Max Fordham started his own practice in the spare bedroom of his Camden home. It was 1966. He was 33. In the years since, the Practice has grown to more than 250 people in five offices around the United Kingdom.
Max Fordham’s Cambridge office opened in 2001 and a job won at Telford College in Scotland led to a presence in Edinburgh, where the office celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013. Continued growth of the Practice resulted in the establishment of offices in Manchester and Bristol in the same year.
In 2010, the Practice celebrated with Zaha Hadid Architects when the Museum of XXI Century Art (MAXXI) won the Stirling Prize. The Practice celebrated their second Stirling Prize win in 2016 with Caruso St John Architects for Newport Street Gallery, and their third in 2022 with Niall McLaughlin Architects for Magdalene College New Library Oxford. Our projects have won many other awards, including ‘CIBSE Building Performance Project of the Year’ eight times across various sectors since 2016.
As a business, we have received much recognition, including being named ‘ACE Inclusion and Diversity Champion of the Year’ in 2017 and we’re the only practice to be crowned “CIBSE Building Performance Champion” twice (2022 and 2020).
Max sought a partnership approach to running a business to encourage shared responsibility and a feeling of ownership. Max himself said "it's a responsibility-sharing scheme, not a profit-sharing scheme”.
Max Fordham was the first company in the British construction industry to become a Limited Liability Partnership. In essence, we are an employee-owned business, with our current Partners totalling over 115 people across all roles and offices.
Max handed over the running of the business to his fellow partners in 2000 and retired fully from the Partnership in 2020. In January 2022, Max sadly passed away peacefully at his home - his creativity and passion will be sorely missed, but the legacy of his vision continues to inspire.
If you'd like to learn more about the man whose name is above the door, please have a look at the five-minute video below or you can read much more about him on our dedicated Remembering Max section.