Introducing Stuart Adlam – leading our Commercial Architecture team in Birmingham

Stuart Adlam has recently been promoted to head up the Commercial Architecture division in our Birmingham office.

He was formerly based in the Bedford office but during lockdown he was actually living 6,000 miles away, in Hong Kong. Stuart was working for a client in Hong Kong as well as enjoying time with his family. But with exciting development opportunities coming forward across the West Midlands, find out how Stuart sees Woods Hardwick’s commercial architecture team growing from strength to strength in the region – from industrial and logistics to retail and offices.

On working remotely from Hong Kong during the lockdown

Over the summer I was based in Hong Kong. I was busy working on projects back in the UK, as well as building relationships with existing Woods Hardwick clients in the Midlands. In Hong Kong I’ve been leading our team creating a concept design manual for a Hong Kong based company with many sites across the territory. The manual provides a structured and cohesive brand fit out image for the company across their portfolio and is in the early stages of implementation. It has been an interesting experience to work alongside client and contractors in such an exciting part of the world and a sector that I hope we can develop with Woods Hardwick’s substantial retail and corporate fit-out expertise.

On working at Woods Hardwick 

During my architectural studies, I spent most holidays working for Woods Hardwick as an Architectural Assistant. This gave me an invaluable insight at an early stage into the real-world challenges and commercial considerations of the industry. I owe a great deal to the early support from the company for helping me to develop this understanding of architecture.

In my early career at Woods Hardwick I was grateful for exposure to a wide range of projects and gained experience across many aspects of the commercial sector from inception to completion. After a break away from Woods Hardwick to help with the family business and working as a sole practitioner, I was excited to rejoin Woods Hardwick in 2017. I became part of an experienced and professional dynamic team at a point when the company was building on its heritage and experience to become the innovative, integrated and design focused practice it is today.

Commercial sector focus

From the outset I focused my career on the commercial sector and have undertaken roles in projects of varying scales covering multi-storey, multi-let offices, retail parks, education, mixed use projects, and numerous masterplanning and feasibility exercises looking to realise development potential of sites across a broad range of uses.

As someone who loves travel, a recent project to create a new business jet aviation hub was an interesting and exciting challenge. The project involved masterplanning the airport layout, designing the passenger terminal, aircraft servicing, hangars, taxiways and hard standing layouts, all within the strict context of airfield technical requirements. The project was a fantastic opportunity to work alongside the numerous disciplines and specialists that make up the modern development team including economists, ecologists, landscape architects, engineers, aviation, archeology, sustainability, highways and planning consultants. From concept to planning submission in a highly compressed period of 6 months, the project successfully delivered planning approval within project programme.

And the next stop is Birmingham! 

With the growth of the company it is exciting to be helping to develop the commercial architecture division in the West Midlands alongside our civil engineering and planning teams who have already established themselves in the region.

Birmingham and the Midlands are undergoing a renaissance, with a renewed focus on its infrastructure and built environment. I’m look forward to being part of the Birmingham team and helping to bring Woods Hardwick’s core experience in the fields of logistics, industrial, office, masterplanning and retail sectors to the region. With the proposed changes to the planning system, and as we deal with the long term implications of COVID-19, these will bring many additional opportunities and challenges to the sector with their impact on the high street, living and workplaces.

Having heard that Birmingham has the largest number of Michelin star restaurants outside London and with it’s fantastic curry scene, I’m particularly looking forward to sampling all that the city has to offer!

Get in touch with Stuart to discuss your project.


Stuart and the Woods Hardwick team in their brand new offices at Fort Dunlop