Knowsley Council in Merseyside is holding an open international design contest for a £495,000 overhaul of the historic market place in Prescot near Liverpool
Open to all registered architects, the RIBA-organised anonymous two-stage competition seeks ‘attractive and user-friendly’ proposals to transform a historic 800m2 plaza, which has been at the centre of the Merseyside town’s economic and social life for almost 700 years.
The project, backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is part of the Prescot Townscape Initiative, which aims to revitalise the town ahead of the opening of its £19 million Shakespeare North Playhouse, designed by Helm Architecture and Austin-Smith: Lord.
The competition brief says that the council is ‘seeking design concepts from architect–led teams worldwide to redesign the currently unused public open space at Prescot Market Place in Knowsley, Merseyside.
‘It is hoped that the winning design will create a vibrant special space in the town centre which will complement other amazing developments in the town including the new Shakespeare North Playhouse and a planned cinema making Prescot an even more attractive place for its visitors, residents and businesses.’
Prescot is a small town outside Liverpool which became a major centre of coal mining, pottery and watch manufacturing during the 19th century. It was also the home of the first purpose built Elizabethan theatre outside of London, and the childhood home of James Bond actor Daniel Craig.
Prescot’s historic market place is situated within the Prescot Town Centre Conservation Area next to the Grade I-listed Prescot Parish Church, Grade II-listed Prescot War Memorial and the Cables Retail Park and indoor Prescot Shopping Centre. The paved 800m2 plaza is sparingly used and currently features an abandoned 1960s public toilet block which could be incorporated into any scheme.
Proposals should integrate the prominent space into the town’s social and economic activities and promote year-round, night and day use by residents. The competition also encourages schemes that create a landmark element of green infrastructure and respond to the local area’s history and character.
Judges will include RIBA architect adviser Euan Macdonald of Hawkins\Brown, Prescot Townscape Initiative officer Owen Barton and local ward councillor David Williams.
First-round applications must include two A3 landscape boards featuring a site plan, vista and night and day views, along with a 500-word project description and a publicity image. Five shortlisted teams will receive £4,000 each to participate in the competition’s second phase, during which concept designs will be further developed.
An overall winner of the commission will be announced in August.
The deadline for applications is 2pm on 8 June.
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information
No 1 Aire Street
Tel: 0113 203 1490