The office is dead. Long live the office!

Monday 21st June, 2021 | 17:30-20.30

242 Marylebone Road

Creative real estate developer General Projects is looking for architects to redefine the next generation of workplace design.

Using its latest central London scheme, the former Woolworths headquarters at 242 Marylebone Road as the template, a panel which includes General Projects and lead architects AHMM, will select seven architects to pitch their ideas.They will have three minutes to give a synopsis of their ideas with the challenge to convince the panel that their’s is the most creative response to the renaissance of the workplace post-Covid.

The pitch presentation should:

  • Reflect the principles of General Projects and its ambitions for 242 Marylebone Road
  • Convince the panel you have the vision to reinvent the workplace
  • Show a maximum of five slides relating to the project

The panel will select a winner and runners-up to work with General Projects turning their concepts into detailed proposals. These will include visualisations and experiential walkthroughs.

The winning designs will be presented to future occupiers with the opportunity for the winning architects to realise their plans as part of the Cat B fit-out of 242 Marylebone Road, as well as the potential to collaborate with General Projects on future schemes.

The brief

While the end of the office has been largely overemphasised, physical spaces will no longer serve the same purpose. This is an opportunity to take bold decisions and rethink how the new workplace can be a genuinely multi-sensory experience to support employees’ physical and mental wellbeing.

Originally commissioned by Woolworths in 1955 and designed by legendary architect Richard Seifert, 242 Marylebone Road has always been a statement building. Now, reimagined by General Projects and AHMM, this building’s legacy will live on as a beacon of radical design, promoting sustainability and wellbeing in the workplace.

The location’s renaissance will be built on five guiding principles: future thinking; pastoral meets sensorial; restoration & rehabilitation; natural & advanced technologies and sustainable & beautiful materials.

Participants will be expected:

  • To design a new ecosystem for office space within 242 Marylebone Road
  • To consider how the push towards net-zero will influence the design
  • To assess how the office is changing to reflect hybrid working
  • To show an understanding of multi-sensory design principles

Key trends to consider:

  • There are clear downsides to working from home (WFH). Workers feel disconnected from corporate culture, personal wellbeing has suffered, and employees feel they have had fewer opportunities to learn, primarily through informal mentoring, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Workplace Ecosystems of the Future report.
  • The office will become a destination that provides experience, connection and choice – with insta-worthy cafés, curated meet-ups that instil a sense of community and belonging, biophilic office design that boosts wellbeing, agile working strategies that encourage mobility and technology that streamlines workflows, according to Knight Frank’s 2021 Workplace Predictions,
  • Transformation towards collaborative design will accelerate. As the role of the office evolves to favour teamwork over individual work, design will likely follow suit – 70% of CBRE’s client database are planning to operate in a significantly “free address” environment to support a more mobile workforce.

Supporting documents

To apply for the Architect Pitch please complete the form below by 7pm on May 13th.Tickets to be part of the live audience can be purchased via Ticket Tailor




Clockwise from top-left.

Ben Cross is a qualified architect and leads the redevelopment of 242 Marylebone Road. He has over a decade of experience as both client and consultant, working with and for some of the UK’s leading architectural practices. Deeply passionate about design and delivering meaningful change, he is responsible for championing sustainability and social impact across all his projects at General Projects.

Amy Frearson is a London-based journalist and editor specialising in architecture and design. She is editor-at-large for Dezeen and a regular contributor to design magazines. She is also co-author of All Together Now, a new book on the co-living and co-working revolution published by RIBA. Before moving into journalism, Amy worked in architectural practice for five years.

Linda Donato is an Italian architect, based in London since 2011. She joined AHMM in 2012 after working for award-winning architectural practices in London and Amsterdam and was made an Associate in 2021. Linda is currently project architect for 242 Marylebone Road. Her professional experience ranges from the residential to the office and retail sector.

Francesca Brady is CEO of AirRated, the global benchmark for indoor air quality. AirRated has certified 2.5M sq.ft. of real estate in the UK and Europe in the past 12 months, with another 3M sq.ft. in progress. Francesca was recently honoured in the Forbes 30 under 30 list in Manufacturing and Industry.

Jacob Sandelson is a Principal at General Projects which he joined in 2017. He has worked for Westbourne Capital in land acquisitions and has been a consultant for Galliard Homes with a focus on Central London markets.