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Leeds students win US design contest for second year in a row

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Students from Leeds Beckett University have won a major annual international contest tackling urban design issues in Philadelphia for a second year in a row 

Last year Graham Davey, Joseph Earley, Jade Moore and Michele Prendini were awarded top spot in the yearly Edmund N Bacon Urban Design Awards Student Competition for their response to the 2019 brief – Re-Imagining the Heart of Kensington.

This year the same first prize was taken back to Yorkshire by postgraduate students Ayomide Adediran, Krista Atanasova, Rhys Jones and Carlos Saurith for their proposals in reply to the theme The Big Picture: Revealing Germantown’s Assets.

The team’s Platforms For People entry, creating a number of interventions along Chelten Avenue, was chosen by a panel of judges including ER Bacon Development founder Elinor Bacon – the daughter of renowned city planner Edmund N Bacon, in whose honour the contest was launched.

The annual competition awards a first prize of $5,000. A team from the University of Pennsylvania came second.

There was also a special jury prize for another Leeds Beckett University team. The ‘Economy Builder’ award was handed to Dominik Augustynowicz, Gabrielle Beaumont, Noah Harrowes, Kate Hopkins, Lois Melling, Lily Street and Roberto Zanini for their Green Connect proposals (see PDF attached).

Synopsis: Platforms for People

Chelten Avenue is filled with charm and character. From its people to its buildings, with a rich history and joy with a fearless nature to express it. 

We believe that such joy and history should take centre stage literally. This is achieved by identifying key groups of buildings and manipulating them through pushing and pulling old and new architectural forms to create new urban spaces termed platforms. By pushing back existing elevations and building fabric reveals the avenue’s richness. The purpose is to let the people of Chelten Avenue shine, grow stronger and safer as a community.

Platforms celebrate the people of Germantown

Through talking to people in Germantown we have discovered its rich historical culture and heritage, it fills the people of the area with so much pride when they talk about it. However, identifying the fundamental issues Chelten Avenue is faced with and how it affects, not just its residents, but its image.

This is an opportunity to develop a radical and positive vision. Talking with local residents, workers and business owners points to striking issues; crime, lack of amenities, poverty, rubbish, parking etc. These issues have held Germantown back.

After identifying some of the main issues we have proposed Platforms for the People of Chelten Avenue. This is to be interpreted both metaphorically and physically as an urban regenerative approach. The method is to push back the fabric of buildings and pull forward the history and the people. This begins to highlight important structures and address wayfinding. Platforms celebrate the people of Germantown. Each has a unique identity based upon our research and talking to the community.

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