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Brighton church ideas contest announces joint winners

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Emil Eve Architects and Arup have been named joint winners of an ideas competition to rethink the future of Grade II*-listed St Martin’s Church in Brighton

The two winners – chosen from 28 entries to the Colander Associates-organised contest – will receive £8,000 each, while a third-place prize of £6,000 will be awarded to Devon’s Trewin Design Architects.

Open to multidisciplinary teams of architects, landscape architects, engineers and developers, the competition sought ‘practical, exciting and commercially viable’ concepts to redevelop the 1875 city-centre landmark.

The call for ideas set out to identify economically sustainable uses for the George Somers Leigh Clarke-designed church located about 1.8km north of Brighton seafront. ARTArchitects and Tom Turner Architects were both commended when the shortlist was announced in October.

Peter Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and chair of the judging panel, said: ‘The jury were delighted with the number of entries for this competition and the quality of the submissions which is why we felt it very difficult to select one winner.

‘The ideas and possible uses were stunning. They ranged from leisure and the arts to business and community uses – the latter including vertical farming and sophisticated climbing walls.’

He continued: ‘In the end we felt the practical solutions submitted by Arup, if combined with the uplifting arts suggestions put forward by Emil Eve, would ensure the life of a beautiful heritage building such as St Martin’s church for generations to come.

‘This was a new form of architectural competition, seeking proof of the practical with good design, and we felt everyone rose to the challenge brilliantly.’

Officially known as St Martin with St Wilfrid, St Alban and St Richard Hollingdean, St Martin’s Church was built in the Gothic Revival style in 1875. The building is used for regular Church of England services.

The three winning schemes and two commended proposals will feature in an exhibition inside St Martin’s Church over the weekends of 19 January and 2 February.

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