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Winners in Royal Docks benches contest revealed

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The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has named the five winners in its contest to design a series of £1,500 benches across the Royal Docks in London’s East End

The winners are London-based McCloy + Muchemwa, Parallel Collective, studioWho from Spain, the ‘open collective’ Urban Radicals with Dutch designer Sanne Visser, and Portia Malik, who recently completed a Master’s in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.

McCloy + Muchemwa was also among those selected in last year’s LFA contest to design nine public benches in the City of London.

The latest Pews & Perches competition sought proposals for a ‘fun and creative place to sit, rest and play’ which could be installed in the regeneration zone this autumn. It was open to architecture and design students, recent graduates and emerging professionals. Images of the winning schemes have yet to be revealed.

The five winning teams will now receive £1,500 each to manufacture and install their scheme in the district, which is tipped for £314 million worth of regeneration over the coming years. Judges included LFA director Tamsie Thompson, Dan Bridge of the Royal Docks Team and David Ogunmuyiwa, principal at ArchitectureDoingPlace.

Thompson said: ‘As we continue to expand our competitions programme with even more exciting opportunities, it’s been brilliant to see such a rich variety of submissions for the competition; a testament to the impressive talent and imagination of the emerging voices in our industry.

‘We’re thrilled to be working with the Royal Docks Team and the designers to bring their proposals to life and look forward to seeing how these will offer a playful, innovative and positive contribution to the Royal Docks’ waterfront over the next year.’

The Royal Docks and surrounding area were constructed in the 1850s, and abandoned just over a century later. They have long been tipped as London’s next major regeneration opportunity. In 2012 the 170ha of land and 96ha of water was transformed into an enterprise zone, promoting a range of schemes including plans for a floating residential village.

Planned developments in the area include a £1 billion Royal Albert Dock, masterplanned and designed by Terry Farrell with second-stage concepts by BuckleyGreyYeoman, Fletcher Priest, Cartwright Pickard, Maccreanor Lavington and Panter Hudspith.

Fletcher Priest Architects’ £3.5 billion regeneration of Silvertown Quays also won planning in 2015.

LFA’s separate City Benches contest, now in its second year, saw emerging London practices Anna Janiak Studio, Astrain Studio and Delve Architects; artists Sarah Emily Porter and James Trundle; and architect Armor Gutiérrez Rivas deliver a series of £800 benches across the Square Mile in June.

The winning Pews & Perches schemes will be constructed and installed in October and will stay in place for a year. The call for participants was supported by the Royal Docks Team.

The winners

McCloy + Muchemwa

McCloy + Muchemwa

McCloy + Muchemwa

  • McCloy + Muchemwa

McCloy + Muchemwa is the design and architecture studio of Steve McCloy and Bongani Muchemwa. With their roots in Africa and now London-based, the studio’s work demonstrates an inventive exploration into design thinking. As keen collaborators, they enjoy the opportunities for teaming-up with other organisations to tackle all manner of public projects… and preconceptions!

Parallel Collective

Parallel Collective

Parallel Collective

  • Parallel Collective

Parallel Collective brings together a group of friends sharing same values, diverse skills and experience in projects of various scales and typologies. Established in 2017, the London-based team has been designing spaces to live, to work and to learn. Their entry for an educational complex in Italy recently won the first prize in an international competition and is currently in progress. Other projects include exhibition, retail and interior design. The delivery of their bench project is supported by InOpera Group.

studioWho

studioWho

studioWho

  • studioWho

studioWho are a group of young architects who studied together in Spain. Each member of the team has lived and worked in different countries and fields developing a deep background and extensive skills. Despite the distance, they continue to explore together visionary ideas and new perspectives.

Urban Radicals with Sanne Visser

Urban Radicals with Sanne Visser

Urban Radicals with Sanne Visser

  • Urban Radicals with Sanne Visser

Urban Radicals, founded in 2019 by Nasios Varnavas and Era Savvides, is an open collective dedicated to the idea of delivering community focused projects rooted in place and context. Sanne Visser is a Dutch designer who works and lives in London. Her interest is in material innovation, sustainability and future thinking.

Portia Malik

Portia Malik

Portia Malik

  • Portia Malik

Portia Malik is returning to London having studied for a Masters of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and subsequently worked at internationally acclaimed architectural offices in New York City. With a particular interest in joinery and furniture design, Portia enjoys project managing small to large scale builds of her own designs.

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