ONE of Hampshire's largest architectural firms which has carried out projects at the county's hospitals, schools and universities is flying high after celebration a quarter of a century on the River Test.

More than 100 staff and guests from Studio Four Architects spent a sunny afternoon with their rods fly-fishing at the Leckford Estate, Stockbridge before an al fresco lunch to mark 25 years of business in the county.

The business, which was originally founded at Stanbridge Earls near Romsey, was set up in 1992 by Nick Lockyer and George Rankin after they had been hit by the recession in the early 1990s.

It has since gone from strength to strength, expanding its client base across the southern counties. Studio Four Architects now employs 40 people at three offices based in Winchester, Romsey and Southampton.

Senior director Mike Brownlow said: “When Nick and George took a leap of faith and set up their office in a converted stable block, little did they know they were founding a major consultancy firm in the South.

“Since then we’ve followed their ethos of creating practical, buildable architecture and this seems to be what the majority of clients, such as Waitrose who own the Leckford Estate, really want.”

Mr Brownlow added: “We’re now in the fortunate position of also being appointed for specifically design-led schemes and have recently won a number of awards for our housing, historic and community buildings.”

Initially working in the healthcare sector, Studio Four Architects has taken on projects all of Hampshire's major hospitals, as well as a number of GP surgeries and health centres. During its 25 years, the firm has also taken on education sector projects including work on Hampshire County Council schools, a number of colleges, and more recently for the Universities of Southampton, Winchester and Solent.

In 1997, an office was set up in Winchester to help cover the growing range of projects, and now deals predominantly with university projects and lifeboat stations around the country for the RNLI.

Mr Brownlow said: “We’re really looking forward to the next 25 years. So much has already changed since those days of drawing boards and faxes."

In 2013 Studio Four merged with a well-established Southampton practice, Chris Edmond Associates.