Thursday, 9 July 2009

Grand Designs for London Bridge


An Ideas Competition run by the Company in conjunction with the RIBA Competitions Office - the report of the assessors is as follows:

In May this year a competition was launched to mark the 800th anniversary of the opening of the first London Bridge in 1209AD. Old London Bridge was an inhabited bridge and the competition set the challenge of asking today’s designers to imagine a new version of the inhabited bridge. The competition was organised by the RIBA Competitions Office on behalf of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects (WCCA) – A Livery Company of the City of London.

The competition received an exceptional response with a total of 73 entries received from architects and students of architecture from all over the world. Submissions came from the UK, Europe and as far afield as the USA, Argentina, China, Hong Kong and South Africa. Designs would be based on the present structure, which for the purpose of the competition is deemed to be strong enough to carry buildings on its deck. The Jury Panel met on Monday 6th July to assess the entries and make their selection. The submissions were anonymous, with entry allocated with a code by the RIBA.

The Jury Panel was as follows :
Richard Saxon CBE, Past Master, WCCA - competition chair Peter Murray, Architectural Journalist Colette O’Shea, Head of development management, Land Securities, Ian Head, Master, WCCA

Observers : Linda Roberts, RIBA Competitions Office, and David Cole-Adams, Clerk, WCCA

The judging panel studied each submission, in turn against the following criteria which had been identified in the competition brief :

- architectural quality
- inspiration and creativity
- functionality

- response to and understanding of brief

The judges looked at the submissions, as a group, in a number of rounds. As the judges became more familiar with the submissions they were able to compare and contrast between the entries and the different approaches competitors had taken.
The judges agreed that the standard of entries was high, they were pleased also to see such variety amongst the schemes. Clear presentation was greatly appreciated and helped them gain a quick understanding of the ideas proposed.

The competition had called for ‘ideas only’ and this therefore provided entrants with a real opportunity to think creatively. However the designs did need to be ground with realism, therefore a challenge to the judges was to select those schemes which seemed to strike the right balance between inspirational design and pragmatism.

Following careful deliberation the judges ultimately agreed upon three prize winning schemes, for the following reasons :

1st Prize, scheme 28 - Laurie Chetwood, Chetwoods London

A beautifully presented scheme, wildly imaginative yet very thoroughly considered, both in terms of its construction but also how it could sit within the wider context. The design refers to the surrounding buildings, using them as reference points and inspiration behind the form. It is also full of interesting ecological ideas and on all levels seems to work well. This was a unanimous first choice amongst the panel.

2nd Prize, scheme 6 - Lawrence Friesen (The Ditch Workshop), London

A well worked out scheme, the main idea being that of a second bridge built above, leaving the original bridge below for transport use. The scheme includes attractive floating gardens in the river. The judges thought this to be an interesting proposal that was very clearly presented.

3rd Prize, scheme 19 - Ryszard Rychlicki, 4th year student of Architecture & Town Planning at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan Poland

The basic concept is that of building an infrastructure into which modules can be inserted. The scheme makes good reference to the history of London Bridge by providing a cluster of buildings, and presenting a variety of facades.

The judges also identified the following schemes as interesting responses to the brief and worthy of being included in the London Bridge Festival exhibition.

Scheme 26 Jonathan Schwinge, Corinna Simon, Schwinge and Simon, London
An interesting scheme, the judges liked the idea of the raised transit.

Scheme 36 Peter Sebes, Marta Fritsch, Sheffield - This scheme was very strong in terms of its proposed uses.

Scheme 37
Abdel Saade/Keith Harbinson, WDR & RT Taggart, Belfast - Whilst the judges noted that the travellator might restrict vehicle access, this scheme had lots of merit and especially the judges liked the way it addressed the view corridor.

Scheme 42
Ruben Eduardo Gomes, Marcal Lica, Lisbon - A beautifully presented and well thought through scheme.

Scheme 51
Chris van Niekerk, The Fold Architecture, Cape Town - Whilst initially a difficult scheme to understand, the judges thought this was a really interesting scheme.

Scheme 67
Alessandro Columbano, London - The judges described this scheme as ‘extraordinary’.

Scheme 70
Rocker-Lange Architects, Hong Kong - A strong scheme which communicates very well.

The judges asked the RIBA to pass on their thanks and appreciation to all competitors and their contribution to what was an extremely interesting and enlightening assessment.

1 comment:

  1. It's a nice idea to build an inhabitad bridge in London. It would be great to see some more schemes! The exhibition was very short in time..