Studio Nine Architects have created a new tier within their leadership team, with Keith Dougal (left) and Nigel Howden (right) becoming the Adelaide-based practice’s inaugural Principals.

With the studio expanding its number of personnel from 30 to 50 in the last three years, the new Principal tier occupied by Dougal and Howden allows for further growth and development of Studio Nine due to the upper management structure being strengthened.

“The elevation to Principal means that the rolling cycle of our 5-year strategic plan is working,” says Howden.

The two Principals have worked both at home and abroad for the likes of Woods Bagot and Aedas on high-profile, award-winning projects. The pair joined S9 in 2017 to help the practice transition towards larger commercial developments.

“Over the last five years we have recognised a shift towards larger commercial projects, in terms of scale and the organisations we work with. Our processes and attitudes have developed and our personnel have grown stronger — we’ve built a really solid foundation to push forward with”, Dougal says.

Both Dougal and Howden work in conjunction with S9’s five Directors to assist in strategizing and developing internal processes to take the studio into the next phase, applying their experience from global practices and bringing in the mechanisms of a larger studio uniquely to S9.

“The appointment to Principal for me is about cementing the leadership component. It’s not about me, it’s about the studio. We’re doing some amazing things already but there’s still so much more potential to be unlocked — that is what motivates me the most in this new role”, says Dougal.

Howden is quick to acknowledge his role in developing the practice and ensuring it is well equipped to take on large-scale projects.

“For me this promotion is about consolidating the growth of the studio and continuing to build and develop our leadership team, so that as a studio we can deliver the targeted objectives of our new strategic plan. From here it’s about getting even better at what we’re already doing and continuing to build on what we’ve achieved to date.”

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