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LFA denounces ‘unpaid’ Hammersmith High Line contest run in its name

Hammersmith high line index
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The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has refused to support an unpaid ideas competition for a new ‘High Line’ in Hammersmith

An LFA spokesperson said the unpaid single-stage contest – which claimed to be ‘part of the festival’ and featured its logo on the brief – was ‘not something we would want as part of LFA’.

The competition is backed by the Hammersmith Business Improvement District (BID)and seeks ‘special and unique’ proposals to transform a large disused Victorian rail viaduct into London’s version of the New York High Line.

The brief described the contest as being ‘part of the London Festival of Architecture 2019’ and requested participants respond to this year’s LFA theme of ‘Boundaries’.

While two £5,000 prizes will be awarded to the winners, there is no honorarium and selected teams will only receive extra funding ‘at the discretion of the organisers’ to further develop their schemes.

An LFA spokesperson said: ‘A single-stage unpaid contest with conditionality on the funding is not something we would want as part of LFA and in no way do we support unpaid competitions.

‘We cannot tolerate people using the LFA logo without consent. We would be happy to talk with Hammersmith BID about any submission to the festival but one of our conditions is it must not be an unpaid competition.’

In response, Hammersmith BID admitted the brief should have been clearer and that only the exhibition featuring the images was intended to be part of the LFA. A spokesperson said: ‘We would not pay participants as we have the (quite substantial) prize money for two winning entries.’

The ideas contest focuses on an abandoned piece of infrastructure originally built in the 1860s as part of the railway connecting the area to Shepherd’s Bush which closed 100 years ago.

All entries will also be displayed inside the neighbouring Kings Mall shopping centre from 22 to 30 June, which is during the LFA. The deadline for applications is 31 May.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Clare Richards

    As an LFA patron, ft’work supports its decision to distance itself from this competition. The festival encourages all designers to take part in projects and competitions. It’s a big time commitment and to discourage participation on the grounds of affordability is against the festival’s ethos and sends entirely the wrong message.

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