GMW Architects


GMW Architects was an architectural practice based in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom
. In August 2015, the firm was taken over by another business,
Scott Brownrigg Scott Brownrigg (originally Scott Brownrigg & Turner) is a British architecture practice with nine offices in the UK and abroad, with staff of 280. It was founded in 1910 and is headquartered in London. Company The company was originally establish ...
, "as part of plans to move into the airport sector."


The practice was established in 1947 by Frank Gollins (1910–1999), James Melvin (1912–2012) and Edmund Ward (architect), Edmund Ward (1912–1998), and operated as Gollins Melvin Ward. In the 1950s it designed Castrol House, a tower on Marylebone Road in London, notable as one of the first uses of Curtain wall (architecture), curtain walling on a building in the United Kingdom, and the central campus for the University of Sheffield.GMW Partnership website
/ref> In the 1960s it went on to design two buildings at Undershaft in the City of London: the 28-storey St Helen's (Building), Commercial Union Tower, the first building in the city to exceed the height of St Paul's Cathedral, and the now demolished headquarters of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, P&O. These buildings both featured an innovative structure by which the office floors are hung by steel rods from cantilevers extending out from the concrete core, rather than being supported from ground level. The three founders retired in 1974, leaving a well-established practice. Soon afterward, GMW was awarded a commission to design the King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. In 1983, the firm was appointed to design the new Barclays Bank headquarters building at 54 Lombard Street; eleven years later, the practice was appointed to handle the refurbishment of Tower 42 in London.


The company played a role in the early development of building information modeling, building information modelling, employing the developers of RUCAPS, the first 'building modelling' application (used for the King Saud University project), and from 1977 sold through GMW Computers Ltd in several countries worldwide. It was amongst the leading systems of its time, selling many hundreds of copies at a time when computer-aided design was rare and expensive. The term 'building model' (in the sense of BIM as used today) was first used in a 1986 paper by Robert Aish – then at GMW Computers – referring to the software's use at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 3,cited by Laiserin, Jerry (2008), Foreword to Eastman, C., ''et al'' (2008), ''op cit'', p.xii and it is regarded as a forerunner to today's Building information modeling, BIM software.

Current activities

By the time of its 2015 acquisition by Scott Brownrigg, GMW had become a transport specialist. It undertook work for Network Rail, had recently completed the passenger terminal at the Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport in Medina, and continued to work on the completion of the Istanbul New Airport (designed by Grimshaw Architects, Nordic — Office of Architecture, Nordic Office of Architecture and Haptic). Following the acquisition, the practice ceased working under its own name.


External links

GMW website
{{DEFAULTSORT:Gmw Architects Architecture firms based in London Design companies established in 1948 1948 establishments in England