Farrells has been named winner of the Built Environment Trust’s Night Time is the Right Time ideas contest
Backed by the Mayor of London, the competition invited architects and others to draw up proposals for innovative ways to boost the night-time economies of cities around the world (see AJ 07.03.17).
Farrells’ winning ‘myKanaal’ proposal transforms London’s waterways into a network of mobile retail boats operating through the night and co-ordinated by an app which also alerts users to nearby shops and services.
The project aims to boost the flexibility of such spaces, which could otherwise be intimidating and unsafe at night.
Jury chair Lewis Blackwell of The Built Environment Trust, commented: ‘Making bold interactions for modest investments in how our cities work at night is a relatively low-risk and highly efficient way of driving more performance from the urban environment.
‘The results of this competition show that, with both innovative new thinking and fully trialled projects among the finalists. We called for big joined-up ideas in how culture and infrastructure can better work together and we are delighted that many competitors rose to the challenge.’
Runner-up schemes included Uritrottoir, by French design firm Faltazi, and Musical Swings by Montréal-based Daily tous les jours. The Uritrottoir – currently being trialled in Paris – is a flowering compost urinal which tackles the odour by funnelling waste into a closed box filled with straw and sawdust.
Musical Swings is an interactive light and music installation, which plays different notes depending on the position of participants and creates melodies when they are synchronised. It has toured five cities and a permanent installation is planned for Montréal next year.
London’s night time economy contributes £26.3 billion to the capital’s annual GDP and supports one in eight local jobs but is understood to be under threat from new inner city developments and a perception the sector is linked to noise and anti-social behaviour.
About 35 per cent of London’s music venues have closed since 2007, causing concern over the future of the capital’s clubbing culture. London mayor Sadiq Khan appointed a new ‘night czar’ to promote the night time economy and turn around its fortunes last year.
The appointee, Amy Lamé, arrived in London from New Jersey in 1992 and worked in a late night café-bar on the edge of Soho before co-founding the arts company and club night ‘Duckie’ at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
Lamé judged the ideas contest alongside Carl Turner of Carl Turner Architects, Dipa Joshi of Assael Architecture and Dan Batterton – a fund manager specialising in build to rent at Legal & General Investment Management.
Commenting on the winning scheme, Batterton said: ‘Legal and General are building high-quality rental apartments in major cities throughout the UK. We have several canal-side developments which are popular for their cycling routes and easy access to the city. Many of the areas we are investing in would benefit from a scheme such as the winning project myKanaal. It is an exciting possibility for the UK’s waterways.’
Lamé said: ’London is the culture capital of the world, and a key part of our city’s success is the amazing diversity of its night-time economy. To become a truly 24-hour metropolis, we need bright ideas about how we can fulfil the city’s potential at night in a way that works for everyone.
’From night markets on the river to light and music installations, and innovative ways to keep our city’s streets clean, the concepts developed through the Night Time is the Right Time competition have been truly inspiring and give us a glimpse of just how much opportunity there is for London, 24 hours a day.’
Farrells will receive a £1,000 top prize and the 20 top entries will feature in an exhibition – dubbed Night Time is the Right Time – inside The Building Centre from 1 June. The two runners-up receive prizes of £500 each.