Building Design invites you to imagine a visionary future for the place that never stands still

Stratford in east London is a place synonymous with change, a poster child for regeneration. And more transformation is on its way.

That is why we have chosen it as the focus for our new Building [Re]Design challenge which invites architects to propose visionary ideas for shaping its future. Read on for how to enter.

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In the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, Stratford was described as the capital’s emerging centre of gravity as it challenged the complacence of the historic hubs of the West End and the City. In recognition of its growing influence, the new London Plan designated it as a town centre of international significance, the first in east London with that status.

Over the next two years several hotly anticipated pieces of the Olympic legacy will open at East Bank, further cementing London’s shift to the east. The £1.1bn cultural quarter will be home to V&A East, Sadlers Wells, UCL, the BBC and the London College of Fashion, in buildings designed by some of the most respected names in architecture, including O’Donnell & Tuomey and Diller Scofidio & Renfro.

The proposed East Bank section of Stratford Waterfront, masterplanned by Allies & Morrison

Much change is underway at Stratford Waterfront and the Olympic Park, masterplanned by Allies & Morrison. The challenge seeks ideas for how to share the benefits with the wider community

At the same time Newham council has embarked on a major masterplanning process with Hawkins Brown to guide the development of the town centre over the next 15 years, ensuring it is not left behind by its glitzy Olympic neighbours. There is a lot of work to be done. There remain high levels of multiple deprivation in the town centre and 21% of households are classed as overcrowded.

Stratford is a place where some of the urgent questions of the day come into sharp focus. What should our towns and cities look like post-pandemic? How do we build back better? How do we create a vibrant future for our high streets when they are facing unprecedented change? How do we design inclusive, resilient and biodiverse places that foster community spirit and embed social value?

To investigate some of these issues, Building Design is launching a competition using Stratford as a live case study and we’re particularly encouraging early career architects and part I and II students to enter.

Our aim is to showcase your creativity, connect visionary thinkers and kick-start some important conversations.

The brief: Simply identify an issue in Stratford town centre that you find compelling and use your design creativity to imagine a better future. Submit your ideas in one sketch and 500 words and we’ll showcase the best on Building Design’s website, our other digital channels and at an event later in the year.

Stratford_town centre_shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

The challenge seeks ideas for how Stratford town centre can be a place where everyone can flourish

The entries will go before our panel of influential judges who will pick a shortlist. The finalists will be invited to an event in September and will also be celebrated at the Architect of the Year Awards on October 14.

To be clear, we’re not asking you to create a detailed masterplan for Stratford – purely to identify and tackle one challenge found in Stratford that has resonance for other town centres. The Stratford Design Challenge is intended to be fun, albeit with a serious purpose.

To complement the challenge, we will be publishing a series of thought-leadership articles addressing some of the challenges and opportunities facing our town centres.

Entry requirements: The challenge is open to all architects, but we are particularly encouraging entries from architects who are in the early stages of their careers and architecture students. Solo, practice and inter-disciplinary entries are welcomed, as long as the submission is led by an Arb-registered architect or an architecture student.

The closing date is July 23.

To submit your entry click here.