Architecture firm HDR drops 'Rice Daubney' from Australian arm's name

Architecture firm HDR drops 'Rice Daubney' from Australian arm's name
Architecture firm HDR drops 'Rice Daubney' from Australian arm's name

Architecture firm HDR Rice Daubney has dropped "Rice Daubney'' from its name, a plan in the works since co-founder John Daubney’s retirement last year.

The firm, which Sunshine Coast hospital, was acquired by US giant HDR in 2013 in a deal that was expected to give healthcare and defence-facility specialist HDR a toehold into the Australian market.

Stephen Auld was announced as the new managing director earlier this year, as part of the leadership transition, after John Daubney stepped down.  

Auld said the name change took the geography out of the equation, reported The Australian Financial Review.

"We're part of a global business. It allows our team to work internationally with a lot more ease. It's a very well-known brand,” he said.

The increasing use of technology has impressed upon the need for firms to have links with larger practices to spread the cost of research and development, Auld was cited as saying by the AFR.

"The access we have now within HDR to things like computational design, data analytics and data-driven design is just unbelievable," he said. "That gives us a competitive advantage and enables us to bring to our clients huge opportunities that we wouldn't have been able to before."

Omaha, Nebraska-based HDR, which also offers engineering services, ranked fifth in the latest WA100 global ranking of architecture firms, with 1072 architect employees, the AFR said. 

It was founded by H.H. Henningson as Henningson Engineering Company in Nebraska in 1917.

The architecture and design world has seen a wave of consolidation, with firms such as PTW and Rice Daubney being bought by larger foreign players. 

In April, design firm Suters was acquired by Bangkok-based DWP and took on the branding and identity of its new south-east Asian parent. 

In February, Sydney and Melbourne-based architecture firm Billard Leece Partnership acquired interior design firm THID. 

Omaha, Nebraska-based HDR, which also offers engineering services, ranked fifth in the latest WA100 global ranking of architecture firms, with 1072 architect employees.  

The local arm of the business that turned 40 last year specialises in health, which last year accounted for about 40 per cent of revenue – which Auld declined to disclose – retail (30 per cent) and defence and education, science and technology design (about 15 per cent each). 

HDR Rice Daubney is currently project architect for the NSW government on the $900 million Westmead Hospital redevelopment project.

Property Observer reported sometime back that HDR Rice Daubney designed the buildings at Royal Shores, a $450 million estate being developed by PAYCE and Sekisui House on a portion of the former Defence Housing Australia (DHA) site at Ermington.

It designed the buildings with pitched sawtooth roofs and white-painted brick facades, drawing on the site’s rich maritime history.  

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