Seven to pitch to design GP surgery of the future

30 September, 2018

On October 17th seven architects will be pitching to NHS Property Services at MIPIM UK to a panel that includes Simon Taylor, Head of Portfolio Optimisation, Julie Whetton, Head of Property Management, and David Lewis, architect and a partner in NBBJ.

The competition is to design the GP surgery of the future and will launch the NHS Property Services thought leadership campaign exploring the impact of technology on the NHS estate.

The Architect Pitch is the only regular forum for architects to pitch to a panel of clients and be given honest and insightful feedback. This is the third time clients will be using the pitch to select an architect for a specific project.

Here the selected architects tell us why they want to pitch.

The architects are: AOC Architecture, Gatti Routh Rhodes Architects, Gruff, Henley Halebrown, Pilbrow & Partners, Softroom and White Red Architects.

AOC Architecture


Tell us about your practice

We have a distinct reputation for high quality public buildings, cultural institutions and residential projects located in sensitive contexts. We are committed to a generous architecture that is particular, participative and valuable. We do not have a house style, preferring instead to explore the social and cultural context of each situation to develop appropriate formal responses. We use the associative and sensory qualities of materials, embracing pattern, texture and colour, to create communicative and suggestive spaces. Our completed work includes a diverse range of buildings, as well as exhibitions, public realm, landscapes, interiors, temporary installations and neighbourhood masterplans.

How old is your practice?  13 years

Why do you want to take part?

As a recipient of NHS services for my family, including regular hospital consultations, borough nursing and education health services, I have an understanding of the current challenges faced by local GPs and the great work that they do.

In recent years we have been involved in a number of projects that look at new ways of providing for social welfare and care – including the green community centre in Nunhead, care homes with Dementia Care Matters, and a new community centre in Shinfield.

We are currently working with a charity in Southwark to open a social prescription facility within an existing building and in association with local GP services. This pilot project will take a number of years to fully establish and this pitch process will not only use the research already gained, but also help move thinking within that project beyond its current trajectory.


Nunhead Green, photo credit Tim Soar


Gatti Routh Rhodes Architects


Tell us about your practice

This proposal is a partnership between Gatti Routh Rhodes Architects and William Wang. William is a fully qualified architect who is currently engaged in interdisciplinary practice in conjunction with the RCA & Imperial College NHS Trust. Gatti Routh Rhodes is an emerging London based practice with a strong track record in complex mixed use buildings, where building complementary uses is key to the overall success of the scheme.

How old is your practice?  5 years

Why do you want to take part?

Much of the solutions to challenges facing GP practices for the future lies in general and monetary policy level, but we believe good design and new ways of working can facilitate several improvement implementations, including prevention of illness and creating better environments for new treatment models.

We are particularly passionate about the idea of joint care, which connects the fragmented healthcare system, increases its efficiency and broadens its platform to include a range of services, for example providing social support and alternative treatments.

The GP practice of the future not only provides convenience and timely care for patients, but is in effect a modern, technologically enhanced social hub where the community can gather while the range of services provided are systematically integrated to the wider healthcare network. GPs are the bedrock of our healthcare system, and the gatekeepers to further services.

Bethnal Green Mission Church. Photo: Jack Hobhouse




Tell us about your practice

We are an emerging practice based in South London. Our two directors, Rhys Cannon and Emily Burnett run a close knit team that collectively have a wide range of experience and skills. We approach the process of design with a thoughtful and dynamic outlook considering the needs of end users and our wider environment. Our designs have been recognised through architectural awards such as New London Architecture Awards, Architects’ Journal and Architectural Review and in 2018 our practice was nominated for the Young Architect of the Year Award.

How old is your practice?  8 years

Why do you want to take part?

We have no prior experience in the healthcare sector, which enables us to approach the concept for the future with fresh new ideas unencumbered by conventions prejudiced by the past. This allows us to think big and have original unique and different ideas. The Finsbury Health Centre was a truly futuristic piece of architecture, forward thinking and inspiring. Frustratingly, we see many healthcare environments which offer only the opposite.

Our healthcare system is suffering the combined pressures of an ageing; obese population who are too frequently deprived of easy access to mental health services in a fast-changing society. Referrals to community support services are essential, as are face-to-face interactions to combat the isolation suffered by many who are re-directed via a chain of dispersed telephonic and online support services.

We want to explore the idea of the future surgery providing a healthy, natural environment, plugged-in directly to the community it supports and the community services it engages.


Community Tennis Clubhouse, Shooters Hill


Henley Halebrown 


Tell us about your practice

Through the LIFT programme (2003-12) we completed 4 award winning primary/ community health facilities. These included The Waldron, St Johns Therapy Centre, Baldry Gardens and Akerman (National RIBA Award and Stirling mid-list 2013). The practice won AYA Healthcare Architect of the Year 2008 and received Building Better Healthcare Awards for Best Primary Care Building 2008, 2011, & 2013.

At Waldron we focused on the patient experience, and creating efficient, flexible and adaptable facilities, public buildings in a community setting. The practice is currently on the RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist for Chadwick Hall for the University of Roehampton.

How old is your practice?  23 years

Why do you want to take part?

For a decade our practice was immersed in the re-imagining of primary and community care facilities and how best to meet the needs of the local communities and health care profession at the time. Cultural shifts are in motion which require a re-evaluation. Our healthcare projects were designed to be flexible and adaptable. We would welcome the opportunity to revisit them and other facilities to explore the possibilities, benefits and efficiencies of reshaped health and community services.

Akerman, London


Pilbrow & Partners


Pilbrow & Partners is a 70-strong architecture and urban design studio that specialises in complex mixed-use projects in sensitive heritage contexts. Recent and current projects include the enhancement of the working environment at the Francis Crick Institute, the new UCLH phase 5 hospital in Bloomsbury (awarded the American Architecture Prize 2017 and Planning award 2017) and the design of The Market Building at Canary Wharf’s new Wood Wharf district.
Pilbrow & Partners are also working for U+I on the redevelopment of 8 Albert Embankment including new homes, workspace, retail and a new home for the London Fire Brigade Museum.
 5 years
It is great to see the NHS is being given the attention it needs on a platform like MIPIM UK. We see this as an opportunity to showcase our passion and experience in architecture for the healthcare sector. Our experience includes proposals for a masterplan for St Thomas hospital in Vauxhall, the design and current re-conceptualisation for the Francis Crick Institute at St. Pancras and the new UCLH ENT and Dental Hospital, currently on site in Bloomsbury. We believe these are all projects we could build upon in this exciting design challenge.
UCLH Phase 5, currently on site.



Tell us about your practice

Softroom was founded by directors Christopher Bagot and Oliver Salway. Our work spans a broad range of sectors – from the arts, to transportation, to commercial and retail space. Major clients include the British Museum, Eurostar, and Virgin Atlantic. Our design for the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow received a D&AD Yellow Pencil, and we’ve won RIBA awards and the Stephen Lawrence Prize. We work closely with our clients to create designs that both satisfy their needs, and make a lasting and positive impression on everyone who encounters them.

How old is your practice?  23 years

Why do you want to take part?

The opportunity to pitch to, and potentially work with the NHS team would be a fantastic chance for us to bring our thinking to the healthcare sector. We deliberately choose to work in a variety of sectors, from culture to retail, and our team is intentionally diverse. This allows us to approach each project from many angles, so we’re never constrained by convention. By bringing a fresh perspective to NHS healthcare, we would aim to look at the challenge of the GP Surgery from new viewpoints. We believe maximising value and minimising environmental impact are fundamental principles of good design, and that this efficient approach is ideally suited to a client like the NHS.

Eurostar lounge in Paris. Photo: Jack Hobhouse


White Red Architects


Tell us about your practice 

White Red Architects is a RIBA chartered architecture and design studio based in London. We believe there is an opportunity within every project, large or small, to do something that will make you smile. We start by listening and careful analysis of context to define the brief. We then look for the opportunity, for the idea within to create something beautiful and functional.

We work with different media, cutting, sticking and moulding, distilling an idea down into its essential parts, its simplest form of expression. We believe it’s this that makes for legible built structures, resilient to the pressures of construction, that are satisfying to use and beautiful to look at.

How old is your practice?  3 years

Why do you want to take part?

We believe that good design can have great impact. My fiancée is a doctor working for the NHS and often we discuss opportunities for improvement. We feel that as a young practice we could help to propose ideas that could help to bring the GP practice up to modern standards and keep up with the pace of the 21st Century. The future of GP practices is an important current issue and we would love the opportunity to present our thoughts and ideas.

Office fit-out


The Architect Pitch will be taking place at MIPIM UK on October 17th at 4.30pm. Tickets for MIPIM UK are available here