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Architect shuts one UK office and opens new one in China in bid to beat economic downturn

Make Architects announced it was closing its office in Edinburgh earlier this week with the loss of around 30 staff. It still has offices in Birmingham and London.

Now it has announced it is expanding overseas and is to open an office in Beijing on the back of masterplanning work it has won in the Chinese Capital.

To begin with four staff members will be based there, with the opportunity to expand depending on the amount of work the office attracts. It will be looking to projects in Asia and the Middle East.

'You've got to be looking globally at the moment. There are opportunities out there, and we thought we should give it a go,' said founding director Ken Shuttleworth.

The firm admitted it has been a trying time recently as much of its work is in the commercial sector and it has had some high profile schemes, such as Nobo Square in London, put on hold.

'We have been forced to scale back. If there was more work, I would have kept the Edinburgh office open. Anyone who's not looking at their staff numbers at the moment isn't being sensible. This is the biggest downturn in living memory, and you can't predict what's around the corner,' he added.

Architects around the globe are cutting back as the recession begins to bite and private sector development dries up. Among the firms known to have made headcount reductions since the summer are 3D Reid, Assael, BDP, Chapman Taylor, Grimshaw and Kohn Pederson Fox.