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Reimagining Mayfair: quiz the finalists in Royal Academy contest

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The four finalists in the ideas competition to redesign the public realm surrounding London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA) will present their ideas to a public audience and an expert panel this Friday (19 September)

The concepts by teams featuring DK-CM, Weston Williamson, EPR and Andrew Phillips will subsequently go on display as part of the academy’s programme for this year’s Open House London (20–21 September).

The AJ-backed Reimagining Mayfair competition was launched in April to find architect-led, multidisciplinary teams with ‘bold new ideas’ for the area north of the RA’s Burlington Gardens buildings.

In July, four teams were asked to work up their initial concepts and at the event on Friday the teams will explain their detailed proposals for the first time to the public and a panel of experts chaired by Charles Saumarez Smith, the chief executive of the RA.

He is joined by the AJ’s acting editor Rory Olcayto, Jeremy Melvin, curator of the World Architecture Festival, Craig McWilliam from Grosvenor and Matthew Carmona, Professor of Planning and Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Planning.

The competition was launched before work starts on David Chipperfield’s renovation of the Grade II*-listed 6 Burlington Gardens. The James Pennethorne-designed building is located behind the RA’s ‘front door’at Burlington House on Piccadilly but there is no public route connecting the two buildings.

The Chipperfield scheme, which has been awarded a £12.7 million grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will include new galleries, a learning studio and the reinstatement of a lecture theatre, as well as a bridge to ‘link’ the two sites together.

The area covered by the competition was first laid out by Lord Burlington in the 1720s. The high-end retail district has recently benefited from improvements to nearby Regent Street and is set for major transformation when New Bond Street Crossrail station opens in 2018.

Starting at 6,30pm, the event is free to enter and no booking is required.

For more information click here.

The full shortlist

  • DK-CM and Pablo Bronstein
  • Andrew Phillips, Vogt and Henry Coleman
  • EPR Architects with Rick Wheal, Kate Malone and James Ulph (Cork Flowers Gallery)
  • Yinka Shonibare MBE RA, Weston Williamson Architects and (uncommon) landscape
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