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Local practices dominate Leeds' 36 The Calls shortlist


A trio of local architects have been named among the finalists in the open international contest to design a new landmark waterside building in Leeds (AJ 29.10.09)

Entries from the Leeds offices of practices Aedas, P+HS and Cartwright Pickard Architects are shortlisted in the 36 The Calls design competition, alongside new practice Fletcher Crane Architects, Nottingham’s Letts Wheeler Architects and Portuguese collective Project O. A special mention also went to Garnett Netherwood Architects.

Entrants were asked to draw up proposals for the ‘best new, sustainable commercial building in Leeds’ on a car-park plot on the north bank of the River Aire, in the Yorkshire city’s historic Calls district.

Backed by developer Citu in partnership with the AJ, the contest, in which entrants remained anonymous to judges, attracted 95 submissions, including 20 from overseas.

Citu’s managing director Chris Thompson said: ‘We are hoping to raise the bar for Leeds, and all the finalists, although presenting quite different interpretations, have fulfilled the brief for a landmark, sustainable, iconic building. It was genuinely very difficult to get down to the shortlist – an incredible amount of thought had gone into all the entries.’

Among the judges were Paul Finch, Leeds’ civic architect John Thorp, interior designer Paul Logan, investor/landowner Charles Nickerson and Jonathan Morgan of Morgans City Living.

Final interviews will be conducted in the second week in March.

Once a winner is selected, Citu hopes to submit for planning later this year and start on site in 2011.



Readers' comments (18)

  • local architects, that's good news but can we see the shortlisted submissions please?

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  • EDITOR'S NOTE: The AJ will be revealing all six shortlisted designs later this Spring. To re-iterate, the competition was judged entirely anonymously.

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  • Interesting - a supposed open competition with 95 total entries, 20 of which were from overseas, yet three of the shortlist of four are locals? Note also that four of the five judges appear to be local, and we have no images by which to judge for ourselves? Do the words 'inside job' seem pertinent to anyone else?

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  • Wonderful result. Despite some of the comments posted so far, there is no doubt in my mind that this was a fairly run and well organised competition. I would not suggest for a moment that the shortlist for this anonymous competition has been drawn up based upon membership of the local golf club. I look forward to seeing the products of the no doubt very talented locals in a future issue of the AJ. Well done all!

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  • A well organised competition? The jury members weren't announced until over a month after the submission deadline and still nothing has been announced by the organisers to participants who have spent long hours working up designs.

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  • 'The judging process was very enjoyable and entirely anonymous. I wasn’t entirely surprised that local firms featured prominently - the competition site is quite tricky and local knowledge obviously helped. It was encouraging that the developers should take this much trouble over a relatively small scheme; they deserve plaudits, not brickbats.'<br/>Paul Finch<br/>

  • with a £35 entry fee and 95 entries that £3325 for a good drink at the local golf club!

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  • I have to say this shortlist is slightly fishy at best. What is the probability that out of the 6 shortlisted firms 50% are local? This would only really make sense if 50% of the applicants were local and I highly doubt this was the case...Good luck to all and lets see some images please! Any bets on Aedas taking this?? ;-)

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  • Hopefully the posters suggesting this was an 'inside job' are not architects.... as even a reasonable first year architecture student would tell you that great architecture come for the site and place. How many of the non-local and overseas architects even visted the site?

    The fact half the short-listed firms were local is just a testimony to the importance of understanding your site.

    If I was involved in this competition any entry without a suggestion of first hand knowing the place I would file under bin.

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  • Congratulations to the local teams...... about time really and I look forward to seeing the shorlist .

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  • Ouch! Touch of resentment here I think. My own main drawing took a week of solid work to complete but I congratulate the local teams and wish them well. About time and I look forward to seeing the shortlisted projects.

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