Architectural knowledge is an asset for agents

"They're just property developers. They're  not brain surgeon; they`re not saving lives or anything"

"They should be open to discussion and debate with their agents and in their choice of architects", says David Rosen, partner at consultant Pilcher Hershman.

Rosen is talking about the importance of agents knowing about architecture. He is an hounary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a contributing editor at GQ and has run Pilcher Heshman for the last 25 years.

He says young people in property should increase their knowledge of architecture to influence developers and make buildings more desirable to tenants. And he says this would help young agents stand out, because clients are likely to welcome debate on this type of issue.

"Younger agents, when they meet with developers, should not be scared about saying: 'Have you heard of the architecture? They've done some interesting things.'

Don`t be afraid to have a conversation with the developer, because the likelihood is that the developer was a young agent once. They like it when they see a spark of originality."

Pilcher Hershman was established in 1932. Rosen took control of the business in 1985, when John Burns and Simon Silver left after buying developer Derwent Valley. After their departures, Rosen turned Pilcher Hershman into a creative commercial property consultant.

Grand Designs

Rosen says the firm will only choose to work on projects with developers that are open to introducing good architecture into their schemes.

"I like to be involved at the very earliest stage with the developper on which architect they should use," says Rosen.

There are three agency partners at the firm: Rosen, David Jackson and Simon Rinder. Senior partner Jackson has been at the company for 25 years and focuses on practical issues such as leases, and associate partner Rinder had been at the firm for 10 years. Investment partner David Berko has been at the company for 15 years.

Among Pilcher Hershman's clients are Colin Serlin's London Buildings, Derwent London and Manhattan Loft Corporation. The consultant predominantly works on offices, such as the 263,000 sq ft Angel Building at 407 St JOhn Street in Islington, North London, for Derwent London, which is scheduled for completion this summer. It is joint agent on the scheme with CB Richard Ellis and H2SO.

The firm also works on residential schemes. On 22 May, flats went on sale at Londonewcastle`s scheme the Henson Building - a former factory for the Muppets - near Camden Lock in north London. The scheme comprises 46 flats and Pilcher Hershman are joint agent on the scheme with Aston Chase.

Rosen says agents need to take an interest in architecture if they want to attract tenants in the creative sector, such as advertising and fashion. He says that the key concerns of these firms in London are an attractive building and being near an Underground station and they will move to fringe areas.

"It gives the marketplace the option of something other than the proverbial raised floor, lowered ceiling sealed box," says Rosen. "Agents should take more of a stand and have more of a voice, but they've got to know what they are talking about."

In a tough market, it could be the difference between getting a tenant and missing out.