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Winchester launches fresh search for station approach architect

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Winchester Council is holding an international search for an architect to redevelop land near Winchester station – nine months after councillors vetoed competition-winning proposals by Hopkins

The winner of the estimated £3 million contract will draw up plans for a new ‘commercially-viable mixed-use’ development featuring offices, car parking, residential, retail and new public realm on the Winchester City Council-owned Carfax and Cattlemarket plots.

The restricted EU procedure, being organised by RIBA Competitions, comes almost a year after councillors unexpectedly blocked a proposal by Hopkins, which had been identified as frontrunner in an earlier contest for the two sites. Unlike the previous abandoned contest – which led to urgent calls for ‘root and branch’ reform of procurement in the historic city – no design work will be required from shortlisted participants this time around.

According to the competition brief: ‘Winchester has a shortfall in modern Grade A commercial office premises which represents a constraint on its development of a competitive employment based economy. The council’s brief for this project starts from its view that this shortfall needs to be addressed for the long-term benefit of the city.

‘Winchester City Council own two sites within the station approach area, which they have identified as potential locations for development: the Carfax site and the Cattlemarket site. The council intends to commission a design team to work with the council as client, and with other stakeholders, to demonstrate how these sites can accommodate development.’

The Carfax and Cattlemarket plots are both located a short distance from Winchester Station at key gateways to the historic Hampshire city. The council is planning to deliver 13,000m² of commercial space, 5,300m² of residential, 465m² of small-scale retail and around 400 car parking places across the two sites.

Five shortlisted teams will be chosen following an initial selection questionnaire. Each will receive £3,000 to attend interviews – no design work will be required.

In July 2016 Winchester councillors decided not to appoint Hopkins Architects, which had been selected as ’preferred bidder in principle’ in the previous design contest for the station approach project. The surprise move followed concerns around potential overdevelopment of the key gateway sites, which required large numbers of parking spaces as part of the brief.

Hopkins and Design Engine emerged as frontrunners for the job in March 2015 after rivals Aedas RHWL, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Grimshaw withdrew amid concerns that the competition had been too restrictive, too expensive and the final project fee too low.

The judging panel for the relaunched search will include Roger Hawkins of Hawkins\Brown and Sarah Williams of SWilliams Architects, both acting as RIBA advisers.

Commenting on the announcement, Williams said: ‘I’m delighted to be advising on the RIBA Competitions-led process for this exciting city centre project in the heart of Winchester. The city cCouncil is determined to create a high-quality scheme within an improved public realm and I look forward to helping them achieve this.’

Earlier this month Winchester Council launched a separate search for an architect to deliver a £30 million leisure centre in Bar End. The winner of the £1.6 million design contract will draw up plans for a sport and leisure centre on an undeveloped site in the east of the city next to an existing stadium close to the M3.

In February JTP won a publicly tendered contract worth around £90,000 to remasterplan Winchester’s 2.3ha Silver Hill regeneration area. Councillors abandoned the long-running and contentious Silver Hill proposals for the area by Allies and Morrison after losing patience with the developer one year ago.

The deadline for applications is noon, 2 May.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Visit the competition website to register

Contact details

RIBA Competitions

No.1 Aire Street

Leeds

LS1 4PR

England

Email: riba.competitions@riba.org

 

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