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Hadid triumphs over other Stirling-winning practices in LEGO competition

Zaha Hadid Architects has beaten Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Stanton Williams and Witherford Watson Mann in a LEGO completion held at the Royal Academy

The four most recent Stirling Prize-winning firms were pitted against each other in a competition to create designs for a future vision of London from LEGO.

Each practice worked with A-level art students and was given one hour and 45 minutes to create their designs, with a brief to be ‘as speculative and imaginative as possible’, taking in typologies such as housing, public spaces, offices and cultural facilities.

The judging panel included Patricia Brown, chair of the London Festival of Architecture, and artist Anne Desmet.

The competition took place as part of last month’s London Festival of Architecture. The teams were:

Witherford Watson Mann:
Philippa Battye, Fabiano Andina, Kamlesh Bava, Agata Podgajana

Stanton Williams
Stephen Hadley, Kalpesh Intwala, Kristof Keerman, Francesca Bergamini

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Andrew Partridge, Mike Fairbrass, Zoe Webber, Paul Dosanjh

Zaha Hadid Architects
Melodie Leung, Bidisha Sinha, Jorge Mendez-Caceres, Richard Wasenegger 

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Our design was to create a city with high, multi-level platforms which allowed everybody to create their individual environments. As we built the LEGO towers on their side, the whole team had some fun but scary moments carefully lifting them in unison through 90 degrees to create our vertical city - no glue was used!

LEGO model by team from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Photo: Agnese Sanvito

LEGO model by team from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Photo: Agnese Sanvito

Stanton Williams

We created a scheme for a dynamic city consisting of various elements: the landscape – rivers, hills, trees – and the buildings – represented as sculptural elements, some gridded, others more abstract – all linked by the movement and connectivity of people, vehicles and infrastructure. The interconnection of these elements and the spaces between buildings are just as important as the design of the buildings. A truly dynamic city, we believe, is one which is greater than the sum of its parts and not just a collection of isolated elements.

LEGO model by team from Stanton Williams. Photo: Agnese Sanvito

LEGO model by team from Stanton Williams. Photo: Agnese Sanvito


Witherford Watson Mann

We came into the competition without any fixed ideas or a scheme – only to work with what we found; interesting, energetic young people and lots of Lego! Working at the city scale we established key public spaces and routes within a master plan, and outlined different uses within the city blocks.

The scheme would be constantly assessed throughout the process between team members, a collaborative approach. As you built you would be in discussion with your neighbour in regards to form, function and location. This allowed many members of the public to participate, especially children. Everyone was able to contribute to the scheme and feel a part of this very inclusive process. The distinctive pyramidal forms were thought up by a young boy, which others adopted in their buildings; much like in London, where existing languages are interpreted and re-used.

LEGO model by team from Witherford Watson Mann. Photo: Agnese Sanvito

LEGO model by team from Witherford Watson Mann. Photo: Agnese Sanvito


Zaha Hadid Architects

Team ZHA’s intention was to explore the idea of a modern city making maximum use of the concept of ‘Live-Work’ which allows for the boundaries between downtown offices and residential neighbourhoods to be blurred and to reduce the actual physical commute required. The proposed location of our site was near the Docklands, which is seeing massive redevelopment and examining whether different typologies can co-exist to create a new rich urban fabric there. It also allowed us to examine the possibility of the river becoming much more integral to the new fabric as it would have been when London first established itself.  
 
The focus of the installation was not specific to any particular building form but working with the LEGO blocks allowed us to play with different configurations from orthogonal high-rises to softer curved structures, which were particularly challenging to assemble. The students were great in that respect as they were very quick in understanding our design ideas and building them with great dexterity. The toddlers surrounding us were also a great moral support as they made their own little inspired pieces to complement our installation.

LEGO model by team from Zaha Hadid Architects. Photo: Agnese Sanvito

LEGO model by team from Zaha Hadid Architects. Photo: Agnese Sanvito

 

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