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Liverpool's Pathfinder six revealed

An impressive shortlist for one of Britain's most controversial architectural competitions has been unveiled.

The six-strong group will battle it out to design a mixed-use scheme for a Housing Market Renewal Initiative in Liverpool, one of the first of the government's highly contentious Pathfinder projects.

The shortlist for the Park Street Gateway site, also called New Heartlands, includes Danish firm 3XN, which is designing the replacement for the Fourth Grace proposals, and Studio Egret West, the Alsop off-shoot.

The other four are: local practice Union North, Gloucestershire-based Architype, Feilden Clegg Bradley and BDP's Liverpool office.

The Pathfinder initiative has courted significant controversy throughout the North of England for proposing widespread housing demolition as a way of forcing up sluggish house prices.

But local Pathfinder managing director Pauline Davis, said the competition proves the New Heartlands scheme will improve the area. 'The level of interest from architects across Europe shows just how exciting this opportunity is.

'Right across the Pathfinder we're looking to raise the standard of urban design and the judging panel for the Park Street Gateway will place a premium on quality in assessing the final entries,' she added.

Designs will be exhibited anonymously to the public from 13 February at the Liverpool 8 venue. A winner will be selected in late February.

by Ed Dorrell

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