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Competition: London Works, Woolwich

Nathan Way, Woolwich
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A student ideas contest has been launched to reinvent underused industrial land in Woolwich, south-east London

The competition, backed by Peabody Housing Association, is open to all students and 2017 graduates of architecture and related disciplines. It aims to identify ‘future-proof’ models for productive sites within the UK capital which are often poorly integrated into the surrounding city and increasingly threatened by residential redevelopment.

The contest seeks ambitious visions to transform the Nathan Way industrial estate into a ‘livelier urban quarter’ which addresses ‘future urban challenges’. 

‘London’s industrial land is vanishing at an accelerating rate—even though demand for work space is rising,’ says the competiton brief. ‘How can we stop the housing crisis being followed by a workspace crisis? London Works is a student competition to design a future-proof model for industrial uses, in a real place and with a real client.

‘The challenge is to develop a vision for productive quarters not as mere utilitarian appendices, but as integrated parts of new and existing London neighbourhoods. How can work space be part of new use mixes at increased densities? How can work space be part of what it takes to create a sustainable community? How can work space positively contribute to a sense of place within the wider neighbourhood?’

Nathan Way, around 2.3km south-east of Woolwich town centre, is a light industrial street featuring various storage, distribution, and food production businesses, alongside a community centre, church and nursery.

The area is bordered to the north by Belmarsh Prison and to the south by the Ridgeway – a raised walkway on top of London’s Southern Outfall Sewer.

Other nearby landmarks include the Brutalist new town of Thamesmead, which is undergoing a £1.5 billion transformation backed by Peabody. The project’s first phase, designed by Proctor & Matthews and Mecanoo, won planning in October.

The competition is organised by urban designer Mark Lemanski who works at muf architecture/art and leads an MA unit at the University of East London.

Teams may feature up to three members with interdisciplinary collaboration encouraged. A full brief, detailing three individual contest sites within Nathan Way, will be published on 26 June.

A nine-strong judging panel will be chaired by Guardian architecture critic Oliver Wainwright, and will feature representatives from Peabody, the Greater London Authority, and Greenwich Council.

There will be a top prize of £1,000, a second prize of £750 and third prize of £500.

The deadline for submissions is 5pm, 7 August.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

Email: info@londonworks2017.info


London Works contest programme

Monday 26.06.2017 – 3pm

Site visit followed by Introductory Talks

Meet in front of the Plumstead Radical Club opposite Plumstead station. Introductory talks in the Peabody site office on Nathan Way.

Learn about the history of Thamesmead, Peabody’s plans for its future, about The Ridgeway and Nathan Way

1. Introduction to the competition: Mark Lemanski

2. Lucy Webb (Peabody Senior Regeneration Manager) — Thamesmead New Town, and Peabody’s plans

3. Desiree Shepherd (Peabody Public Realm and Landscape Manager) — The site’s wider setting including the Ridgeway

4. Nick Wigner (Peabody Head of Strategy & investment) — Nathan Way

Tuesday 27.06.2017 3pm

Seminar 1: The Lay Of The Land

Future Cities Catapult, The Urban Innovation Centre, One Sekforde St, London EC1R 0BE

Talks on industrial land from policy, academic research and business perspectives. Followed by discussion.

1. Dr Jane Clossick (CASS Cities) — Jane is a lecturer in Urban Design and course leader of London Met’s Spatial Planning and Urban Design MA. She will talk about the wider challenges facing industrial space provision in London.

2. Steven Lang (Savills, Director of Research) — Steve will talk about the current state of the market for industrial land in London.

3. Rima/Rima&McRae — Rima’s business has recently re-located from Bermondsey to Nathan Way. She will share first hand experience of industrial gentrification, bartering in industrial areas, and life in Nathan Way.

4. Alex Marsh/GLA — Alex is a design officer at the Greater London Authority, he will present the GLA’s Park Royal Atlas and their Industry Intensification Primer.

5. Steve Payne/Segro — Steve is a leasing manager and will outline the findings of Segro commissioned ‘Keep London Working’ study, and what it means for Segro as one of Europe’s biggest providers of industrial space.

6. Oliver Goodhall/We Made That — Oliver is co-founder of We Made That, and will present his his interest for industrial spaces, Plumstead analysis, and Industrial Land Supply study.


28.06.2017 6pm

Seminar 2: The Future Of The Land

UCL, Malet Place Engineering Building, Malet Place, London WC1E 7

Presentations of innovative proposals for productive spaces from students and practitioners. Followed by discussion.

1. Pamela Snow and Joe Williams (Cass Cities) — Pamela and Jo will present Architecture of Economic Affairs, which sets out principles for an economically, spatially and socially sustainable urbanism based on a careful analysis of Old Kent Road.

2. Christian Spencer-Davies (Camley Street Community Land Trust) — Another way for Camley Street Industrial Estate. Christian will talk about the coming together of residents and business owners of the Camley Street Area to challenge further expansion of the Kings Cross development through a radical and exiting mixed-use vision of an integrated city.

3. Urška Škerl (University of East London MA) — Urska will present a speculative proposal on multi-use densification at Park Royal Industrial Estate.

4. Abigail Batchelor (Karakusevic Carson Architects) — Abigail will present practice work incorporating industrial and residential uses, for the Camley Street CLT, and in Enfield, and talk about the challenges and opportunities of juxtaposing two seemingly contrary uses.

5. Elisa Sanchez Del Rio, Laura Heinritz, Safeer Shersad and Yarden Woolf (UCL) — A detailed look at industrial uses in Barking under threat of residential redevelopment forms the basis for site-specific alternative proposals and policy recommendations.

6. Joanna Penso + Michael Cubey (Bow Arts Trust) — Jo and Michael will preview their multi-use revival of Lakeside Centre Thamesmead, and present a model for cross-subsidising social enterprise through affordable artist work spaces to create an unusual multi-use development in the docks.


11.08.2017 1:30pm, public from 3pm


Carlsberg Tetley Building, North Woolwich Road, London E16 2AB

1:30pm jury members to view proposals.

3pm: public presentation and debate.

4pm: winner announced by Olly. Drinks.

Chair: Oliver Wainwright

Mary Adetayo (architecture student University of East London)

Dr Philip Askew (Peabody)

Mark Brearley (Kaymet and Cass Cities)

Jessica Ferm (UCL and Just Space)

Liza Fior (muf architecture/art)

Tim Rettler (Greater London Authority)

Lisa Taylor (Future of London)

Cllr Danny Thorpe (RB Greenwich)


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