Hucknall architect plays key role in Chinese project

A HUCKNALL architect who was born in China is playing a key role in an exciting, high-profile project.

Tianyi Gu (36), of Viyella Mews, is an associate with Building Design Partnership (BDP), a firm of architects and engineers with more than 1,200 staff in the UK and other parts of the world.

The Chinese Government has commissioned BDP for a towering 200-metre tall building and surrounding development of 200,000 square metres to be built in Shenxi Province.

It is proposed that the massive local-government complex will be used for media purposes, housing radio and TV channels.

Much of Tianyi’s remit is to generate work for British architects and designers on projects in China — and this one is especially prestigious.

Tianyi moved to this country to study for a Masters degree in architecture at Nottingham University. His work for BDP entails him commuting daily to the company’s office in Manchester.

Tianyi met his wife, Bridgette Gu-Barlow, who was born and bred in Hucknall, through her work with a Nottingham-based company of architects.

They were married in 2008 at Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains. The ceremony went ahead even though Bridgette had broken her foot in a fall downstairs at a hotel but the couple had to postpone their honeymoon.

Tianyi said BDP’s link with China came about because the recession meant a reduction in its commissions and the company needed to expand its markets.

“The firm already had offices in Eastern Europe and India, so its focus turned to China,” he explained.

“My role is to bring projects back from China to the UK so that architects in this country can work on them. The schemes are then sent back to China.

“Foreign design companies do not have a licence to perform the actual construction work, so this is carried out by locally-based firms.”

A previous project which Tianyi has been involved with in China is the Guam South District masterplan, which comprised the development of an eight square-kilometre new town centre and urban plan in Hebei Province.

“As a native of China, it is obviously thrilling for me to play an active part in these major developments through the BDP,” said Tianyi.

Bridgette said she was proud and delighted with the important part being played by her husband in the projects. “It is a positive example of how immigrants to this country work hard to boost the UK economy,” she added.