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Revealed: Winners of RIBA Beyond Borders pop-ups contest

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The RIBA has revealed the four winning concepts in its competition for a series of £5,000 installations to be built at its London and Liverpool venues this summer

Emerging practices chosen for the commission are: Max Dewdney Architects; Merrett Houmøller Architects, both from London; Liverpool’s Doing Bits Studio; and MMAS Architects from Belfast.

The winning schemes included an interactive installation to encourage unity, a portable dining space for refugees, an optical viewing device, and a project that links communities at either side of Belfast’s Peace Wall.

Open to all RIBA members, students and non-members – the Beyond Borders competition sought ‘site-specific’ proposals that explore the social and psychological impact of physical and political barriers.

RIBA exhibition curator Anna Holsgrove said: ‘Architecture encourages an exchange of ideas and promotes the sharing of languages, tools and technologies. These projects were chosen because of the imaginative way in which they soften or remove the physical and psychological borders that can divide society. We hope they will provoke debate and inspire new ways of engaging with architectural ideas in London and Liverpool.’

The four installations will be constructed at 1:1 scale inside the RIBA Headquarters at 66 Portland Place and at the newly opening RIBA North venue, designed by Broadway Malyan, in Liverpool.

Three of the completed projects will be unveiled during a RIBA Late event at 66 Portland Place from 6-10pm on 3 July to mark the opening of the institute’s International Week. A specially commissioned interactive installation by Dessi Lyutakova representing the invisible forces that drive the UK economy will also be displayed.

Commended entries to the contest will also feature in an exhibition from 7 to 25 June at 53-55 East Street in Elephant and Castle as part of the London Festival of Architecture. The show will feature images and models by ALEKSA studio, Erin Poppy Whalley, Intervention Architecture, Lingge Yang, MAC.3, Studio MORGENWIRDSBESSER, Niall Anderson & Ross Melbourne Architects, PUG, Studio Cullen Williams & Benjamin Kee, Tohill Architects and WUH Architecture.

The contest comes one year after the RIBA launched an open call for a series of community-focused installations. Winners of the previous competition included Pea Soup House by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studio, which was installed in the RIBA London foyer last summer.

The overall winners of this year’s open call will be constructed with help from the RIBA Young People’s Forum and exhibited inside 66 Portland Place and RIBA North from 3 July to 14 September.

Judges included Bak Mortensen; Chris Bryant, director of Alma-nac and chair of the RIBA Small Practice Group; RIBA North director Suzy Jones; and HÛT Architecture associate director Rachael Davidson.

The winning concepts

  • Humanity is Unity, by Doing Bits Studio at RIBA North, Liverpool, 4 July-17 September

Humanity is Unity by Doing Bits Studio – at RIBA North, Liverpool - 4 July-17 September

Humanity is Unity by Doing Bits Studio – at RIBA North, Liverpool - 4 July-17 September

Humanity is Unity by Doing Bits Studio – at RIBA North, Liverpool - 4 July-17 September

Doing Bits Studio’s project is an interactive installation, developed with local asylum-seekers and refugees, as a symbol of inclusivity and social integration. Visitors are encouraged to weave coloured fabric through the structure, allowing the installation to develop over the course of the exhibition period. Gradually, an entangled and evolving symbol of acceptance, integration and unity is produced. Once deconstructed, the installation will be unwoven and the material utilised to run a series of craft activities for asylum seekers and refugees.

  • Interface to Place – a process of transforming a ‘Peace Wall’, by MMAS at RIBA, London W1, 3 July-17 September

Interface to Place – a process of transforming a ‘Peace Wall’ by MMAS – at RIBA, London, W1 - 3 July-17 September

Interface to Place – a process of transforming a ‘Peace Wall’ by MMAS – at RIBA, London, W1 - 3 July-17 September

Interface to Place – a process of transforming a ‘Peace Wall’ by MMAS – at RIBA, London, W1 - 3 July-17 September

MMAS proposes adapting a section of wall into a pair of gates-cum-benches that open to create a public space straddling the divide between neighbourhoods, some separated for several generations. The project corresponds with the government’s strategic commitment to remove the structures by 2023. MMAS is currently working with communities to develop their design idea. A documentation of their progress will be shown at the RIBA.

  • The Periscopic Pavilion, by Max Dewdney Architects, at RIBA, London W1, 3 July-17 September

The Periscopic Pavilion by Max Dewdney Architects – at RIBA, London, W1 - 3 July-17 September

The Periscopic Pavilion by Max Dewdney Architects – at RIBA, London, W1 - 3 July-17 September

The Periscopic Pavilion by Max Dewdney Architects – at RIBA, London, W1 - 3 July-17 September

The Periscopic Pavilion provides an intimate space with three periscopic viewing chimneys to look beyond physical boundaries, allowing visitors to see the world in new and unexpected ways. The concept makes reference to military instruments but takes an unexpected form, aiming to challenge expectations of space and consider how perception is vital tool of understanding physical, political and cultural boundaries. It is intended that the pavilion will be semi-permanently installed at the University of Greenwich after September.

  • The Refugees and Befriending Project, by Merrett Houmøller, at RIBA, London W1, 3 July-17 September

The Refugees and Befriending Project by Merrett Houmøller – at RIBA, London, W1 - 3 July 17 September

The Refugees and Befriending Project by Merrett Houmøller – at RIBA, London, W1 - 3 July 17 September

The Refugees and Befriending Project by Merrett Houmøller – at RIBA, London, W1 - 3 July 17 September

This project brings together vulnerable young people who have crossed borders to get to the UK. Facilitated by British Red Cross volunteers and staff, the outdoor, packaway unit provides space for young asylum seekers and refugees in the UK to gather, cook and eat a meal, as well as the chance to have fun, build confidence and improve their English. Using mealtimes as a starting point, it attempts to address the shared tensions, aspirations and debate that surrounds immigration and the global refugee crisis. The mobile unit is designed to move between communities following its installation at the RIBA.

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