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Final six in Future Retail Destinations competition announced

Weston Williamson, Friend & Co and CarverHaggard are among practices selected to take part in a day-long charrette run by the AJ and The Crown Estate

Six architects have been chosen to take part in the final stage of the AJ/Crown Estate Future Retail Destinations competition following a day-long judging session at the headquarters of The Crown Estate at 1 St James’ Market near Piccadilly Circus.

The finalists are: AEW, Whittam Cox Architects, Richard Faith Architecture Bureau, Friend & Co, Weston Williamson and CarverHaggard.

The practices were selected from a longlist of 12 in the competition, which seeks to reimagine regional retail parks for the year 2030 and beyond and was open to all UK-based architects.

The contest received almost 70 entries.

The six teams will now take part in a second, more practical stage of the contest involving a study trip to The Crown Estate’s Silverlink Shopping Park near Newcastle Upon Tyne next week, followed by a one-day charrette in central London on 21 June.

All will be demonstrating their architectural skills and thinking to a prestigious client boasting a regional retail and leisure portfolio of £2.5 billion. In addition, the six teams will each receive honoraria of £1,000 for their time.

Chair of the judges and AJ managing editor Will Hurst said: ’The panel was delighted by the high standards shown by the longlist and deeply impressed by the amount of work which had gone into each proposal. Thank you to all 12 of them and special congratulations to the six selected for the final stage of the competition.’

The jury also included John Grinnell, deputy head of development and project management at The Crown Estate, Keely Stocker, editor of AJ sister title Drapers, Sam Jacob of Sam Jacob Studio, Sheppard Robson partner Claire Haywood and Lara Marrero, strategy director and global retail practice leader at Gensler.

Grinnell added: ’This was a fascinating opportunity to hear some bold thinking from a really diverse mix of practices, exploring how evolving technologies, retail models, shopping habits and consumer priorities might shape the retail destinations of the future.

‘Our huge thanks to all those who took part on the day and many congratulations to the practices joining us for the final stage of the competition, where we will explore how these ideas could be brought to life.’

The longlist also included Duggan Morris, Chapman Taylor, Make Architects, Neubau Architecture, Leslie Jones Architecture, and a team comprising architects Brian Connolly and Anna Prajs.

Final six

  • AEW
  • CarverHaggard
  • Friend & Co
  • Richard Faith Architecture Bureau
  • Weston Williamson Whittam Cox Architects
  • Whittam Cox Architects