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Alsop's Walsall wonderland

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Alsop Architects has won a competition to develop a strategic framework for a 7ha waterfront site in Walsall for Urban Splash.

The practice, which was shortlisted along with dsdha, S333, Maccreanor Lavington with Kees Christiaanse Architects and Planners, and Lab Architecture Studio, produced these impressionistic images to illustrate its approach to the project.

While the competitive interview process concentrated on the strength of the team and their inspirations for the site, Alsop produced these images 'to show people what might be possible'.

Project architect Andy Lebisch told the AJ: 'We are trying to spur people into imagining what the area might become. The images are definitely not prescriptive.'

The concept drawings speculate that the existing Walsall High Street could be 'extended along the canal to a new hub', Lebisch added. 'This hub might be a Leather Hotel, clad in leather or a type of leather substitute'. Will Alsop said the project - sited just outside Walsall town centre and overlooked by Caruso St John's art gallery - represents a 'real opportunity' for the town. 'We have some exciting ideas for the site, ' he said, 'and we will work to devise a framework plan that will help to meet aspirations and create a truly exciting location in Walsall.'

The practice will begin a period of consultation that will include discussions with the council and local people, before identifying the first plots to be developed.

The competition judges also singled out London-based practice dsdha for particular praise, saying its entry 'contained a range of interesting ideas'.

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