Historic route takes in industrial backlands and landmarks

Gibbons Rent in Southwark - alleyways between buildings were transformed into a community garden

Gibbons Rent - a hidden alleyway near London Bridge in Southwark which has been landscaped

An international design contest has been launched for a multi-disciplinary team to create a strategy for the Low Line in Southwark.

The Low Line is an emerging route tracing the path of Victorian railway viaducts through the historic Bankside, London Bridge and Bermondsey districts.

It leads visitors off the beaten track, celebrates the heritage of the railway arches and unlocks the potential of derelict and forgotten sites - as well as passing Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral.

The contest, run by the RIBA, Better Bankside and the Low Line Steering Group, invites multi-disciplinary teams of architects, landscape architects, ecologists, engineers, artists and other professions to develop a green and creative vision and strategy to underpin the future development of the Low Line.

The aim is to develop a unifying vision and strategy to inform the delivery of greening and biodiversity enhancements along and adjacent to the Low Line that can support social, environmental and economic well-being, and can be implemented organically over time as the Low Line route evolves.

The initial phase of the competition invites teams of architects, landscape architects, designers, ecologists and other design-related disciplines to submit designs anonymously, in digital format only. Five concept designs will then be shortlisted for further development.

Each shortlisted designer will receive an honorarium of £4,000 + VAT. The winning team will be invited to develop the vision in greater detail. The closing date for initial stage entries is September 2.

The evaluation panel includes Adam White, president of the Landscape Institute, Lisbet Rausing, founder of Lund Trust, and architect Graham Morrison, partner at Allies and Morrison as the RIBA advisor. Morrison, whose practice is based in and worked extensively in Bankside, said: “The rail viaducts are an integral part of the character of Bankside, London Bridge and Bermondsey. As industrial infrastructure, they had long been a barrier but they are now being rediscovered, and this competition offers an ideal opportunity to knit them into the fabric of our neighbourhood.”

For full details visit www.ribacompetitions.com/low_line

One of the existing crossings on Southwark Street

Southwark Street

Selection criteria

Phase 1: Evaluation criteria

Overall quality of the design concept, including response to the site, its ability to improve on the green character of the area and enhance the public realm: 50%.

Response to the brief, and project aspirations for increased biodiversity, social and economic benefits of reconnecting neighbourhoods: 35%

Clear communication of ideas to explain the ethos behind the proposals: 15%

Phase 2: Evaluation criteria

1) Response to feedback and refinement of proposal ideas following Phase 1 assessments: 30%

2 Viability of the proposals with clear balance of creativity versus pragmatism, to ensure that proposed concepts are commercially deliverable: 25%

3) Demonstration of understanding the project requirements, in particular the schemes ability to, reconnect neighbourhoods from Bankside in the west, through London Bridge to Bermondsey in the east, strengthen the green character and biodiversity of the area with high-quality placemaking: 25%

4) Submission of a competitive fee proposal (broken down per RIBA work stage) to deliver the quality and include the demonstration of a sufficient level of resourcing to deliver the quality and scope of design services required 20%.

Source: Ojeu