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Finalists in Croydon Fair Field public square revealed

Fair Field, Croydon

The AJ can exclusively reveal the six shortlisted teams in the race to design a ‘world-class, exemplary’ public space outside Croydon’s landmark Fairfield Halls

The finalists include 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.

DSDHA with landscape architect Todd Longstaffe Gowan; and a collaborative bid by MICA Architects with Charles Holland Architects and acclaimed contemporary designer Adam Nathaniel Furman complete the shortlist.

The tender process will select a ‘bold and innovative’ proposal to overhaul the large prominent public square next to the council’s £30 million Fairfield Halls regeneration and create ‘one of the most exciting public spaces in London’.

Croydon Council’s two-stage procurement process encouraged collaboration between specialists that ‘push the boundaries of public space, art, light, technology, and inclusiveness.’

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.

In its original brief, the council said Fair Field ‘will be a truly world-class public space. It will be one of the most exciting public spaces in London; a destination space accessible to and accommodating a broad demographic.

Proposals are expected to integrate water, public art and lighting; promote cultural and community activity; improve connections to nearby George Street and East Croydon station; and celebrate the history of the area.

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 a £30 million overhaul of the 1962 Fairfield Halls – set to reopen in September – and some new housing.

The tender opportunity aims to provide ‘legible, step-free access’ between Fair Field and nearby George Street, East Croydon station, Barclay Road and Park Lane, and deliver a new forum for cultural and community activity celebrating the area’s heritage.

Jo Negrini, chief executive of Croydon Council, said: ’This an exciting next step for the Fair Field project. There’s been a lot of interest from the moment this scheme was announced, showing the industry has understood the importance of this space for Croydon’s cultural quarter and Fairfield Halls.

’We’re proud of and ambitious for our borough and what it has to offer. Fair Field will be another landmark we can all be proud of, for generations to come.

‘I’m looking forward to the next step of the process where we will get to see what concept designs will be put forward so we can begin to shape this vitally important site.’

The six finalists now have until late May to submit their concepts.

The full shortlist

  • 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
  • MICA with OOZE, Charles Holland Architects, Adam Nathaniel Furman, DHA Design Services and eHRW
  • DSDHA with Todd Longstaffe Gowan, Alan Baxter and Studio Dekka