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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wellesley Road, London, United Kingdom

Croydon Council launch design competition seeing Will Alsop's vision take a step closer to realisation
A major international design competition launched by Croydon Council promises to realise Will Alsop’s ambitious plans for Croydon. The competition marks a significant milestone for the implementation of Will Alsop’s Third City Vision, presented in November 2007, after a series of consultations with the local community.

The competition invites architects to respond to a key component of Alsop’s Vision – the re-development of Wellesley Road, a heavily trafficked dual carriageway which at present cuts through the heart of central Croydon making east/west access movement difficult and uncomfortable. Architects are asked to propose how they would inhabit the significant real estate that will become available along both sides of the one-kilometre long Wellesley Road when the road dramatically decreases in size from eight lanes in some places to a possible two.

The competition brief envisages that a mix of building types and forms, parks, meadows, squares and other aspects of public realm could exist to the east and west of the downsized road. Diversity is a key word - Will Alsop talks of a series of external 'living rooms', the furniture being relatively small-scale buildings sitting against the backdrop of the existing skyscrapers.

Alsop’s role in the implementation is to monitor the process and act as consultants to Croydon Council. Will Alsop sits on the competition judging panel along with representatives from London Borough of Croydon, CABE, Design For London, Transport for London and London School of Economics.

Will Alsop said of the competition: “This is a very exciting competition which is extremely important because it will be at the root of the regeneration of Croydon City Centre”

The competition is open to practices of all sizes; Croydon Council is keen to engage with a range of creative architectural practices. The competition asks for financial stability (rather than a financial track record as such) to extend eligibility to young and innovative practices.

The deadline for Stage 1 submissions is 1 December 2008 and the Stage 2 brief will be presented to shortlisted practices 15-16 January 2009. The winning designs will be announced end of May 2009.
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