Peter Morrison Plans How to Steer RMJM Safely Through Economic Peril

We’ve told you before that perhaps the architecture industry most hardest hit in this current recession/depression is that of Scotland’s. From very scary numbers chronicling the layoffs throughout the country to even universities telling their architecture students not to come back after their next break, Scotland has seemingly been slapped, punched, and kicked repeatedly, even when they were already down. So Stephen McGinty‘s interview with Peter Morrison, the young head of the very large, very international firm of RMJM, based in Edinburgh, is an interesting peek inside the belly of the beast. It begins with the sudden cancellations of jobs, the lost revenue, the layoffs, and everything going from bad to worse, then picks up talking to Morrison about what comes next, now that’s he and his company are staring down the barrel. Of particular interest is their plans to hit more of the Middle East, outside of the now-suffering Dubai where everyone seemed to be receiving checks from over the past couple of years. Here’s a bit of that:

On a white magic board in the glass-walled conference room is a map of the Middle East and, while other firms concentrate on the convenience of Dubai, RMJM is exploring emerging markets such as Libya and Turkmenistan. Tapping the nation with his finger, Morrison explains: “It’s one of the richest nations on earth.”

Iraq and Afghanistan is also in RMJM’s sights. In January the company hired Nick Haston — a former British Army officer who was deputy director of operations for Operational Brigade Headquarters in Afghanistan and was involved in recapturing Musa Qaleh — as its new Director of Global Emerging Markets. “He will be our point man and so will be able to visit their countries, develop contacts and negotiate contracts. We also plan to work with local architects and firms which will allow a lot of work to be done remotely.”