban vibrancy.[22]

The Hong Kong office has grown steadily over the past years and, despite handling all the firm's growth in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, maintains a significant presence in local Hong Kong architecture. Working in partnership with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, the firm was among six teams shortlisted for the competition to design the prominent M+ museum at the West Kowloon Cultural District. Their design won in 2013 and construction of the museum recently commenced.[23] TFP Farrells has been retained by the MTR Corporation for numerous ongoing projects including station upgrades, the Sha Tin to Central Link, the Express Rail Link, and the West Island Line. The Kennedy Town Swimming Pool, opening in stages between 2011 and 2016, is one of Hong Kong's most recognisable new public buildings, bearing a triangular form that has been likened to a futuristic spaceship.[24][25]

Notable projects

Vauxhall Cross, London (1994)
The Deep aquarium, Hull (2002)
Guangzhou South Railway Station (2010)
Kennedy Town Station, Hong Kong (2014)


  1. "Awards". Farrells. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  2. Farrell 2004, p. 64.
  3. Farrell 2004, p. 112.
  4. Stevens, Ted (11 December 1980). "Putting the tech into architecture". New Scientist.
  5. Waite, Richard (2 September 2013). "Farrell and Grimshaw's Bath factory listed". Architects Journal. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  6. "Farrell Grimshaw first". Architects Journal. 10 January 2002. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  7. Davies 2013, p. 75.
  8. Allinson, Ken; Thornton, Victoria (2014). London's Contemporary Architecture: An Explorer's Guide. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  9. Davies 2013, p. 81.
  10. "1982-90 Comyn Ching, Seven Dials, Covent Garden UK". Higgs Young Architects. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  11. Lyall, Sutherland (July 2010). "Grand plans are afoot in Earls Court as Terry Farrell reveals his masterplan". The Architectural Review.
  12. "The Farrell Review". Farrells. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  13. Mark, Laura (1 April 2014). "Farrell Review: the 60 recommendations". Architects Journal. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  14. Hopkirk, Elizabeth (10 March 2015). "Parliament to create built environment select committee". Building. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  15. Rosi 2008, p. 11.
  16. "'Street level style' for consulate". South China Morning Post. 11 August 1992. p. 3.
  17. Glancey, Jonathan (31 January 2012). "The tower and the glory: Terry Farrell's KK100". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  18. "China Zun (Z15)". Arup. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  19. "Farrells to masterplan two sites in Shenzhen's Qianhai financial district". Dezeen. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  20. Zhang, Xiaoyu (5 February 2015). "First buildings in Qianhai". Shenzhen Daily.
  21. "Terry Farrell sets sights over 500 metres with new Chinese skyscraper". Dezeen. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  22. "The One Excellence Master Plan". Indesign Live. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  23. "Construction Updates". West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. November 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2015. Following the award of foundation work contract, the M+ building has moved from detailed design to construction.
  24. "Structural Excellence of Re-provisioning of Kennedy Town Swimming Pool (West Island Line)". Hong Kong Institute of Engineers. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  25. Lam, Anita (20 May 2009). "Swimmers will be charged just HK$19 when luxury pool opens in Kennedy Town". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  26. "Qianhai and Hong Kong Are Complements to Collective Growth". Colliers International. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 5/11/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.