Nottingham-based Letts Wheeler has won the competition sponsored by the Architecture Foundation and Delancey Estates to design a kiosk and public art installation at a new shopping development in north London (AJ 1.2.01).
The practice beat McDaniel Woolf, D-Squared design and Walker & Martin. All four practices will appear in the Architecture Foundation's new book on young practices*, which was launched with the announcement of the kiosk winner.
Letts Wheeler's design for a winged kiosk and steel halo - marking the two entrances to the Chapman Taylor-designed 'N1' shopping complex - was designed in association with art and design company Wolfgang Heron and Price and Myers 3D Engineering. The kiosk, to be assembled off site in Nottingham and installed next spring, features a pair of steel wings as a reference to the nearby Angel Underground Station. The contract is worth £75,000 - £50,000 for the kiosk, and the remainder for the halo artwork.
'There was very little information in the brief, ' said practice partner Matthew Letts. 'So after having some fun and pushing some ideas around we decided to give it a connection to the area. It's about making a connection between the commercial and the spiritual.'
A tenant has yet to be found for the 30m 2shop, a glass and timber cylinder facing the entrance to the shopping centre. Jury chairman Tony Hunt said the selection panel was looking for a 'wow factor' in the winning design. 'I wanted something imaginative and sort of wild which would draw people into the space, ' he said.
Hunt added that the competition - and the book illustrating the work of 67 new practices - provided a much-needed boost to struggling young architects. 'They don't get a very good break, these young people, ' he said. 'The Architecture Foundation does a superb job at promoting young architects. Why isn't the RIBA doing a similar thing?'
*New Architects 2: a guide to Britain's best young architectural practices is published by Merrell in association with the Architecture Foundation, price £25.