Legacy - February 2024

5th March 2024

Recently, someone made a series of thought-provoking statements: could our legacy be a bad thing? Do we rely on it too much? It was a glib remark but as an Architect and a Director of Manning Elliott Partnership, this remark stirred a mix of emotions within me. It prompted a deep reflection on what legacy truly means to us as individuals and as a business—especially as we prepare to pass the torch to a new generation of architects and designers such as myself and make significant plans for the future.

The term "legacy" carries profound weight. It encapsulates the enduring impact of past events or actions, whether in one's personal life or through our professional journey. This definition resonated deeply with me, particularly in light of recent events. We recently bid farewell to not only one of our founding partners but also a cherished friend and colleague, Adrian Manning. As we gathered to mourn Adrian's passing, our conversations naturally gravitated towards reminiscing about our shared experiences of a man who valued friendship, kindness, and a sense of fun. Yet, amidst the sadness and tears, there was also an unmistakable sense of celebration—a celebration of Adrian's life and the choices he made that shaped his legacy, our built environment, and our business.

Reflecting on our firm's genesis nearly four decades ago, it's clear that Adrian and his then-partner, Max Elliott, likely didn't set out to establish a legacy for themselves. Yet, as architects and designers, our work inherently leaves a lasting imprint on the world around us. Our projects shape landscapes and communities, influencing a positive change.

While we don't rely solely on our legacy, we do wholeheartedly embrace and celebrate it. Not for what it represents in terms of achievements or accolades or a diverse portfolio of work, but for the profound impact it has had on us as individuals. The choices made in the past, seemingly insignificant at the time, have forged deep connections among us. They've transformed strangers into friends and colleagues into family.

Our business has allowed a great many people to practice the work we love. For me it has fostered a sense of belonging and stability with a common purpose. It has become an embodiment of resilience and adaptability. It has evolved to stay relevant and has been fortified by the challenges of the past. I have been entrusted with the responsibility of protecting and shepherding it and striving for excellence whilst embracing innovation and progress.  

The legacy of Manning Elliott Partnership isn't merely defined by the buildings we've designed or the projects we've completed. Instead, it's rooted in the relationships we've cultivated—the bonds that have stood the test of time; bonds that helped fill a church to bursting last week. As we navigate the transition to a new era, we carry forward not just a legacy of architectural excellence, but also one of camaraderie and shared experiences.

In essence, our legacy isn't static; it's dynamic and ever evolving, shaped by the collective experiences of those who have contributed to it. And while we honour the past and especially the people who have helped shape it in a meaningful way, we also look ahead with optimism as we seek to inspire and bring together new people who help us to forge our business and create new and exciting architecture. Those people will build upon the successes and failures of the past and through their choices will create their own version of Manning Elliott Partnership.

The legacy of Manning Elliott Partnership is not just the work it has done but the people it has brought together in the pursuit of architecture.    

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Chris Staniowski - Director / Architectlinkedin Logo[email protected]linkedin LogoLinkedin
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