The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at those who have recently decided to go it alone
Main People Satish Jassal, director
Based Camden, north London
Where have you come from?
Patel Taylor and Glenn Howells Architects. At both practices I worked on large-scale, residential-led masterplans, education, arts and commercial projects. At Patel Taylor I spent four years working on the Athletes Village for the London 2012 Olympic Games, helping to deliver 600 new homes from conception to completion.
What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for?
We are currently working on apartments, townhouses and one-off houses. We have also recently started looking at the performing arts theatre Theatro Technis in Camden, with a view to improving and expanding it. We have moved our office into the theatre to truly understand how the theatre operates both from a practical and creative point of view. All of our projects tend to be on difficult sites. This means that we need to put a great deal of thought into each project to ensure that we unlock the site’s potential.
What are the biggest challenges facing you?
To carve out a niche for ourselves. The architecture profession needs to demonstrate its true value, economically, socially and culturally. It needs to take a lead and show its true worth.
How did you win your first significant job?
A chance meeting with a part-time developer, who had a shop he wanted to convert into an apartment. Other architects had tried for him but had failed. We looked at it with a fresh approach and won him planning permission. Since then we have worked on four other projects for him. We like to build relationships of trust with clients.
What is your approach to winning new clients?
Most of our work comes from repeat work and recommendations. When we have a lead for a new job, we spend some time researching the site before we even meet the clients for the first time. This helps, particularly when they are purchasing new sites.
How are you marketing yourselves?
Our recent shortlisting for the RIBA 2015 awards with our house in Haringey has generated traffic to our website from around the world.
But it takes more than this to generate new work. We have found the best way to market our services is to go out and talk to people.