The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has announced a design contest for a float representing LGBT+ architects at the London and Manchester Pride festivals
The competition – now in its second year – is open to students, recent graduates, emerging architects and representatives from established firms. It seeks innovative proposals for a float in the annual festival and parade held every summer in the capital and in Manchester.
The project, supported by campaign group Architecture LGBT+ and contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, aims to represent LGBT+ architects and celebrate diversity in the construction sector. The winning team will receive £10,000 to design and deliver the structure in time for the London pride event on 6 July and Manchester Pride on 24 August. Judges include AJ architecture editor Rob Wilson.
LFA director Tamsie Thomson said: ‘I’m very happy to see the Architectural Pride float making a return for 2019. The London Festival of Architecture is committed to celebrating diversity and tackling discrimination within the built environment professions, and this project is a great way to do so while giving creative opportunities to architects and designers.
‘The Architectural Pride float demonstrates our determination to overcome boundaries facing our profession, and I’m delighted that we’ll be taking that message to the streets of London once again in 2019.’
Tom Guy, partner at Guy Piper Architects and founder of Architecture LGBT+, said: ‘We are excited to be collaborating with the RIBA and LFA for … the return of the float competition for the parade this year.
‘The competition is a fantastic opportunity for architecture practices to really show their commitment to diversity and showcase their creativity. As our network grows around the UK we also plan to take the float to Manchester Pride.’
Founded in 1972, the annual Pride parade and festival is the largest gay event in the UK and the seventh largest in the world, attracting around 1 million people. The event features a large performance area in Trafalgar Square, with a procession of floats and walking groups.
Hawkins\Brown won LFA’s inaugural contest for a float representing LGBT+ architects at last year’s London Pride. The winning team, supported by engineer Price & Myers, was selected ahead of eight rival bids by Ashton Architecture, Back Braun, Feix & Merlin Architects, Linthwaite Hardwick, Some People, Studio Yu with tomos.design, tp bennett, and Weston Williamson + Partners.
The winning scheme – dubbed ‘A Space for All’ – featured a simple pitched roof structure created from brightly painted scaffold poles with graphical displays and transparent screens, which was animated by architects during the parade.
This year’s winning scheme will be installed on the back of a flatbed truck supplied by Sir Robert McAlpine. Proposals should be easy to demount, transport and reconstruct at each event. Anonymous applications should include a 3D visualisation and construction detail.
Judges include Wilson; Thomson; Guy; BBC broadcaster Evan Davis; Anne Cosentino – equality, diversity and inclusion manager at RIBA; Hawkins\Brown architect Sarah Habershon; and a representative of Sir Robert McAlpine.
The deadline for applications is midday, 10 June.
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information
Tom Guy, founder of Architecture LGBT+
Why are your holding a second contest for an LFA pride float?
The idea for the pride float competition came as a natural development from running the pre-Pride Breakfast at the RIBA which we started in 2016 as a collaboration between Architecture LGBT+, LFA and RIBA. Last year we hosted a Pride Breakfast in Manchester for the first time – our move to take the float to Manchester Pride is a continuation of our work to strengthen connections throughout the country and build on our existing Architecture LGBT+ network.
What is your vision for this year’s Pride float?
Architecture LGBT+ is supported by very generous sponsorship from a group of Architecture practices around the UK. For the Float competition this year our platinum sponsor Foster and Partners have donated enough for us to take the float to Manchester as previously described. With this in mind the construction needs to be ‘Flat packed’ and easily transportable for travel between London and Manchester. Sir Robert McAlpine are delivering the build and the truck for the winning design. We are looking for something that can represent Architecture AND the LGBT+ community – floats can often be quite bland so creativity is key to creating something inspiring. The LFA theme for 2019 is Boundaries and we are interested to see how that is incorporated in to float designs.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
We are hoping that a wide range of architects and designers will take the leap and apply for a chance to design the pride float this year, sending a clear message of inclusivity to their staff, clients and peers. The Architecture LGBT+ committee had a long discussion around the format of the competition and settled on an anonymous entry process to ensure the winning entry is based purely on the quality of the submission regardless of practice size, popularity etc.
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
At the moment we don’t have any plans for additional design competitions but would be open to any potential collaborations with organisations that might want to commission a competition with us as LFA have.
Are there any other recent moving installation projects you have been impressed by?
A stand out project for me is IF_DO’s winning LFA Dulwich Pavilion from 2017, which was made in a way that it could be dismantled and is now about to be rebuilt at a School. Winning the LFA competition gave IF_DO a huge publicity boost, something which winning the float competition can also do.