BDN's Gilesgate won David Hunt project architect of the year at the RIBA regional awards. Credit: Jill Tate

Sunderland studios team up

Building Design Northern has completed the acquisition of Fitz Architects, creating a practice that will have commercial and residential arms.

BDN is a 40-year old firm that relocated to Sunderland in 2020 and provides architectural, civil engineering and structural engineering services. Fitz is a younger firm, in operation in Sunderland since 2007.

The two firms will now operate as sister companies, working on commercial and residential projects respectively, with each retaining distinct branding.

Fitz founder Craig Fitzakerly, business partner Clinton Mysleyko, and Fitz’s employees will work alongside BDN colleagues to ensure the two business units complement and support each other and share best practice, the firms said.

Fitz specialises in bespoke residential design and extensions, while BDN has carved out a national reputation for commercial architecture and engineering.

Rick Marsden, who became managing director of BDN in 2019 following a management buy-out of the 40-year old firm, will lead the development of both businesses, and said he is proud to have acquired Fitz, a company that has long been a source of inspiration for him.

He said: “I have always had the greatest respect and admiration for Craig and Clinton’s professionalism and practice, and the business they have built in my home city.

“To be able to acquire a brand that is so well established and bring it together with BDN is truly humbling and I am excited to be able to guide both businesses, which can work side by side, complementing one another perfectly.

“Craig, Clinton and the team bring a wealth of expertise, and will continue to nurture the excellent relationships they have with clients across the North East and beyond.”

Fitzakerly said: “For 16 years, Fitz Architects has built a reputation for outstanding one-off homes and extensions in the North East of England and it’s a great honour for us to come together with BDN, a business we hold in the highest regard.

“Rick has ambitious plans that will build on the Fitz brand and we’re relishing the opportunity that presents, as part of a multidisciplinary team of experienced, dynamic professionals with a unique offer to residential and commercial clients across the region and beyond.”

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