Competition open call: Empowering Platforms – reimagining the Thames Riverfront


The London Festival of Architecture, Westminster City Council and the Northbank Business Improvement District have launched a new design competition for an ‘empowering platform’ that can reimagine the experience people have with the River Thames alongside the Westminster riverbank. As the latest addition to the Festival’s vibrant competitions programme, the ‘Empowering Platforms’ project seeks a complete transformation of the current ‘benches on bricks’ model with a creative design vision that centres around inclusivity and accessibility – shaping a more engaging and stimulating experience of the riverfront for all.

One of the sites © Westminster City Council

The design competition is to select a winning design that will offer a more inclusive, accessible and stimulating way of experiencing the area. The design concept must have the ambition to prompt new or improved forms of interaction with the riverside and create opportunities for engaging with the public and debating what the future of the riverfront and its surrounding areas could be.

There will be up to two selected designs awarded £20K each including a design fee of £2k to develop two fully costed design interventions that can be delivered during June 2020 as part of the London Festival of Architecture.  The installations will change location 2 times during a three months period. Therefore, they should be designed in a way that can be easily assembled, disassembled and transported. At the end, the two platforms will be disassembled or, if successful, could be granted planning permission to be permanently installed on the riverfront.

The competition will be judged by an expert panel, including representatives from Westminster City Council, Northbank BID, the London Festival of Architecture and Thames Festival Trust, with further judges to be confirmed shortly.

This competition has a two-stage submission. This first stage submission should include:

  1. Full name and contact details including postal address, contact number and email of project lead.
  2. Brief biographies of all the project team.
  3. A 200-word description about your practice along with any relevant technical experience acquired through previous experience; please include images of relevant previous work.
  4. A short paragraph of max. 300 words on why you are interested in being involved in the project. You may wish to include some thoughts about your vision including any initial written reactions you may have to the brief.
  5. No design work is required for the first stage and any included sketches will not be shared with the judges.

These submissions will be shortlisted by the judging panel. Up to 6 shortlisted practices will then be invited to develop a design concept based on the information laid out in this open call and will be awarded an honorarium of £500 Inc. VAT each.

Full details can be found in the competition brief here (pdf)

The deadline for entries is 8.00am on Monday 23 March 2020.


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