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Shortlist named in Royal Academy public realm contest

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DK-CM, Weston Williamson, EPR and Andrew Phillips have been shortlisted in the ideas competition to overhaul the public realm surrounding London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA)

The four architects have teamed up with artists, public realm specialists and local business to compete in the AJ-backed contest which sought speculative designs for rethinking a swathe of Mayfair.

David Knight’s and Cristina Monteiro’s studio, DK-CM, has teamed up with artist Pablo Bronstein who specialises in architectural sketches in ink and gouache.  

Meanwhile architect Andrew Phillips is working with landscape designers Vogt and RA second-year postgraduate student Henry Coleman.

Before setting up his own practice Phillips worked at David Chipperfield Architects where he masterplanned the £36 million overhaul of the RA’s 6 Burlington Gardens building which is planned to start on site next year.

Described as a ‘platform for new thinking’, the ideas competition seeks ‘bold new ideas for reimagining the area of Mayfair directly to the north of 6 Burlington Gardens’.

The judges, who include the AJ’s Rory Olcayto and the RA’s architecture programme manager Owen Hopkins, are looking for concepts that will turn the area – bounded by Old Bond Street, Clifford Street, Savile Row and Burlington Gardens – into ‘London’s next cultural quarter’.

Also shortlisted is Weston Williamson which has teamed up with Turner Prize nominee Yinka Shonibare and landscape designers (uncommon).

EPR’s team meanwhile features Arup sustainable development specialist Rick Wheal, ceramicist Kate Malone and James Ulph of the Mayfair-based Cork Street’s Flowers gallery.

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

The four finalists will present their ideas to a panel of critics during a public event on 19 September.

Their proposals will also feature in an exhibition at the RA as part of Open House London (20-21 September).

The competition has been 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.

The brief asked for teams to come up with a solution that can act as a ‘counterpoint to the area’s strong commercial facets and help create a richer social mix’.

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