Three pitches that transformed our practice

6 July, 2020

The reality of starting a practice with a relatively limited portfolio was always going to be a challenge. But we saw this limitation as an opportunity to convey our approach through pitches to potential clients.

One of our first pitches as White Red Architects was invaluable and continues to provide opportunities.

In 2018, we were selected to be one of the shortlisted practices for the Architect Pitch held at MIPIM UK. We pitched our idea for the ‘GP Surgery of the Future’ to a distinguished panel of judges, including decision makers from NHS Property Services.

The event attracted great interest and allowed us to introduce ourselves and meet with contacts that would be otherwise difficult to reach.

A key component was a follow up article in Property Week which provided a source of reference for potential clients. In April, in the middle of lockdown, we were asked to pitch (virtually, of course ) for the design of a new GP Practice in West London. The client contacted us after reading about our pitch, and we now look forward to working on a project where our ideas are so closely aligned. 

Dicky Lewis at the Architect Pitch for NHS Property Services

Our second pitch was to the British Library for an extension to the Library’s Members Lounge. We were by far the smallest practice pitching, had a limited portfolio of previously completed work and were yet to work with a public sector client. With the odds stacked against us we were determined to communicate our ability to undertake the project.

Fellow director Joe and I used to frequent the Library during our Part 3 exam years. For us, it became a place of great importance and we relished the idea of being able to contribute to the design of the building. In the presentation, we made sure to communicate the personal significance of the library and outlined our approach to the design, taking inspiration from the original features.

We ended up winning the pitch and the panel referenced our passion for the building and noted that even though we were the smallest practice, our enthusiasm gave them a sense of comfort that we would prioritise the job.

Persistence is definitely an attribute required in starting and growing a practice and is even more  important when pursuing international projects.

Along with fellow director Jesus Jiminez, we previously worked for a practice where the majority of their projects were in India. Determined to continue working on international projects we decided that regular trips to Mumbai were essential to present our practice and build relationships.

Continuous refinement of presentations has enabled us to secure a variety of international work. Currently our largest project is a new tower on the Western Expressway in Mumbai that will house a flagship retail store, four cinemas, office space and restaurant together with an adjoining residential tower.

Even if one has to present virtually, understanding the importance of how to pitch and present your ideas is vital in securing new exciting projects with interesting clients.

Archiboo was the real catalyst for this because it helped us to refine our presentation skills and appreciate the long-term value of presenting effectively to attract new clients.

For anyone thinking about participating in the next Architect Pitch, it’s an excellent opportunity to  find new business – and in the end it’s the taking part that counts.

Dicky Lewis is a founder and a director of White Red Architects

The next Architect Pitch will be on September 15th, 2020.