The AJ can exclusively reveal the team chosen to design a £10 million ‘world-class, exemplary’ public space outside Croydon’s newly refurbished Fairfield Halls
A collaborative bid by MICA Architects with Charles Holland Architects, landscape experts OOZE and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman saw off five other finalists in the Croydon Council-backed competitive process.
Dubbed a ‘metropolitan meadow for Croydon’, the victorious scheme features a circular mirror pool which can be drained to create a multi-purpose amphitheatre, a new pedestrian bridge over Park Lane and a series of pavilions designed as miniature replicas of the town’s nest-known landmarks.
The original tender called for a ‘bold and innovative’ proposal to overhaul the large public square next to the council’s £30 million Fairfield Halls regeneration and create ‘one of the most exciting public spaces in London’.
MICA’s concept includes a ’much-needed pedestrian route’ running diagonally across the site, a round grass lawn ‘for relaxation and informal play’ and a super-sized striped flooring, inset with Croydon Terrazzo together with a permanent red carpet for Fairfield Halls. The scheme also sets out plans for artworks, which will act as wayfinding markers, and improve connections to nearby George Street and East Croydon station.
WINNER: MICA Architects, OOZE, Charles Holland Architects, Adam Nathaniel Furman, eHRW, and DHA Design Services, Gardiner & Theobald and Wasser Werkstatt
The other finalists included DSDHA with landscape architect Todd Longstaffe Gowan; Martha Schwartz Partners with PLP Architecture and star engineer AKT II; Hassell with emerging London practice We Made That; Gustafson Porter + Bowman with BuroHappold; and Expedition Engineering with up-and-coming outfit Periscope and Dutch landscape giant West 8.
The council’s chief executive Jo Negrini said: ’We were really pleased with the exceptional standard of concept designs from the six teams shortlisted, and all made great use of the space.
’MICA’s winning concept designs are very innovative and very Croydon.’
She added: ’The concepts refer to Croydon’s built heritage and will also reflect the evolution of the town centre. We hope the final designs will be just as exciting, providing a welcoming destination for the thousands of people who live, work in and visit the town centre to enjoy.”
A ‘delighted’ Stuart Cade, a director at MICA, said: ’The brief, context and ambition for the new space is unique and our group is relishing the opportunity to co-produce a high quality and diverse urban landscape for Croydon.’
The project, scheduled to complete in 2022, sits alongside plans to transform the wider area into a new cultural quarter. The council’s private development company, Brick by Brick, is leading on some of the area’s residential components.
The historic Fair Field – also known as College Green – was transformed into a civic plaza during Croydon’s reconstruction in the mid-20th century. Today it is at the centre of Croydon Council’s Fair Field masterplan which has also shaped proposals by Rick Mather Architects (now renamed MICA and one of the competition finalists) for the £30 million overhaul of the 1962 Fairfield Halls – which opens this month – and some new housing.
Work is expected to start on site in 2021.
The full shortlist
- MICA Architects, OOZE, Charles Holland Architects, Adam Nathaniel Furman, eHRW, and DHA Design Services, Gardiner & Theobald and Wasser Werkstatt
- Hassell with We Made That, Nigel Dunnett, BuroHappold, Studio Dekka and Turf Projects
- Martha Schwartz Partners with Tyrens UK, FutureCity, PLP Architecture, AKT II, CommonPlace, Light Bureau, Shape, The Fountain Workshop, ETM Associates and Habidatum
- Gustafson Porter + Bowman with Soundings, BuroHappold and Jes Fernie
- Expedition Engineering with West 8, Periscope, Donald Hyslop and Michael Grubb Studio
- DSDHA with Todd Longstaffe Gowan, Alan Baxter and Studio Dekka
Croydon council p260