Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (LDS) has been selected following an international search for an architect to redevelop land near Winchester station, a year after councillors vetoed a competition-winning proposal by Hopkins
The London practice defeated Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, BDP, Metropolitan Workshop with Henley Halebrown and Rick Mather Architects to win the commission. LDS will receive £3 million to draw up plans for a new ‘commercially-viable mixed-use’ development featuring offices, car parking, residential, retail and new public realm on the Winchester City Council-owned Carfax and Cattlemarket plots.
The restricted EU procedure, organised by RIBA Competitions, has concluded almost a year after councillors unexpectedly blocked a proposal by Hopkins, which had been identified as front-runner in an earlier contest for the two sites. Unlike the previous abandoned contest – which led to urgent calls for ‘root and branch’ reform of procurement in the historic city – no design work was required from shortlisted participants this time around.
Winchester City Council leader Caroline Horrill said: ‘Developing Station Approach is an important aspect of our vision for Winchester’s future and will allow us to offer much needed Grade A office space to the business community, who are regularly requesting premises of this calibre in the city.
‘The next step is to develop concept designs. As with all our major projects consultation with residents and other stakeholders is absolutely key and ensuring this is done satisfactorily has played a critical role in the RIBA selection process.’
The Carfax and Cattlemarket plots are both located a short distance from Winchester station at key gateways to the historic Hampshire city. The council is planning to deliver 13,000m² of commercial space, 5,300m² of residential, 465m² of small-scale retail and about 400 car parking places across the two sites.
Five teams were shortlisted for the latest commission following an initial selection questionnaire. Each received £3,000 to attend interviews and no design work was required. The identities of the other finalist teams have yet to be revealed.
In July 2016 Winchester councillors decided not to appoint Hopkins Architects, which had been selected as ’preferred bidder in principle’ in the previous design contest for the station approach project. The move followed concerns around potential overdevelopment of the key gateway sites, which required large numbers of parking spaces as part of the brief.
Hopkins and Design Engine emerged as frontrunners for the job in March 2015 after rivals Aedas RHWL, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Grimshaw withdrew amid concerns that the competition had been too restrictive, too expensive and the final project fee too low.
The judging panel for the relaunched search included Roger Hawkins of Hawkins\Brown and Sarah Williams of SWilliams Architects, both acting as RIBA advisers.
Hawkins commented: ‘This is an important site within Winchester city centre and the standard of applicants was high. Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands demonstrated their public engagement skills and clear understanding of the need to engage residents and bring their views into the designs and the Project. The team scored very highly across the board.’
Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands demonstrated their public engagement skills
LDS director Alex Lifschutz said: ‘We’re proud to be awarded this prestigious project. This area of the city has an important role to play.
‘We will be looking to maintain a sense of “Winchester” in the area – people need to know they have arrived in a special place steeped in culture, showcasing heritage and benefitting from open spaces. We’re committed to making sure that we consult and engage with residents and visitors to ensure we reach a design solution that works for the city.’
In March, Winchester Council launched a separate search for an architect to deliver a £30 million leisure centre in Bar End. The winner of the £1.6 million design contract will draw up plans for a sport and leisure centre on an undeveloped site in the east of the city next to an existing stadium close to the M3.