Mark Fairhurst is a fourth generation architect coming from a line of architects originally based in Manchester. H S Fairhurst established his practice in 1895 after experience in detailing the steelwork of the Blackpool Tower and working with Richard Watt. Originally based in Blackburn he moved to Manchester in 1905 making his name in the design of cotton packing warehouses. One of his first major commissions was India House in Whitworth Street for Lloyds, followed by Lancaster House in 1909 built in terracotta and granite and later Bridgewater House in 1912. Pevsner, the architectural historian, highlighted the York House (demolished) in 1911 for the striking design of the fully glazed rear façade predating the use of glass curtain walling later in the century.
Father & Son Architects
His son P Garland Fairhurst joined the practice in 1925 – both father and son were influenced by contemporary North American architecture making a number of visits to study the aesthetics and cutting edge technology of the progressive cities. Commissions included Lee House in Oxford Street, the Rylands warehouse, Market Street utilised steel frames with concrete floors. The practice developed an expertise in hospital design with the Christie’s Hospital and Holt Radium Institute and the Manchester Northern Hospital, Cheatham Hill. After the Second World War significant projects included the Shirley Institute Didsbury, Leyland Motors Agency Tank Factory, and ICI Pharmaceuticals Division Research Laboratories, Alderley Edge.
Harry M Fairhurst and Ian Fairhurst, the third generation, joined the practice following their father. The practice developed its expertise in the design of medical buildings for practice and research including the design of the Manchester Medical School, part of Manchester University. Other buildings followed including the Chemistry and Physics Buildings for UMIST gaining Harry an honorary degree by the University of Manchester and UMIST for his work over 25 years. Harry left the practice in 1981 and went on to work independently for English Heritage carrying out the Survey of English Cathedrals and was later involved in the creation of the Architects Accredited in Building Conservation. Ian left the practice to farm successfully in Cornwall for himself and the Duchy of Cornwall on behalf of the Prince of Wales.
Over a Century’s Design Experience
Harry S, Garry and Harry M became Presidents of the Manchester Society of Architects in 1926-28, 1947-49 and 1969-71 respectively.
Mark Fairhurst gained work experience while studying at Newcastle University at Fairhurst Design Group who continue building on the wide experience gained over a century of continuous practice.