• Nicholson Nairn Architects

NNA CELEBRATE THEIR 30th BIRTHDAY


Celebrating 30 Years in Business

The team at Nicholson Nairn Architects are thrilled to be celebrating their 30 year anniversary, and have taken the opportunity to look back on how it all started and how far they’ve come…


The beginning


The original directors of NNA, Tony Nicholson and Garfield Nairn set up the practice in 1991 in Whickham. The practice was formed to provide design, architecture, planning and building services throughout the North-East of England.


The practice


Tony and Garfield set up a practice to deliver an outstanding client service; architecturally strong, without being precious. They were versatile in their approach, understand that the client comes first and that the project is theirs – this is something we still believe in and practice today!


Tony and Garfield set up a holistic approach which has served us well historically, even in times when the construction industry has suffered economically. Unlike the majority of architectural practices - both locally and nationally - NNA have bucked the trend during the difficult periods, benefiting from a workload that has allowed them to maintain consistent staffing levels - thus ensuring the quality of our service. NNA take great pride in the knowledge our lasting client relationships, alongside our ability to continually attract new clientele, contribute to a platform of longevity many of our competitors struggle to offer.


Present day


After a nostalgic look back on NNA’s early days and how it came to be the reputable and successful company we know, it seems only fitting that we take a look at their achievement and milestones today, in 2021, to put into context just how far they have come!


In June 2017, architect and former employee Chris Barr concluded a Management Buy-In of the practice. Chris continued to drive the practice forward with exciting new projects, engaging with new and existing clients and appointing new team members. In July 2019, NNA expanded and set up a studio in Otley targeting further geographical growth through a new Yorkshire base. This coincided with the appointment of a new Associate, Gary Wilson, who was appointed to lead and develop a new team in Yorkshire.


In 2020, three years on from the sale of the business, founding partners of Nicholson Nairn Architects – Tony Nicholson & Garfield Nairn – stepped down from day to day duties as the initial transition phase concluded. The end of the transition period marked the formal implementation of a new management team and with it, a series of promotions. With Chris Barr as Managing Director, supported by Gary Wilson, Philippa Ramsay, Chris Heal and recently appointed Ian Marriott.


The last 4+ years has brought significant change and growth with all 2017 targets surpassed. Despite current global challenges, NNA’s strategic direction remains firmly on course. The cross sector and scale diverse approach is a business model specifically designed for robustness during uncertain times. NNA boast a talented team and the whole NNA family are committed to the continued success and growth of the practice.



Today’s Vision


With offices in the North East and Yorkshire, NNA undertake projects throughout the UK and beyond. Whilst expanding our geographical project undertakings, we maintain a strong northern presence – the bedrock to NNA’s growing business.

We provide client specific solutions from modest home extensions to multi-million pound commercial projects. We are diverse in the projects we embrace and in the range of services we offer.


We take great pride in the knowledge our lasting client relationships, alongside our ability to continually attract new clientele, contribute to a platform of longevity many of our competitors struggle to offer. We balance this longevity with a fresh outlook, developing the practice to suit an ever changing social, cultural, commercial and economic landscape.


Happy 30th anniversary NNA!



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