Why did you enter the Architect Pitch ?
We entered for two reasons. We’re committed to delivering wellbeing benefits on each of our projects, from homes to community spaces and this approach seemed like a great fit for General Projects and the pitch. At the same time, we were keen to show how we could re-think the office and move further into this sector.
How much did you prepare and what tips do you have?
We already had a great team from a community space we’d co-designed for Newham Council and a flexible workspace in Hoxton with a focus on mental and physical health.We brought this team together again for the pitch and used this as an opportunity to discuss ideas more widely about the future of the office
Since the presentation needed to be really focussed, we tested it with several “critical friends” and practised it to make sure we stuck to time. In the end, unfortunately Catrina was ill on the day, which meant a last minute change of plan. So our second tip would be don’t panic if things go slightly wrong, it’s more about how you recover and deal with this.
Why do you think you won?
General Projects liked our thinking about the workplace and wellbeing because it resonated with their own approach to this new world of work coming out of the pandemic.The office has to be a destination where you want to go and it has to be better than the home.
What’s happened since winning?
The pitch was focused on a specific building (242 Marylebone Road) but times have changed. So it was decided to apply our approach to another of General Projects’ buildings, Electric Park.It’s a new workspace-led campus in Manchester city centre targeted at local occupiers and businesses. We were commissioned to produce a research document to demystify wellbeing and explain to occupiers what the benefits are, for example how does air quality enhance productivity?
General Projects are a great collaborator and client, since they were always excited to be pushed in terms of wellbeing, sustainability and design. At the same time, they were clear with their aspirations - which we shared - and provided feedback throughout our process.Working for General Projects really allowed us to develop a unique outcome, which none of us could have pre-empted when we started working together.
It's been a fantastic process and it’s given us confidence in another sector and showing who we are and what we do.It's been a meaningful piece of work that has the opportunity to become reality.
Electric Landscape Wellbeing Fit Out Guide for General Projects is by Office S&M architects, Ekkist wellbeing consultants,CAN architects and SLAB visualisers in collaboration with Hawkins/Brown architects
Photo: Ben Cross, General Projects and Hugh McEwan, Office S&M