As part of the seven architecture firms, we were invited by Archiboo to pitch an idea that is problem-solving and entrepreneurial. We presented our U-Build system at the event alongside the other firms, Amos Goldreich Architecture, Gbolade Design Studio, Miller Howard Workshop, HTA Design, Turner.Works and Unknown Works. The evening was hosted at the HOK London offices who supported the pitch that was part of the London Festival of Architecture, 2019.
We presented the U-Build system as an option to fill a niche in the market for custom and self build housing, for those who want to get ‘hands on’ in the build process but lack the technical skills. Like all the other firms, we had 3 minutes to pitch our idea. While presenting the U-Build system to the audience, Nick demonstrated how it can be fully disassembled and reconfigured, or taken down at the end of use. See the short video here.
We shared with the audience how after a self-funded research and development programme, we now have a working product, a website, built examples, a feature on Grand Designs as well as a large order book of enquiries. We expressed that we would like the support of some experienced consultants to help us scale up our offering, and guidance on refining our message so our route to market is seamless.
We were highly impressed by the rest of the pitches presented at the event.
Amos Goldreich Architecture presented their idea of occupying empty spaces for use as sheltered accommodation for the homeless, coupled with a co-working space for young entrepreneurs, young creatives and start-ups. This would provide transfers of knowledge and skills between members of the co-working space and the homeless to help the latter to up-skill.
Globade Design Studio presented their MyPart3 App’ which is an iOS app designed to give architecture students high level information on how to ‘Run a Project’ and how to ‘Run a Practice’. Wanting to take the app to the next level they expressed their interest in creating the android version of the app and to partner with additional sponsors so the app can continue to remain free for students and architects.
HTA Design presented their housing solutions based on precision manufactured methods, for improved quality and speed of assembly, enabling future modifications and reconfigurations of layout throughout the lifespan of the occupants. They aim to collaboration with like-minded people working across diverse organisations and welcome the opportunity to expand this network.
Millar Howard Workshop presented Livedin which is a platform business model providing a marketplace for landowners to sell their land ‘retail’ – direct to the homeowner – rather than ‘wholesale’ through a middleman developer. They want architects to lead the way in inventing new business models, tools and construction systems.
Turner.Works have grappled with shipping containers, car parks, old agricultural buildings and empty space to identify opportunities and rethink spaces and places. They aim to put architects back at the heart of the regeneration process and we want to build on our disruptive work around meanwhile spaces that goes right to the core of development.
Unknown Works presented the Brightbox which is a prototype for an off grid interconnected classroom, clinic and community hub for communities without vital infrastructure. They wish to gain the funding in order to develop the project further and fund its roll-out internationally.
After a very tough time deciding who the winner is, the panel comprising Usman Haque, founder of Umbrellium, David Weatherhead, design principal with HOK’s London Studio, Savannah de Savray, founder of Built-ID, Nick Searl, a partner in Argent Related and Safia Qureshi, founder of CupClub, announced that they have chosen Tara from Gbolade Design Studio with her amazing work on the MyPart3 App.
We were very happy to hear that the app will develop further and remain free for the architecture students! Big congratulations to Tara and we are looking forward to hearing the news.
It was a wonderful evening overall, meeting many people and sharing ideas. We thank HOK London again for hosting the event and everyone who came along.