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Design the future of retail with The Crown Estate and the AJ

Aj tce future retail hero

Get your entries in for the Future Retail Destinations competition – entries close 9 April

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A new architectural competition to re-imagine out-of-town shopping destinations has been launched by the AJ and The Crown Estate.

The Future Retail Destinations contest is open to all UK-based architects and asks entrants to design an innovative and successful shopping park fit to operate from 2030 onwards.

The Crown Estate – which previously partnered with the AJ on the Future Office contest in 2016 – boasts a regional retail and leisure portfolio across the UK valued at £2.5 billion, which includes Rushden Lakes in Northamptonshire, Fosse in Leicester and Princesshay in Exeter.

The design solution will be based upon many of the same parameters as existing parks, including a prominent out-of-town location served by major roads and offering a mix of retail, leisure and food and beverage uses.

It should also consider the important role of quality public realm, the increasing impact of tech in retail, the environmental sustainability of the scheme and the experience created for shoppers.

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Hannah Milne, director of The Crown Estate’s Regional Retail portfolio, said: ‘We’re challenging ourselves to think hard about how the best retail destinations can adapt to meet shoppers’ changing expectations, on everything from the growing role of technology in retail, to sustainability, community and shopper experience.

‘This is a fantastic opportunity, working with the best talent, to explore what brilliant retail destinations might look like in 2030 and beyond, as we shape our portfolio for the future.’

AJ managing editor Will Hurst said: ‘Bricks-and-mortar retail has been changing rapidly and this will continue over the next decade. Out-of-town shopping destinations will need to transform themselves to incorporate the latest digital innovations but also to excel in areas that online shopping cannot offer, and design is a key element of this.

’We’re delighted that our readers will once again have the opportunity to pitch their abilities to The Crown Estate in this free-to-enter competition.’

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Like Future Office, the Future Retail Destinations contest has two stages. The first is an open ideas competition asking designers to respond to the challenge of designing an out-of-town shopping destination for 2030 and beyond with a concept design.

The best 10-12 entries will be shortlisted and present their ideas to a jury including external judges as well as representatives from The Crown Estate and the AJ. The jury will select six winners to take part in the second stage.

The second stage is more practical and will take the form of a site visit to one of The Crown Estate’s shopping locations, followed by a one-day charrette focusing on the future of that asset.

Each of the six architects, practices or teams taking part in the charrette will receive a £1,000 honorarium for their time and both winners and shortlisted entries will be publicised by the AJ and The Crown Estate.

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About the competition

  • Free to enter
  • Submission deadline 9 April
  • Shortlisted teams present to judges 8 May
  • Site visit 16 May
  • Charrette 21 June

For more details and to enter, click here