Seven architects chosen to pitch to HB Reavis

10 October, 2017

The Architect Pitch is the only regular forum for architects to pitch their practice to a panel of clients and be given honest and insightful feedback in a supportive environment.

For the client, the Architect Pitch is a chance to hear from architects first-hand and put them through their paces in a relaxed and informal environment. This is the second time where a client is also using the pitch to select an architect for a specific project.

On October 18th, seven architects will be pitching to a panel that includes Kiran Pawar, Development Director for HB Reavis UK, Simon Glynn, Assistant Director (City Public Realm) Department of the Built Environment for the City of London and Festus Moffat, a director of John Robertson Architects.

Kiran Pawar said: “We had a fantastic response to the call to take part in the Architect Pitch and I believe we have shortlisted some really innovative firms, many of which are new and emerging practices. We are excited about hearing their presentations at MIPIM UK and look forward to seeing how the shortlisted practices will respond to the brief.”

Here we ask the architects to tell us about their practice and why they want to pitch.

The architects are: ALEKSA studio, MATT Architecture, De Matos Ryan, Studioshaw, Nex, URBAN and Whitman Wilde.

ALEKSA studio

Tell us about your practice

Our portfolio ranges from residential and commercial projects to installations and furniture design pieces. We believe in attention to detail on every project no matter the scale or budget.

We love experimenting and designing through making, using innovative materials and advanced fabrication techniques. Our recent projects include a restaurant refurbishment for the Natural History Museum, London, community skate-parks in Liverpool and Sao Paulo, a temporary window display for make-up brand Kiko Milano London and a 3-D printed table.

Our work has been exhibited at the RA Summer Show (2012), Clerkenwell Design Week (2014-2015) and the Centre Pompidou (2017). Recently we were shortlisted for RIBA Beyond Borders installation ( see lead image above ) and the AJ/James Hardie House of Colour competition.

How old is your practice?   3 years

Why do you want to pitch?

 We see the Architect Pitch as an exciting opportunity to work with an interesting developer and tap into a new sector. We are keen to explore fresh ideas on how to bring external space to life. In the past we have worked on a number of temporary and permanent projects featuring tight spatial and budget constraints and we are experienced in delivering highly bespoke designs that involve specialist fabrication and quick turn-around.

We are hoping to bring our expertise in using digital design and fabrication tools to create highly adaptive and innovative designs that can be re-configured and re-used in the future. We are excited to develop ideas that can be adaptive and respond to the environment, programme and various user groups. We also bring branding ideas, wayfinding and graphics that can enhance how external areas are experienced.


MATT Architecture

Danny Lodge, Hurstpierpoint,West Sussex

Tell us about your practice.

We design spaces and places that surprise and delight. We bring together our senior partners’ rich experience working on some of the world’s most celebrated buildings – with the freshness of a start-up.

We are delivering projects that range in scale from a new entrance for Soho’s listed House of St Barnabas to a 31,000sqm mixed-use new-build on the Charing Cross Road incorporating London’s largest basement post-production studio. We are natural collaborators, deliberately sharing our space with other companies, seeking out those moments of insight catalysed by cross-fertilisation between disciplines. And we like roof gardens starting with the grimy roof we inherited above our own studio, which is now a garden accommodating a Mongolian yurt and herb beds.

How old is your practice  5 years

Why do you want to pitch?

Our design for Ilona Rose House, currently on site on the Charing Cross Road includes ‘The Hanging Gardens of Soho’ across its roofs. These are 14,000 sq.ft. of terraces – a similar area to the brief. We surprised ourselves by having had many more ideas for those terraces relating to well-being, year-round use, sustainability and accessibility than there were terraces available. This means we’d be coming to this project equipped with a unique combination. We have experience of the practical issues involved such as overlooking, maintenance, wind load, irrigation, build-ups etc. We also have a hunger to explore the potential of roof spaces further, whether for well-being, public space, food or energy production.


De Matos Ryan

Arts Educational Schools, London

Tell us about your practice

We have taken time to work closely with our clients in order to create imaginative and well detailed modern environments. We like to incorporate all aspects of design from landscape to interiors and have a strong portfolio that crosses a broad range of sectors, from retail to the arts and from residential to commercial. We like to borrow from our experiences in each of these fields to transfer our discoveries and research into new opportunities. We like to observe how people use spaces and how else they might behave and feel in them.

How old is your practice? 18 years

Why do you want to pitch?

The chance to work with an enlightened developer client, such as HB Reavis, would be a significant, portfolio changing, commission for us. We would bring our recent experience of placemaking within public arts and community spaces that engender social interaction but also have the potential for revenue generation. The landscaping and architectural hardware of these rooftop areas must be able to support a wide variety of social and hospitality uses, which are appealing and effective to a broad audience of both employees and public through all seasons, times of day and even at night. Perhaps no two visits should ever be the same.



Art classrooms- feasibility study

Tell us about your practice

We believe that good design springs from a positive and active engagement with both clients and end users and we design things with the flexibility to accommodate a rapidly changing physical and technological world. Currently we are working on projects that range from an NHS England study to a new build restaurant in registered parkland, the re-modelling of an Arts and Crafts era house and the creation of a cultural ‘factory’ in Bethnal Green.

How old is your practice? 18 months

Why do you want to pitch?

We have lots of relevant experience of both design and delivery from working for other practices and we are now seeking new opportunities that will allow us to demonstrate this experience. We think that the Architect Pitch and specifically this one because it has a real brief is a perfect opportunity to make this a reality – a rare and valuable opportunity in our industry. In a previous practice Mark was project architect for R7, an Argent building in King’s Cross, and external terraces were a key part of the design strategy. But we didn’t spend much time exploring the possibilities for use/activity on them or temporary structures to facilitate year-round use. We think this is a really interesting and exciting brief and all too common an issue in the London climate.



Duke of York restaurant, London

Tell us about your practice

The studio designs award-winning pavilions, public, cultural, work and leisure buildings across the UK.

Our design approach focuses on people’s experience and how to embed social engagement within formal refinement. What makes us different is how we unlock value for clients through the quality of our design thinking and our collaborative approach to realisation. The result is spaces that are characterised by intuitive circulation, flexibility of use and deeply researched material craft

Examples of our current projects that exemplify our approach and are relevant to this brief include a new restaurant building and public roof space for the Cadogan Estate on the King’s Road, new buildings and landscape for the RAF Museum in Hendon and a new public pier on the Thames.

How old is your practice?   9 years

Why do you want to pitch ?

We want to work with HB Reavis because we applaud the value it places on people’s experience and wellbeing, highlighted by the brief and the broader Well programme.

We believe that the spaces around and on top of buildings are overlooked opportunities to create value, expand user experience and positively contribute to urban character. Nex has designed outstanding rooftop and public spaces in London that meaningfully connect our buildings to the city.

We excel at creating innovative, inspiring temporary structures and pavilions that support an expanded range of activities and extend the seasonal use of outdoor space.




Rooftop terrace, S1 Handyside, Kings Cross, London

 Tell us about your practice

We are a London based group of landscape architects, architects and urbanists focussed on public realm and landscape in urban environments at all project scales. We focus on working with clients to create landscapes that connect people and environment. Each project encompasses the interplay of art, landscape and sustainability to conceive places that people love and value and bring joy and beauty to people’s everyday experience of the city.

How old is your practice?   3.5 years

Why do you want to pitch?

By encouraging people to be more aware of their environment, we can help people to see the world afresh and therefore make stronger associations between people and nature.

City rooftops provide a perfect opportunity to get people out into their environment and to appreciate beautiful moments, take in distant views or simply enjoy the company of a friend on a protected bench. And it is these moments we are passionate about creating for others to experience especially within dense and busy cities like London.



Whitman and Wilde

Temporary market and social hub, Ilford

Tell us about your practice

We are a young, passionate and creative practice. We strive to create innovative and unique design solutions for each project that are borne out of a careful interrogation of site, context, and brief. We are always looking for opportunities to challenge the brief and approach the design from different perspectives.

We feel a strong social and sustainable responsibility for the buildings we create and the places that people inhabit. We are always looking to make a positive contribution to the lives of people who use our buildings and we work closely with clients and the design team to ensure that all aspects of sustainability are carefully considered.

How are old is your practice?   1 month

Why do you want to pitch?

 As architects, we are always looking for potential in areas that others have overlooked. But in turn, we believe these spaces allow us an alternative and often distorted view of the world as we know it. We believe that constraints often breed creativity and can force a new and innovative approach to design. This became evident as we worked alongside Mercato Metropoliano developing a proposal for a creative community hub on the site of a disused car park in Ilford.