Architect forms his own venture

A former architectural director who helped to create one of the North of England’s best known colleges of music has set up his own practice.

Ian Palmer has set up Ian Palmer Architects on both sides of the Pennines – with studios in Ilkley, West Yorkshire and Silverdale, Lancashire – after completing a major project with his former employers, BDP.

The 40-year-old was the lead architect behind the £7m refurbishment and adaptation of Manchester’s conservatoire – the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM).

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

The concert hall opened in early November, after being transformed from a 1970s hall into a modern performance space.

Mr Palmer, who worked with BDP for 17 years, said: “Working at BDP was a thrill.

“I met some talented people and was involved in a catalogue of remarkable projects.

“But having lived and worked in Manchester for most of my life, I am now following my dreams to work in my own architecture studio.

“Steve Jobs once spoke about needing to connect the dots of your past experiences in order to move forward and this was never truer, especially for me. I had never felt the need to start my own studio until I reached 40, when the dots became clearer, and with it, my confidence to act.

“I’m now able to do what I love most – offering big practice expertise out of a small studio.”

In his new venture, Mr Palmer has joined forces with his friend Elizabeth Bourgeois, who is from Ilkley and has a background in town and country planning.

She said the spa town provided an ideal setting for a new architecture business, because it is a great place to show off designs and meet clients.