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10 years, what’s next?

Our Practice Founder, Paul Testa, reflects on the last 10 years and shares some future plans.

I founded this practice in 2010

In those very first weeks, I worked with Andrea Burns (now of Nice Neighbourhood fame) to establish what Paul Testa Architecture was. I was really clear at that moment in time that the brand was me and I didn’t really see a future where that wouldn’t be the case. Everything I did back then to establish the practice in Sheffield and in the world of Architecture was about me/I.

Was that naive?

Probably. To realistically do the work I aspired to, I was always going to need a team around me. In the early days, this was a very ad-hoc process of bringing in support from available folk, as and when I required it. This is what brought Alan MacDonald to work for me briefly in 2012-13. It was also this that led to the creation of the S1 Design Collective in Sheffield. Whilst no longer active, this collection of design practices in Sheffield led to collaborations and individual project support that was invaluable in the early years of this and other small practices.

This flexible and, immediate needs, based approach could only work for so long, especially as the scale and number of projects began to grow. I felt the increasing desire to share my business with someone so that I wasn’t spread so thinly and so that the practice could offer the very best possible service.

In 2017 I invited Alan to return to the practice as my business partner

I was delighted when he accepted. It’s now 2020 and our 10 year birthday has been a great time to reflect on where we’ve come from, what we’re doing and where we’re heading. The practice is now 9 strong; we’ve just moved to new offices in the city centre and we’re enjoying working with some wonderful clients to deliver projects that we can be really proud of. We’re busier than ever despite facing a global pandemic.

We now have a team of amazingly talented, capable and committed people. Yet the practice still appears to the outside world as one of the individuals. When in reality, this isn’t how we work at all. Our design process is very much a team effort – within the practice and also in collaboration with our clients and other consultants. The ‘face’ of PTA needs to embrace that, to value what the whole team does, and to shift the outdated perception that Architecture is a master and followers profession.

With this in mind, we’ve been making some changes to the PTA name and brand behind the scenes. I won’t lie, it’s been hard for me to think about losing the name, but PTA isn’t just me anymore. It’s far more than I ever thought it could be and I’m proud that that’s the case.

So, I’m excited to share that we’ll be able to introduce our new identity and brand soon

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Thank you to everyone that’s worked with us over the last 10 years, Paul Testa.