Well known architect steps down after COVID-19 struggle
Respected Leeds architect, Chris Austin, has stepped down from his role of managing director at Brewster Bye Architects after battling Covid-19.
Austin contracted the virus in late April and subsequently spent 70 days in Leeds General Infirmary, of which 55 were in intensive care on a ventilator.
He has enjoyed a distinguished career and has spent the last 28 years at Brewster Bye.
During this time, he has designed an impressive range of high profile and multi-award-winning developments throughout Yorkshire and beyond.
These include pioneering new build developments, such as the 587-apartment development at City Island in Leeds city centre, through to historic restorations, including St Leonard’s Place, a Grade II* listed crescent building that is now one of York city centre’s most exclusive addresses.
Other notable projects across the region designed by Austin include the Raithwaite Estate’s hotel in Sandsend and conversions of the historic buildings at The Grove Hospital in Ilkley, Eastbrook Hall in Bradford and The Mechanics Institute in Huddersfield, as well as the redevelopment of Leeds Girls’ High School.
His fellow co-directors, Mark Henderson and Nathan Wilkinson, will now take ownership and run the Leeds-based practice, in his absence.
Austin said: “It was touch and go for quite a while and I was very fortunate to survive.
“I now have a long period of recovery and rehabilitation ahead. The illness has made me reappraise my future and I have therefore stepped back from my role as managing director of Brewster Bye Architects.
“This is obviously a big decision, but it will give me the time I need to continue to recover, as well as allowing me to spend more time with my family who have been through an awful lot.
“I would like to thank Mark Henderson, Nathan Wilkinson and the entire team at Brewster Bye, for the support they have given me during this difficult period and the added pressures enforced on them during these very uncertain times.
“I have every confidence in the strength of the business, and there’s no doubt the team will continue to produce the high quality, award-winning architecture now and in the future, for which the company is renowned.”
Henderson said: “Chris is undoubtedly one of the region’s finest residential architects and there are now thousands of people living in high quality homes, from city penthouses to large family houses, that he has expertly designed.
“He has continually produced innovative and aesthetically pleasing solutions for redundant buildings and sites, giving them a new lease of life and transforming the areas around them.
“It is a superb legacy that any architect would be proud of.”
Wilkinson added: “The battle that Chris and his family have faced has been incredibly tough and we fully understand the need for him to concentrate on his recovery at this time.
“We’re all delighted that he is out of hospital and admire his approach to the rehabilitation he is now undertaking. We wish him all the best as he continues to overcome the effects of this terrible virus.”