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We Made That wins North Vauxhall public realm contest

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We Made That has won Lambeth Council’s competition to design a public realm masterplan for North Vauxhall, central London

The practice will create an ‘accessible, welcoming, high-quality, dynamic and inclusive’ strategy for enhancing public spaces throughout the area bounded by Kennington Lane, Kennington Road, Albert Embankment and Lambeth Road.

The project aims to boost the cultural identity of the district, which is home to Caruso St John’s 2016 Stirling Prize-winning Newport Street Gallery. Additional aims include helping to tackle air pollution and encouraging more pedestrian and cyclist activity.

We Made That partner Holly Lewis said: ‘This is an opportunity to shape the streets and open spaces as important places where people want to spend time.

‘We believe these spaces will be even more important to the Covid-19 recovery, especially if neighbourhoods are empowered to act to reallocate space for pedestrians, for culture, for play, for wellbeing, and for everyday activity.

‘We will be working with people to find innovative ways to transform the public realm and are looking forwards to working with the council, stakeholders and local communities to co-produce the masterplan.’

The subject zone is part of the larger Vauxhall Nine Elms Opportunity Area, which has witnessed massive regeneration over the past decade and is tipped to deliver 18,500 new homes and 18,500 additional jobs locally.

Landmark projects in the vicinity include Vauxhall City Farm by Base Associates and the 28-storey Merano mixed-use residential tower by RSHP. In April, housing secretary Robert Jenrick granted permission for a £600 million giant pair of towers designed by Zaha Hadid Architects nearby.

Since 2015, 5th Studio has been working on ambitious proposals to remove Vauxhall Cross’ car-dominated gyratory and deliver public realm improvements including a new station square with links to nearby Vauxhall Gardens. The project for TfL is due to start on site next year and complete by 2024.

The latest study aims to identify solutions to improve the quality of public realm throughout North Vauxhall and also upgrade safety. The many railway arches within the area could also form part of the strategy. The district was the subject of an earlier RIBA competition for a new linear park, won by Erect Architecture six years ago.

We Made That’s winning team included Urban Movement, Civic Engineers, James Hitchmough and surveyors Stockdale. The commission will identify a range of public realm improvements that could be brought forward at a variety of scales and levels of intervention.

We Made That will develop concept and developed designs for selected projects and will participate in a co-design approach with local stakeholders, including residents and community groups.

The appointment comes just six months after the emerging practice – founded by Lewis and Oliver Goodhall in 2006 – won a trio of major masterplanning projects in and around London including a new design quarter in Battersea; a canal-side creative district in Kensal; and a new town centre for Basildon in Essex.

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