Team from Scott Brownrigg runner-up in the RIBA 'Forgotten Spaces' competition


Marco Liberace and David Mao from Scott Brownrigg claimed second prize out of 150 entries in the RIBA ‘Forgotten Spaces’ competition.  The results were announced on 26 May at the launch of the Forgotten Spaces Exhibition at the National Theatre.

Scott Brownrigg’s striking entry “The Pool” was attracted real support and interest from exhibition visitors and judges alike.  It aims to revitalise the abandoned Kingsway tram subway entrance in Southampton Row by turning the sloping space into a swimming and diving pool in the heart of Holborn.  Due to the location and history of the site, the water body introduced to this site has a twofold characteristic; providing a serene new local amenity for the general public that contrasts with the hectic commercial district, whilst re-establishing a connection between the city and the forgotten history of the site.

The competition, launched by Design for London and developer and investor Qatari Diar, is an ideas based competition that highlights areas of leftover land in London and encourages innovative proposals for improving local communities.  The competition was open to students, artists, designers and architects in Greater London.  Complementing the Mayor’s Great Spaces initiative, Forgotten Spaces seeks out underused areas of the capital and hearts of local communities and explores their possibilities.

150 entries were submitted to the competition by a range of student, architect, artist, designer and engineer led teams.  The winning schemes were selected by a jury that included; Mark Brearley - Director of Design for London, Paul Finch - Chair of CABE, Tony Heaton Chief Executive of Shape, Jeremy Titchen - Development Director Qatari Diar, Tamsie Thomson - Director of RIBA London, Judith Salamon - Director of Property and Planning of London First and Rowan Moore - architecture critic at the Observer.

David Mao commented, “The site is only half a mile from our office so we pass it everyday on our way to work.  It is of significant importance to us as an historical reminder of the development of London which has been left behind.  It exists in the centre of the city but it is not accessible.  Everything is gated.  This initiated our thinking about the meaning of ‘barriers’ and ‘places’.  Can we replace the cold steel gate with something that the public can come and enjoy?  Can we revisit its forgotten history?  Can we redefine its identity?

This competition provided us a great opportunity to rethink how far architecture influences the way we live in a city.  The proposed design not only allows people to reuse a currently unused site in central London, but also creates a somehow surreal scene in a commercial district.  We hope it will spark people's imagination about the meaning and relationship between architecture, history, and city.”

The exhibition at the National Theatre, runs until 4 July 2010, after which ‘The Pool’ will be showcased at Scott Brownrigg’s Covent Garden office. 

For more information on 'Forgotten Spaces' click here.