Wednesday23 August 2017

Winners named in rival Paddington Pole competition

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JTP and AR Urbanism share first prize

Teams led by John Thompson & Partners and AR Urbanism have jointly won an unofficial design competition to find an alternative to Renzo Piano’s Paddington Pole.

The competition was organised by lobby group Create Streets to show the west London neighbourhood could be improved and densified without the need for a skyscraper.

The 72-storey Paddington Pole was withdrawn from planning in January by developer Sellar after a vocal campaign against it. A new planning application is expected to be lodged any time.

JTP, working with Civic Voice, and AR Urbanism, with landscape architect Greysmith Associates, were both awarded a “Streets Prize for great placemaking”. JTP’s team was praised for its community consultation, although a 20-storey tower that forms part of its proposal split the jury.

A joint entry by HLM and Spark Architects won the “Innovation Award” for individual ideas that went beyond the brief including urban farming and the inclusion of a primary school.

The judges also awarded a “Flourish Award” to Architettori for its work on the facades above Praed Street. More Design was commended for the urban form of its entry.

Nicholas Boys Smith, director of Create Streets, said the quality of the entries presented the judges with “an embarrassment of riches”.

The competition was not run to criticise those involved in the Sellar proposal, he said, but to demonstrate what could be done.

“Paddington can develop in a way which is beautiful, popular and locally supported if developers have the vision to propose it and Westminster council the intelligence to support it,” he said. “We have to change the question from how do we build more homes to how do we make new homes more popular.”

Amanda Reynolds, director of AR Urbanism, said she was thrilled to win.

“Putting place-making at the heart of the design process will promote successful high-density regeneration in city communities,” she said. “Good urban design results from active involvement of these communities in the design process. We look forward to seeing this vision become a reality.”

Charles Campion from JTP also stressed the importance of engaging local people.

He said: “The community in Paddington have demonstrated that they are supportive of the comprehensive, mixed-use regeneration of this important area – but they want to see the site planned in an historically sensitive manner and at an appropriate scale to create an attractive, vibrant new heart for Paddington.”

Sarah James, Civic Voice’s head of policy, said the best developers realise people want well-designed paces.

“What we need in England is positive planning and I call on all involved in placemaking to learn the lessons from the Paddington Pole project,” she added.

“We need a step change in the amount of development over the next 15 years, particularly housing, but we will only achieve that if we get communities to support it by putting people at the heart of the planning process.”



Readers' comments (11)

  • Beavis

    not a fan of the pole, but this competition is such a pointless exercise

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  • Austin Clegg

    It is very good to see these alternatives to the inane tower craze.
    I fear that the spivs will try to revive Piano's Todger before long.
    These alternatives are based on some serious thought about streets and places, something the spivs can ignore when they shove yet another tower up and must be prevented from doing.

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  • This contest is as irrelevant as my design to replace my neighbour's house.

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  • B_R_A_S_S_M_A_N

    @Steve if your design is imaginative as your moniker or previous commentary supporting the Walkie Talkie then I imagine it would be irrelevant. Glad to see competitions like this taking place to foster intelligent dialogue for the future of projects with major impact to the development London.

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    I am not a fan of this kind of regressive, fear-of-modernity kind of archtitecture. But setting that to one side, the only way an alternative scheme, in any style, will get any traction if it comes with a spreadsheet demonstrating a return on the investment that's as good as, or better than, the pole.

    Better still, why not just do nothing at Paddington? Hasn't there been enough over-development around the Basin? Isn't it time to stop? Or is it just impossible to get the pigs' snouts out of the trough?

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  • Thanks to all concerned for taking the time to show a tangible vision that is not centred on buildings completely out of scale and socially destructive.

    Perhaps all the carpers moaning about relevance should reflect about how people can understand what an alternative vision might actually look like.

    I think these sort of responses should be applauded; they give a great basis for discussion about how a site might be utilised – how can that be a bad thing?

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  • Entering an architectural competition is a lottery, and this one is no different. Having entered a number of no hope competitions (Grand Buildings and the Peak), this at least offered an opportunity to show a counter argument to the nonsense that threatened Paddington. However the winners look as though they have provided a viable alternative and have clearly put in a lot of effort. Along with other Createstreets assisted initiatives (eg Mount Pleasant) there is a chance that something may ultimately become of this guerilla activity.

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    "there is a chance that something may ultimately become of this guerilla activity" - I'm sure the Farq guerillas in Columbia often say the same thing.

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  • No-one was suggesting that this competition was 'real' and that the winner would be built, so it is a perfectly valid way of exploring alternatives to the daft pole. Some of the proposals are good enough, surely, for Westminster to examine its current policies in order to find a basis for improving the station links without destroying the skyline and townscape. The new mayor might have something to say about these proposals too.

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  • The Castro brothers may have something to say about the ultimate successes of guerilla activity!

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