O’DonnellBrown wins pitch to design post-pandemic housing (video)

15 September, 2020

Glasgow-based practice O’DonnellBrown has won the Architect Pitch held last week in central London.

The young practice’s director Jennifer O’Donnell showed a series of self-initiated projects, including an outdoor classroom, impressing the panel with its understanding of how young people have been impacted by the pandemic.

Jennifer O’Donnell

The panel was made up of Robert Sloss, CEO of HUB; Pooja Agrawal, assistant director of Strategy Service at Homes England; Georgia Young, a WhiteHat apprentice at Mace; Euan Blair, Co-Founder & CEO of WhiteHat and Damien Sharkey, Managing Director, HUB.

HUB and WhiteHat asked seven architects for ideas to address the needs of young people including better access to career training and networking opportunities.

Jennifer told the panel: “Our younger generation cannot be forgotten as we move into the post-pandemic world…their needs are changing and so too are the needs of the city dweller in response to both the pandemic and the climate emergency.”

Damien Sharkey said: “Developing new ideas is integral to HUB and we began our collaboration with Euan Blair and his apprenticeship company WhiteHat when we realised both organisations saw an opportunity for new forms of housing that could make a tangible difference to life-chances, particularly for younger people starting out in their careers.

“The advent of Covid added new urgency as it became obvious that people from disadvantaged backgrounds were being worst affected by the social and economic impacts of the pandemic and more was needed from housing, post-pandemic. Hence we partnered with Archiboo on a competition for fresh ideas for housing to enhance life-chances.

‘We are thrilled with our winners O’DonnellBrown. We were so impressed with Jennifer’s pitch which focused very much on young people and providing places where they can grow and flourish.

‘Having said that, it was an extremely close competition and we will be following up with everyone shortlisted to hear more about their ideas.”

O’DonnellBrown set up seven years ago. It was a finalist in the 2019 Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Award and will also feature in the fourth edition of the Architecture Foundations New Architects series.

The other pitchers were Katy Marks, Citizens Design Bureau; Meredith Bowles, Mole Architects; Ian McKnight, Hall McKnight: Joe Morris, Morris+Company; Kristofer Adelaide, KAA and Jessam Al-Jawad, Al-Jawad Pike.

The Architect Pitch attracted 52 submissions from practices across the UK.