[FIRST LOOK] These are the five shortlisted schemes in the Architecture Foundation’s competition to design a series of kiosks for Meridian Square, Stratford – the gateway to the Olympic Park
The permanent structures will sit outside Stratford Station in east London ‘before, during and after’ the 2012 Olympic Games.
London-based practices Moxon Architects, 42 Architects, Bell Phillips Architects and Studio Octopi all made the shortlist, along with US firm Ginseng Chicken Architecture.
Each practice now receives £1,500 to develop its design to RIBA stage D. The winner, announced next month, will supervise the project through to RIBA stage L.
The competition organiser’s view
It is testament to the intense international interest in London’s Olympic plans that this competition attracted nearly 90 entries, from places as diverse as Chile, Finland and Nigeria. It’s interesting that, although our exhibited longlist retains a high level of international diversity, four out of the five shortlisted practices are not only British, but based in London. This result, revealed after anonymous judging, suggests that these architects benefited from close personal research of the site.
It’s a complex setting, and one that requires sensitivity to a range of users and neighbouring buildings, both existing and planned. Given the dominance of other sculptural elements in the immediate vicinity, the jury was looking for proposals that drew strength from elegant, calm utility, rather than spectacular objects.
Anonymity is essential to our open competition process, allowing projects’ strengths to shine through, without prejudice of authorship. That said, although the jury shortlisted schemes on their intrinsic merits, we will now seek to appoint a practice which inspires confidence at interview that its approach is both robust and suitably flexible.
The pragmatics of cost and delivery are necessarily going to come into focus, given that the client is working to a limited budget and a date that simply can’t be pushed back. However, the client values design quality and fresh thinking, and I feel confident that we will see these priorities carried through to the selection of the winner next month.
Sarah Ichioka is director of the Architecture Foundation
The competition longlist
42 Architects (UK)
AU Studio (UK)
Bell Phillips Architects (UK)
Don Orike Architects and
HD3 Architecture (UK)
EW Taller De Arquitectura (Chile)
Feix & Merlin (UK)
Ginseng Chicken (USA)
Ja Architecture Studio and
Moxon Architects (UK)
Studio Octopi (UK)
Tsuruta Architects (UK)
Which scheme should win?