Croydon Council has joined forces with the AJ to launch Croydon iStreet, a free-to-enter contest to design an interactive streetscape of the future
Closing today (Friday 26 May), the competition seeks innovative technology-led proposals to transform the public realm within the major south London town centre which is tipped for £5.25 billion-worth of regeneration funding.
Proposals for the commission – which has a £2 million guide budget – should enhance the area’s challenging post-war streetscape, upgrade pedestrian movement and wayfinding, and simultaneously provide visitors with information about upcoming local events.
Councillor Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning and the council’s deputy leader, said: ‘Croydon is undergoing significant change in the next few years as development and regeneration activity intensifies.
‘We are really excited to commission this competition to help people navigate around the constantly changing streetscape, which we hope will lead to a practical, beautiful and original product that embraces innovative technology and can then be implemented in Croydon and beyond.’
The contest forms part of the borough’s £350 million Growth Zone programme, which is being delivered with the Mayor of London and is made up of 39 key projects, including transport, schools and community infrastructure, regeneration and public realm improvements, and support for small businesses.
Rebuilt following the Second World War and renowned for its Modernist concrete highways, towering offices and multistorey car parks is now once again reinventing itself.
Source: RIBA Library and Photographs Collection
Ten years after Will Alsop first revealed his vision to transform Croydon into London’s ‘third city’ after Westminster and the Square Mile, the council has harnessed a raft of architectural talent in a series of mini-masterplans and public realm initiatives intended to unleash the area’s potential.
Creating a new starting point after the upheaval of the 2011 London riots – leading practices working directly for the council on these commissions include Studio Egret West, Make, Allies and Morrison, East and at the smaller scale Studio Weave, Jan Kattien Architect, Assemble and OKRA.
Pitman Tozer, Mikhail Riches, Stitch, Mae, vPPR, Coffey Architects and HTA have meanwhile also been hired by the local authority’s private development company Brick by Brick to deliver hundreds of new homes on council-owned sites across Croydon.
Major developments currently under way include the £500 million Ruskin Square regeneration by AHMM with ShedKM, a new £1.4 billion Westfield shopping centre by Allies and Morrison, and a new cultural quarter by Rick Mather Architects.
Recently completed projects include a new £3 million ‘Box Park’ food court by BDP next to East Croydon Station, a new £4.5 million bus station by TfL’s in-house architects and Rolfe Judd’s 43-storey Saffron Square skyscraper nearby.
Croydon route map
The latest competition focuses on a key pedestrian route leading from West Croydon station to the 1962 Fairfield Halls and taking in North End, George Street and Park Lane.
Landmarks along the route include the Centrale and Whitgift Shopping Centre, the Grade I-listed Whitgift Almshouses, Nestlé’s abandoned Ronald Ward-designed former headquarters and the Art Deco Grade II-listed Segas House.
Proposals should be workable, cost-effective and promote physical interaction with the chosen streets. Submissions must include a 700-word description and a single A3-sized image. Finalists will be asked to developer their concepts further.
Collaborations between teams of architects, graphic designers, lighting experts, wayfinding experts, technology and software companies, urban planners, product manufacturers, street furniture designers, acousticians, accessibility experts and artists are encouraged.
Competition judges include AHMM director Paul Monaghan, BBC journalist Razia Iqbal, Croydon chief executive Jo Negrini; the deputy leader of Croydon Council and the borough’s cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning, Alison Butler; Dan Hill, global digital studio leader at Arup; Sarah Luxford, director at Nexec Leaders; and AJ news editor Richard Waite.
Shortlisted teams will receive £2,000 each to participate in the competition’s second stage and the winning project will have the opportunity to be developed into a fully functional scheme rolled out across Croydon.
The deadline for applications is Friday, 26 May.
How to apply
Tel: +44 (0) 203 033 2986