The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has launched an international contest to design a temporary maypole on the Strand in the heart of the capital
Open to architects, artists, designers and engineers, the Modern Maypole competition seeks proposals for a new pop-up landmark to form the centrepiece of next year’s festival and provide a contemporary focus for ‘expressions of communal identity and shared experience’.
The project – backed by The Northbank BID – follows the completion of a competition-winning events pavilion by IF_DO for this year’s LFA outside John Soane’s Grade II*-listed Dulwich Picture Gallery. YOU&ME Architecture has also been named winner of a separate LFA contest to transform a disused space beneath the Silvertown Flyover into a creative workspace this week.
LFA director Tamsie Thomson said: ‘The London Festival of Architecture is all about encouraging architects and the public to look at London in new and interesting ways, and exploring how we can make London a better place.
‘The Modern Maypole is a great opportunity to look afresh at a prominent London location while reinventing a lost London tradition. We have an excellent track record of organising successful design competitions – such as this year’s phenomenally successful Dulwich Pavilion – and I’m looking forward to seeing how participants in the Modern Maypole competition rise to our challenge.’
The Strand is a major 1.2km-long thoroughfare in central London connecting Temple Bar to Trafalgar Square. The area was home to many aristocrats from the 12th to 17th centuries and is now famous for its bars, restaurants, theatres and historic churches such as St Mary le Strand and St Clement Danes.
The largest maypole in London was erected on The Strand in 1660 to mark the restoration of the monarchy after the English Civil War. The tall wooden structure – which originated in paganism and Medieval culture – was a centrepiece of folk celebrations in the city before falling in a storm in 1672.
The competition aims to create a contemporary maypole on the site of the original landmark outside St Mary le Strand. The winning scheme, to be announced in December, will be constructed in time for next year’s festival.
Competition judges include Thomson, Julia Barfield, managing director of Marks Barfield Architects; Carole Boyd, who plays Lynda Snell in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers; Somerset House Trust director Jonathan Reekie; and Ruth Duston, chief executive of The Northbank BID.
The deadline for applications is 13 September.
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information