A Belfast-based architectural practice has invested in new staff and a new city centre design studio, as it gears up for growth.

Collins Rolston – formerly located in the Castlereagh Hills – has relocated to a new purpose-designed studio in James Street South, Belfast, with plans afoot to open new presences in Dublin and London.

As Collins Rolston Managing Director, Mark Collins reveals, the firm has invested a six-figure sum to purchase its offices and undertaken an extensive fit-out to bring the new studio up to the standard expected from a tier one architectural practice.

“We are undergoing significant growth with a range of assignments throughout Northern Ireland, The Republic and Britain and that has driven the need for new staff, including a Sustainability Champion with significant international experience.”

Mark Collins said the firm had also launched its own Training Academy, with three full time architectural students and two work experience students benefiting from hands-on mentoring from the firm’s senior professionals.

The firm’s new offices were designed to create a showpiece environment – for clients and staff alike. Inspired by a 60s retro theme, the bold concept was given a contemporary twist to create a space that reflected the team’s creative vision and make a lasting impression on visitors.

The centrepiece of the design is the executive office, designed to convey an aura of luxury and refinement with a concealed drinks’ cabinet providing a great talking point for visitors.

“The crowning jewel for me is our branded sign, ingeniously inset within laminate slats, that injects a powerful visual element consistent with the client’s premium brand identity.”

Amongst the other notable design talking points are a Feature Persian rug which is more than 60 years old and was sourced from Iraq. This has been used to juxtapose old vs new and inject a sense of personality to the internal environment. In addition, a feature Bungee cord wall creates physical separation between reception and the open plan office yet allows a visual connection between the two.

The practice has consciously diversified its commercial project portfolio to now incorporate health, education, retail, office, heritage, and social regeneration schemes, with a strong focus on sustainability. In healthcare alone the firm currently has 44 live projects ranging from refurbs to hospital wards, MRI units, X Ray facilities and a host of other schemes including extensions at Bessbrook Surgery, Warrenpoint Health Centre, Shantallow Health Centre, Belfast City Hospital’s imaging department, and the Daisy Hill Hospital’s Doctors’ Hostel.