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Revealed: AJ/Crown Estate Future Office contest shortlist

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Ten practices have been chosen to compete for the chance to take part in a day-long Crown Estate charrette

Zaha Hadid Architects, Alma-nac, Cartwright Pickard, Chetwoods and Ben Adams Architects have been shortlisted for the AJ/Crown Estate Future Office competition.

Also on the shortlist are drummond.lawlor, Emrys Architects, NBBJ, Threefold Architects and Scott Brownrigg.

Following submissions from almost 80 teams, the 10 have been selected to present their ideas for the office of the future in detail to a judging panel this Thursday (13 October). 

A final six will be chosen to take part in a day-long charrette focused on the future of one of The Crown Estate’s most prominent West End buildings.

Jon Allgood, senior asset manager at The Crown Estate, took part in the shortlisting alongside AJ managing editor Will Hurst and editorial director Paul Finch. 

The breadth and quality of submissions has been truly inspirational

Allgood said: ‘Reviewing the breadth and quality of submissions has been truly inspirational and we’d like to thank all the entrants for the time and effort they’ve taken.

‘It has been tough, yet great fun, whittling down to the shortlist. While there are common themes that shine through, such as connectivity, wellness and flexibility, the final 10 have demonstrated the most imagination and diversity of thought in designing the office of the future.’

The open and free-to-enter competition asked entrants to consider how inspiring and effective workplaces will operate from 2020 onwards, based on changing ways of living and working, new technology and other factors such as traffic congestion and the impact of climate change.

The Crown Estate, whose central London portfolio features the whole of Regent Street and much of the St James’s district, is currently investing £1.5 billion in regenerating this area at the heart of London’s West End.

Hurst said: ‘These 10 were the best of a very impressive 78 entries. It was delightful to see such wit, ingenuity, and hard graft on display, so the shortlist can feel very proud to have reached this stage.

‘This week, the judges will be asking them to justify their ideas and to consider how they would apply them to one of The Crown Estate’s existing historic buildings.’

The judging panel also includes The Crown Estate’s director of central London, James Cooksey, architect and DSDHA director Deborah Saunt and Despina Katsikakis, workplace consultant and member of the Delos advisory board.

Each of the six teams taking part in the charrette, which will be held on Tuesday 1 November, will receive a £1,000 honorarium for their time.

The shortlist in full

  • Alma-nac
  • Ben Adams Architects 
  • Cartwright Pickard
  • Chetwoods
  • drummond.lawlor
  • Emrys Architects
  • NBBJ
  • Scott Brownrigg
  • Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Threefold Architects

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