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London Works student ideas contest winner announced

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A team from The London School of Architecture has won a student ideas contest to reinvent underused industrial land in Thamesmead, south-east London

The winning team, made up of Katrina Duncan, Lisa McDanell and Robin Chatwin, was selected for the £1,000 top prize following a public judging session chaired by The Guardian’s architecture critic, Oliver Wainwright, at the Silver Building in east London last week.

The London Works competition, backed by Peabody Housing Association, was open to all students and 2017 graduates of architecture and related disciplines. The contest sought ambitious visions to transform the Nathan Way industrial estate into a ‘livelier urban quarter’.

The site, about 2.3km south-east of Woolwich town centre, is a light industrial street featuring various storage, distribution, and food production businesses, alongside a community centre, church and nursery. It is bordered to the north by Belmarsh Prison and to the south by the Ridgeway – a raised walkway on top of London’s Southern Outfall Sewer.

Other nearby landmarks include the town of Thamesmead, which is undergoing a £1.5 billion transformation, also backed by Peabody. The project’s first phase, designed by Proctor & Matthews and Mecanoo, won planning permission in October.

Last week the AJ exclusively revealed the shortlist for a new £5 million lakeside library within the south-east London estate. Competing teams include Adam Khan Architects, Bisset Adams, Keith Williams Architects, Architecture 00/Studio Weave and Norway’s Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter.

The London Works competition was organised by urban designer Mark Lemanski, who works at muf architecture/art and leads an MA unit at the University of East London. He said: ’Responses were submitted by participants from seven different London schools of architecture, who took on an urgent and hugely complex topic, each with their own strengths.

‘Some observers predict that London will start to run out of industrial space at the beginning of next year, and the judges commended the competition as a wake-up call to the issue and congratulated the students for grappling with a topic that the profession has neglected for too long. The submissions tackle the resistance to recognising workspace as valuable and an essential part of London by suggesting ways to retain industrial uses while creating change.’

He continued: ‘The winning design shows a sophisticated exploration of a mixed-use programme of different types of industrial, residential and teaching spaces and proposes ownership structure and an incremental implementation programme, which start to suggest pieces of policy.

’Other submissions addressed land value, densification, identity, connections into the wider neighbourhood, and more. The various concepts encouraged the jury to start talking about real-life potential ways to make change happen and how to experiment further.’

Gemma Holyoak, Jamie Hignett and Joseph Hamblin from Central Saint Martins and The London School of Architecture won the £750 second prize, while Corina Tuna and Carlotta Conte of The Cass won the £500 third prize.

Judges included Greenwich Council deputy leader Danny Thorpe, Mark Brearley of Cass Cities, Liza Fior of muf architecture/art, and Lisa Taylor, chief executive at Future of London.

Winner: Industrial Agency by Katrina Duncan, Lisa McDanell and Robin Chatwin of The London School of Architecture

The nature of work is changing, propelled by technology, automation and the prevalence of remote working. An ability to adapt is essential in this changing economy, shown by a rise in the number of careers individuals have over a lifetime. We are no longer employed based on what we know, but what we can learn to know. The linear relationship between education and profession is moving towards a circular, symbiotic one. We need to learn to keep learning. Eleven per cent of Londoners work in industrial land, but this is being lost at three times the rate set out in the London Plan.

Winner: Industrial Agency by Katrina Duncan, Lisa McDanell & Robin Chatwin of The London School of Architecture

Winner: Industrial Agency by Katrina Duncan, Lisa McDanell & Robin Chatwin of The London School of Architecture

Winner: Industrial Agency by Katrina Duncan, Lisa McDanell & Robin Chatwin ofThe London School of Architecture

Propelled by the booming residential development sector and capitalising on the turbulent climate industrial businesses find themselves in, the fight to ensure a viable future for such areas must counter these forces at their root – through innovative policy and resilient economic models.

Our approach uses an understanding of design, policy and commerciality to design for a more sustainable culture of work that integrates economic, social and ecological equity. Nathan’s Way can become a precedent for future schemes by allowing current inhabitants to sit at the forefront of regeneration, benefiting both current and future uses.

Winner: Industrial Agency by Katrina Duncan, Lisa McDanell & Robin Chatwin of The London School of Architecture

Winner: Industrial Agency by Katrina Duncan, Lisa McDanell & Robin Chatwin of The London School of Architecture

Winner: Industrial Agency by Katrina Duncan, Lisa McDanell & Robin Chatwin ofThe London School of Architecture

A three-phased framework enables financially stable, sustainable and truly mixed-use development to occur as businesses enter into a partnership encompassing policy to bind them and planning conditions to protect them. Each stage is defined by the scale of works and funding level required rather than fixed time periods, and each level of development is financially self-sufficient.

In the framework’s first stage, businesses group together forming a Business Improvement District. By pooling small contributions for collective use, communal areas are maintained and businesses are given a collective resilience and identity. Secondly, business’s mandatory contributions to the Business Apprenticeship Levy are combined to fund the building and running of a communal workshop. Finally, selective redevelopment of parts of the site are carried out by the collective’s Community Land Trust, a component of the initial framework agreement. This ensures strategic densification, integrating existing industrial uses with training facilities and residential units, with mutually beneficial public realm, tailored to the needs of the users.

At every stage, continued contributions and small resultant profits enable work to continue, whilst apprenticeship levy contributions and academy partner funding sustain the running of educational programmes. Each subsequent phase is entered within the relevant framework and planning policy, with surplus profit reinvested into the site.

Second place: The New London Mix by Gemma Holyoak, Jamie Hignett and Joseph Hamblin, from Central Saint Martins and The London School of Architecture

Second place: The New London Mix by Gemma Holyoak, Jamie Hignett & Joseph Hamblin from Central Saint Martins and The London School of Architecture

Second place: The New London Mix by Gemma Holyoak, Jamie Hignett & Joseph Hamblin from Central Saint Martins and The London School of Architecture

Second place: The New London Mix by Gemma Holyoak, Jamie Hignett & Joseph Hamblin from Central Saint Martins and The London School of Architecture

Across London businesses are gradually moving further from the centre as the pressure to build residential keeps increasing. We propose that Peabody as the main landowner in the area can set out the New London Mix.

The New London Mix provides the same business space volume allowing existing businesses to stay on the site. The commercial space is consolidated and in some cases arranged over two stories to free up more of the site for residential units.

We set out a neighbourhood wide strategy to create a mix of residential, light and heavy industrial units. The mix works by turning Nathan Way in to a bus and cycle route for the residents which can open up to the Ridgeway and make the most of this new linear park, while diverting all industrial traffic on to a new service road to the north.

Third place: Doric Yards by Corina Tuna and Carlotta Conte of The Cass

Londoners don’t just need more places to live; they also need spaces to work.

With the arrival of a new Crossrail station and the ever-increasing demand for housing, low-density industrial land along Nathan Way is under rising pressure to be released into the hands of developers. Physical infrastructure barriers are no longer enough to dissuade interest in increasing land value. If industrial land is to survive and remain affordable, it needs to perform much better, for a greater number of people.

Third place: Doric Yards by Corina Tuna and Carlotta Conte of The Cass

Third place: Doric Yards by Corina Tuna and Carlotta Conte of The Cass

Third place: Doric Yards by Corina Tuna and Carlotta Conte of The Cass

The proposal for building Doric Yards presents a sustainable model for increasing the density of workspaces on Site B in a way that positively contributes to the life of the local community. The project rejects the generic one-size-fits-all solution (as demonstrated in the undergoing construction of an adjacent site) in favour of more ad hoc approach, which carefully considers the re-appropriation of shared space and infill construction of new units, to fit on site with minimal disturbance to residing businesses. The new buildings offer established businesses, start-ups and young people a wide range of flexible workspace typologies, with opportunities to train, share space and expand as needed.

Doric Yards invites visitors to explore this industrial site through its strategic location and open relationship to the Ridgeway, acting as a landmark on a linear journey that celebrates local infrastructure and industrial land. The buildings offer generous gardens, external courtyards, a café and event spaces to the local community through this linear park, a much needed bridge to Plumstead Station and the residential neighbourhoods to the south and east of Nathan Way.

Third place: Doric Yards by Corina Tuna and Carlotta Conte of The Cass

Third place: Doric Yards by Corina Tuna and Carlotta Conte of The Cass

Third place: Doric Yards by Corina Tuna and Carlotta Conte of The Cass

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